Dear Editor, Some national politicians have questioned why a Catholic ethos should be present in our schools.
Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of children are from a Catholic background and that their parents have a sneaking feeling that the Catholic ethos is the most compassionate, coherent and comprehensive available. These parents are delighted to see kindness and a belief that our lives have a significance beyond our ability to fit into a consumerist-driven economy, taught alongside mathematics, geography, etc.
Those who do not appreciate this are largely unwilling to put the time, effort and money into founding and sustaining schools having an alternative ethos. It would be strange if the presence of children from these parents – who are unwilling to set up their own schools – should result in parish schools dumping what is distinctively Catholic. If the tables were turned, would these parents, having gone to the trouble of setting up their own schools, consider it fair to be forced to abandon their preferred ethos, on account of the presence of few children from some other background?
Democracy is founded upon the interchange of ideas, not an obsession with obliterating particular perspectives, Christian or otherwise. The dominant political, media and corporate driven ideology of today’s world, trivialises sex, relationships and even life itself; marriage, family-life and having children are optional extras. Currently the birth rate of every European country has fallen below its self-replacement value. In other words, we are in the process of self-extermination.
The Christian approach to life, including relationships and our sexuality education, helps our young people to embrace a life of meaning and personal responsibility that is both rewarding and sustainable. It is indeed worthy of our support.
Cork City, Cork
Congratulations for Boris Johnson marriage explainer
Dear Editor, Congratulations to Jason Osborne for his fine elucidation of the full doctrinal facts relating to the marriage of Boris Johnson at Westminster Cathedral [IC 03/06/2021].
How sad to read in the same article that an unnamed English priest was looking for an explanation of the whole thing.
The question arises surely in his case as to what he was taught in seminary about the Church’s laws on marriage. They do form the sixth precept of the Church.
Renmore, Co. Galway
Colosseum of online world ‘drenched in blood’
Dear Editor, Mary Kenny’s article about cricketer Ollie Robinson hit the nail on the head [10/06/2021] regarding the ‘cancelling’ of people because of something they said, however mild and however long ago. This is the case particularly if it relates to something the baying mob deems to be sexist or racist.
Mr Robinson was suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board for a post on social media. The post was seen as sexist and racist. He was a teenager at the time and while what he posted was certainly childish and silly, Mrs Kenny does a good job outlining how many of us who were teenagers before the advent of social media would be duly embarrassed by some of the things said and done at the time, but they are fortunately no longer on the radar.
Despite the cricketer’s apology, quite drastic action was taken against the now 27-year-old.
‘Be kind’ is the phrase used online to encourage people not to be so terrible to each other, unfortunately many people who are happy to shout this from the rooftops are the first to pile-on someone for making a mistake.
Sometimes it can just be an unfounded allegation that destroys someone’s career, or worse, their mental health. If a well-known person who has a lot of followers on social media decides to condemn someone, their devotees obediently join in the attack: it is a perfect example of a mob mentality, sometimes driven by what can only be described as a cult of personality.
Social media has created an age in which everything people post online is forever subject to public scrutiny, you are never forgiven for something you said in the past regardless of whether apologies have been made. It’s our modern day hanging with no judicial process. People still love to see blood and the colosseum of the online world is drenched in it.
Waterford City, Waterford
Govt double standards on return to some sacraments
Dear Editor, Although it was certainly a relief to read on your front page [IC 10/06/2021] that First Communion and Confirmations will return in early July, it irks me to think that this is only happening after Government permission was given. I understand there is a fear that people will have parties after these important sacraments but what more can the Church, and each individual priest, do other than ask people not to organise gatherings afterwards that could lead to spreading the virus? It’s not as if pubs or restaurants were not allowed to open for outdoor dining/drinking because people might go to a house party afterwards. The onus is not on these businesses to ensure the good behaviour of their patrons after they have left.
Although I understand there was a time, particularly after Christmas, that stringent measures were needed because the spread of the virus was totally out of control, but now a huge proportion of the elderly and more vulnerable have one jab if not two, so why has there been such a huge delay for First Communion and Confirmation? It was great that in-person Mass returned quite early on in the stages of reopening – not without pressure on Government who would have been happy to make religious people wait much longer – but there still seems to be double standards when it comes to the sacraments.
Tallaght, Dublin 24
Gandhi trenchantly opposed contraception
Dear Editor, David Quinn remarks [IC 03/062021] that Mahatma Gandhi was opposed to artificial contraception “because he suspected it would undermine sexual morals”. In truth, Gandhi was trenchantly opposed to contraception in any circumstances. Drawing on his personal experience he wrote that when he learned to practice restraint the spiritual love he enjoyed with his wife was further enhanced.
The growing casual sexual mores in India among young people appalled him: “I urge the advocates of artificial methods to consider the consequences. Any large use of the methods is likely to result in the dissolution of the marriage bond and in free love. If mutual consent makes a sexual act moral whether within marriage or without, and by parity of reasoning, even between members of the same sex, the whole basis of sexual morality is gone and nothing but ‘misery and defeat’ awaits the youth of the country… Divorce of the sexual act from its natural consequence must lead to hideous promiscuity and condonation, if not endorsement, of unnatural vice.”
Another voice in the modernistic wilderness, economist and primary thinker, Fritz Schumacher, author of Small is Beautiful, wrote, concerning Humane Vitae, that “If the Pope had written anything else I would have lost all faith in the papacy”.
Colm Ó Tórna