Dear Editor, I am very dismayed about a letter published last week (IC 29/11/18) which said that high profile human welfare charities are addicted to their public self-importance. The author, John Tierney, concluded: “But we must never forget the adage; charity should be given without being asked for.”
I think this perspective is very cynical and doesn’t take into consideration the important good Irish charities are doing for vulnerable people every year, week and day. To suggest that charities are more focused on preserving their self-image than carrying out their aims of caring for those in need is a farcical idea and wrongly lumps all charities into one big, corporate conglomeration with no distinctiveness.
While it’s true that some charities may be interested in their own image, most are run by genuine people who care for the marginalised and are aiming to improve society.
But apart from this idea, what concerns me most is the statement that charity should be given without being asked for. There are hundreds of problems people face daily, be it financially, physically or mentally, and without the ability for charities to communicate these issues, those suffering would not be heard.
Charities act as a platform where concerns can be raised in a real and influential way so that people of goodwill can offer their help and services to alleviate the problem. I prefer the adage: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” – if charities aren’t asking for support, I doubt people will be aware that the support is needed.
Keep pressure on to identify killer of Archbishop
Dear Editor, On December 29, 2018 it will be 15 years since Archbishop Michael Courtney, Titular Bishop of Annaghdown, was brutally assassinated in Burundi. Since that time no person or persons have been convicted for that assassination.
It appears that neither the Church or our Government have tried to find out who murdered him. He was well known and respected and during his visit to Annaghdown he won the hearts of all those who had the privilege of meeting him. I have over the years written to our Dept of Foreign Affairs only to get the same reply: “The Dept will continue to monitor developments in Burundi.”
I appeal to all your readers to write to the Dept of Foreign Affairs and the Church and ask why we have not heard why he was assassinated or who assassinated him.
No harm in being reminded of charity
Dear Editor, I was appalled to read John Tierney’s letter on Christmas charity (IC 29/11/2018). Has he never read Matthew 25? Yes, of course we should be willing to give without being asked, but sometimes we need reminding, and is there a better time of year to be reminded of the good we can do than when we’re preparing to celebrate the birth of Our Lord?
Dundalk, Co. Louth.
Lack of formation
Dear Editor, Breda O’Brien (IC 29/11/18) writes about the need for “some kind of formation programme” for young people who are welcomed into our parishes as a matter of urgency. She states correctly that all Catholic teaching is “of a piece”. All of it, in a nutshell, is grounded in the twin mandate to love both God and neighbour. To be a Catholic, meaningfully and authentically, is to be aware of the Church’s teaching and to endeavour to follow it.
Induction programmes are very good and useful but they serve a limited purpose if they do not open to a fuller vista of what serving God in our Church and in our world fully means.
It is not just young people who lack formation in the faith. It is a sad reality that formation seems to be a patchy part of the Church’s pastoral strategy at all levels.
Blarney, Co. Cork.
A very good habit to tap into
Dear Editor, I was intrigued to read about the “cashless” Mass collections being introduced in the Netherlands (IC 29/11/2018). Card payments seem to be everywhere now, particularly the tap cards which allow little transactions to happen almost without thinking. In London, if you want to hop onto a bus all you need to do is tap your card, no fussing around buying tickets.
A friend was recently on the continent on business and reported that even toilets in a train station would take a card if a 50c coin wasn’t handy! In such an environment it’s not surprising that the collection basket should suffer.
A card terminal in a church lobby, not to mention one being passed around the pews, may be a strange sight but it does make a certain kind of sense. Perhaps it would also encourage people to think about their contribution a little more deliberately, rather than simply fishing out whatever few spare coins they have.
Whether or not this technology comes to Ireland any time soon, being aware of our habits around cash and cards is a very good thing. In the absence of a technological solution, planning a bit of time to visit a bank machine before Mass might be a good habit to build!
Clondalkin, Dublin 22.