Dear Editor, It is ironic that the so-called Dying with Dignity bill was introduced into the Dáil during palliative care week.
Several professionals from the hospice and palliative care sector have warned that this bill is a ‘Trojan horse’ which will ruin our current gold standard of end of life care, where the patient, family and loved ones receive superb comfort, support, pain-management and person-to-person accompaniment to assist them through the dying process.
This bill seeks to make it possible for patients in certain circumstances to mandate that their care-giver team administer to them a lethal substance (section 13). What an absurdity. Two such diametrically opposed cultures cannot exist side by side.
In other states where a ‘death on demand’ cultural expectation has taken hold, the grounds are forever being broadened. Push-pull forces drive up the numbers killed. There are no known adequate safeguards. This ‘slippery slope’ is all too real.
It is deceptive to speak of ‘choice’ when someone is distraught and shocked by a life altering diagnosis, feeling isolated, bereft of support, and fearful in the face of what might happen, and nudged, even pressured into ending their life.
All of us are disempowered by such legislation. It surrounds decisions with loaded language, where a particular trajectory may even be presumed. It is very hard to resist this ethic of ambivalence, denying our intrinsic worth and undermining the impulse of our nearest and dearest to care for us.
All self-harm, suicide and self-destructive acts are an attempt to escape pain or from being a burden one’s family. Let’s not exacerbate this by making people feel unwanted, and that the system is loaded against them, as is the experience in other states. Rather let’s support life-affirming, relationship-sustaining, resilience-building policies.
Lee Road, Cork.
Financial transparency needed in Irish dioceses
Dear Editor, Thank you for Carol Glatz’s article ‘People have right to know how Vatican uses resources’ [IC 08/10/2020]. It is clear that our Church under the leadership of Pope Francis is determined to implement a policy of financial transparency.
Here in Ireland the same necessary openness is evident for the most part at parish level where excellent and fairly full annual accounts are made available to parishioners in newsletters.
However, when on a second reading of the IC article I substituted the word Vatican with the word diocese I reflected on the fact that several Irish dioceses have adopted a code of secrecy and failed to publish annual accounts. Surely in this time of financial crisis within the Irish Church it is time for tardy dioceses to follow the excellent example of dioceses such as Elphin.
Beaufort, Co. Kerry.
Strong Catholic media needed to ‘fight distortion’
Dear Editor, You are so right that we need a strong media to fight distortion and this is fully shown in reportage on the Tuam Mother and Baby Homes [IC 08/10/2020]. I am not sure if your paper reviewed Brian Nugent’s excellent book on this issue but, even if you did, perhaps you would consider doing so again in an effort to refute the many scurrilous and unfounded accusations made against the Nuns who worked there under most trying conditions.
It seems that the Catholic media may have to adopt the method used in the mainstream media in repeating and repeating the facts, as it does with false accusations. It is surprising that we are so reluctant to show appreciation for all the voluntary work done by religious sisters, brothers and clergy over the years and are reluctant to stand up for those unjustly accused.
In that category we could put our many candidates for sainthood such as Frank Duff, Edel Quinn, Matt Talbot, Frs Peyton, O’Sullivan and Doyle who lack support to promote their cause. How about a campaign for encouragement for many to pray for their canonisation, and surely it is a time when we need much prayer to overcome all the evils evident in our society today and can do with all the help we can get from these holy people who have gone before us.
Obvious anti-Catholicism against Amy Coney Barrett in US
Dear Editor, In these days of restrictions, I’ve taken to watching the questioning of Amy Coney Barrett in the US regarding her Supreme Court confirmation and have found it to be extremely interesting.
Your paper has given a refreshing view of her merits. Especially because I found some coverage of her nomination to be astoundingly biased with much of the criticism about her very obviously based solely on her Catholic Faith.
Without a doubt there is an entrenched and deeply worrying anti-Catholicism in the US, something that is not publicised nearly enough as it should.
We have the Black Lives Matter protests, which are ongoing there due to racism that no doubt exists in certain elements of the police service but where are the protests against the dogged and unrelenting attacks on Catholics and Catholic beliefs? What’s even more disgusting regarding the negative commentary in the media about Amy Coney Barrett is that some of the publications have been very public proponents of women’s rights.
Just because she is a Catholic, they feel she shouldn’t be given the job, suddenly it doesn’t matter that she is a very intelligent, impressive woman that has worked her way up in order to be considered for the position in the Supreme Court and this has been proven time and time again in how she answered every question put to her.
It is a sad reflection of the bias, hypocrisy and sickness that is rampant in the US which I fear is getting worse.
Inchicore, Co. Dublin.
‘Urgent action’ needed to protect religious freedom
Dear Editor, As Senator Mullen has stated so eloquently attending Mass is “a low risk activity being conducted by highly responsible people”. Maria Steen in her excellent article [IC 15/10/2020] outlined our right to religious freedom and to practice same. However, the four archbishops will not get any hearing from our secular government. So they need to take urgent legal action as the bishops have done in France and New York to protect religious freedom.
Liam de Paor,
Carrickane, Co. Cavan.
Assisted suicide prioritises profit
Dear Editor, People before profit is a phrase I appreciate so this letter is difficult for me. On someone’s death and among the many things that happen, there is probably a stop to the benefit of insurance companies in the payment of pensions. Equally beneficial but in this case to the Government is the stop to payments of social welfare as well as any pensions.
In short and doubtless not intended, the effect is profit before people. Lives matter, whatever the colour and in or out of the womb.