Dear Editor, Breda O’Brien suggests that if President Joe Biden is to be excommunicated then William Barr, President Trump’s Attorney General should also be excommunicated because of his support for the death penalty [IC 01/07/2020].
While I totally support Breda in her opposition to the death penalty, I contend that there is no comparison with it and the worldwide slaughter of innocents through abortion. It should be pointed out that it was only under Pope Francis that its abolition was sought as until then it was left open for ‘rare cases’, which I found unacceptable.
We now have President Joe Biden hypocritically claiming to be a practising Catholic with particular devotion to Our Lady, Patroness of the Unborn, when he has overturned every restriction on abortion achieved by President Trump and, through funding International Planned Parenthood, the biggest provider in the world, is intent on imposing abortion on those countries which have not legalised it. This means that many more millions of babies will be killed during his tenure.
As I said, I am totally opposed to the death penalty and am in contact with someone on death row, and actually it is what drew me into defending human rights. Being realistic, the most urgent task now is to halt the increasing tide of killing babies in the womb, which anyone with any interest in human rights must support but it certainly does not preclude also speaking out against the death penalty. As Breda stated, no right can apply without the right to life.
I am saddened that President Biden is allowed to use his faith to win votes, while disrespecting the Holy Eucharist. Yes, it is important that, not only politicians but all claiming to be practising Catholics, adhere to the teaching of Christ, but it is also important to try to ensure that, where there is evidence of open defiance of this teaching, this is called out by the Church.
Ardeskin, Donegal Town
An apple of God’s eye
Dear Editor, Joyce’s portrait of Cardinal Cullen in Ulysses came to mind recently when I read of his second burial in the vaults of the Pro-Cathedral and although it was not meant as a compliment it did catch a sense of the huge intellectual gifts which God gave to him as a linguist and a theologian who most famously worked on drafting the doctrine of papal infallibility. The disturbance of his rest marked the final chapter in the story of the great Dublin Diocesan seminary at Clonliffe where he had been buried in 1878. It also marks the passing of the great institutional Church which he helped build and presided over in the 19th Century with its epic parochial and religious structures. There certainly was a death here but also a birth of a new way of being Church which will be radically different from the old and which will be painful in its coming.
Fr Peter O’Reilly
Artane, Dublin 5
Group-think at large in EU over Hungary’s policies
Dear Editor, The fabled ‘belt of the crozier’ that Irish legislators were cautious of when drafting social legislation in times past was a mere ‘love-tap’ compared to the coercive influence wielded today by the LBGTQ movement on governments, politicians and media.
Take the events of last week. Hungary, a sovereign state with a right-of-centre government (not yet a crime) enacts legislation to limit LBGTQ content and transmission-times on programmes aimed at minors, on the grounds that such programmes encroached on the exclusive rights of parents in respect of sexual education. Meltdown in LBGT circles.
No such ‘pass’ can be given to the foreign ministers of another 14/15 EU states (all more-or-less on the Atlantic side) who despite the clarification offered by Hungary’s foreign minister penned a formal letter of protest to Budapest alleging that the legislation breached European Commission ‘values’. Group-think writ large!
One of the signatories of that letter was Ireland’s foreign minister who can hardly be unaware of the fact that Ireland’s Constitution also states, in Article 42.1, that “the State acknowledges that the primary and natural educator of the child is the family and guarantees to respect the inalienable right and duty of parents to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children”. Sounds almost Hungarian!
Does Ireland have a two-track foreign policy? One for domestic consumption, another for running with the pack in Brussels. Happily we only have one Constitution.
The now-Venerable Robert Schuman, architect of the edifice that is now the European community, must be turning in his grave as he watches the antics of the current custodians of his legacy. Thank God for the former Eastern Bloc member-states and for the common sense that they bring to the table. They have paid their membership dues many times over after half a century of Nazi and Soviet occupation.
Dalkey , Co. Dublin
Pro-choice movement fooled Irish public
Dear Editor, It’s fascinating how quickly the pro-choice movement forget their own slogans and the promises they made the public before the abortion referendum in 2018. ‘Free, Safe, Rare’. Abortion is certainly not rare in Ireland as we can see by the figures released for 2020.
Clearly their campaign was not about informing the Irish public of the realities of abortion, but to sugar coat and obfuscate what the public was voting for. I’m sure many people who were reluctant ‘Yes’ voters, who were convinced by the ‘hard cases’ constantly being pushed by the media, are realising they were lied to, that they were fooled. Hopefully there is more pushback against the horrors of abortion now the penny has dropped.
Cork City, Cork
More divestment means more authentic Catholic schools
Dear Editor, The current school admissions policy in Ireland was introduced for good reason, no parent should be left in a difficult situation in which their children are constantly at the bottom of waiting lists because of their faith. This was the issue in several oversubscribed schools mainly in Dublin I believe. They had a Catholic ethos and Catholic students were prioritised.
I think it’s extremely important that any parent who wants their children to receive a Catholic education should be able to send their child to a Catholic school – and a truly authentic Catholic school at that.
Without a doubt, many parents want to send their children to particular schools not because of the religious ethos, but because of proximity or the good outcomes of previous students.
The issue is the majority of schools are under Catholic patronage and due to the lack of diversity in school patronage in Ireland there are many students and parents involved in Catholic schools who actively dislike or even abhor Catholicism. This has a watering down effect on the ethos.
For this reason, the speedy divestment of Catholic patronage of schools is desperately needed – once communities are consulted of course. Although Catholic schools will be fewer, hopefully they will be truer to what they stand for in the future. This brings me to the article I read in your paper in which Bishop Tom Deenihan says there is a need to scrap the school admissions policy which stops religion being part of the criteria for acceptance into the school in a post-divestment landscape [IC 01/07/2020]. I agree totally. Less Catholic schools mean less choice for Catholic parents, which means priority should be given to parents who want a Catholic education for their children. Simple really.
Malahide, Co. Dublin