Dear Editor, Fr Gerry Young makes some interesting points in relation to the Government’s plans to allow gender-neutral toilets in all new or refurbished schools [IC 13/05/2021].
Under Norma Foley’s recent leadership, the Department of Education excluded the two largest parent groups from all consultations and there have been at least two significant developments that impinge on Catholic ethos. CSSPA (Catholic Secondary Schools Parents Association), which represents the parents associations of 50% of the nation’s secondary schools, should have been consulted on both the new Relationship and Sex Education Curriculum and the decisions in relation to gender-neutral toilets. Parents throughout the country are largely opposed to the idea that all school toilets are to be gender-neutral.
The previous Minister Joe McHugh piloted the Education (Student & Parent Charter) Bill 2019 which was designed to give parents and students a greater voice on school matters. Sadly that bill seems to have been side lined by the present minister as she rides roughshod over parent rights.
CSSPA regards the failure to consult parents as a matter of deepening concern and will continue to fight for the rights of Catholic parents to have their voices heard on matters of Catholic school ethos.
Alan Whelan, Vice President CSSPA
Killarney, Co. Kerry
Supporting the wonderful Apostolic Work
Dear Editor, I read with great interest the lovely interview with Mrs Mary O’Reilly by Chai Brady [IC 29/04/2021] about Apostolic Work, with her helpers sending Mass kits to deserving parishes in Africa.
Mrs O’Reilly is a wonderful lady, long may she be able to continue to do this work with her helpers. For anyone interested in becoming involved with or donating to Apostolic Work they can contact Mrs Mary O’Reilly: 25a The Stiles Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3 or by calling 01 8338556 or 086 8891236. Thanking you.
Castlelyons, Co. Cork
Pandemic response can’t be compared to dictatorship or Nazism
Dear Editor, The heroic efforts of our government, public servants and the ordinary men and women around us for the last year and a half to fight a world pandemic has been portrayed by your correspondent Philip Gonzales [IC 13/05/2021] as dictatorship, totalitarianism and Nazism must be answered.
Dr Gonzales equates the emergency measures brought in by our government to fight the pandemic with those of Nazi Germany. He believes that the same mentality which led sections of the US government to deny legal process for suspected terrorist detainees and the Chinese government to trample on basic human rights, motivated our Government and health personnel in dealing with the crisis.
What an appalling insult this is to our public health officials and health care workers struggling valiantly at the front line of this pernicious disease day in day out. He reduces them to mindless minions working to bolster what he disparagingly terms ‘biosecurity’ and the ‘health dictatorship’. To attempt to lump our response to the pandemic with emergency responses of dubious validity to crises real or perceived in recent history, and to shoehorn it into some fashionable philosophical theory, is facile, contrived and unhistorical.
The dead were not left unburied as Dr Gonzales claims nor the sick left to die unattended. Ordinary caring, committed and loving individuals in our various caring services stood up to the plate. All the Faithful regretted restrictions placed on public worship, especially the irreplaceable Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but I believe the vast bulk of them understood why it was necessary. They may not hold a philosophy degree but do possess an innate common sense.
While public worship was curtailed, the Lord I believe was present among the men and women in our hospital wards and nursing homes, caring as he always does for the vulnerable and suffering.
Séamas Ó Maitiú.
Blessington, Co Wicklow.
Failing to understand complaints about worship restrictions
Dear Editor,I have read a lot in the Irish Catholic about Mass being unavailable publicly up to recently. I fail to understand the complaints about this and would like to give an alternative opinion.
We are in the middle of a terrible world pandemic which I think in general has been well controlled by European governments by lockdown, both to save vulnerable people and to avoid over demand on hospital services that could cause choices to be made about who is worthy to save, and great damage to those who care for us in hospital. See for example what is happening in India and what happened in Brazil.
Sometimes some freedoms have to be sacrificed for the public good.
Mass was being celebrated in lockdown to glorify God, offer reparation for the world’s sins, to thank God for all he gives us and for the salvation of the world. I found this comforting. One can unite oneself with the Mass in the morning offering.
God knows of and allows this pandemic and would want lives to be saved. Decisions that are made to do this may not be perfect but our politicians are obliged to do the best they can according to normal wisdom. Scientific advice is a gift of God to be used by us and allows us share in his creation. God understands that we cannot attend Mass in lockdown and is not limited in his bestowal of graces.
Everything was closed apart from necessary shops, but to me leaving the churches open for private visits was on a par with what was allowed in the secular realm. These visits are a great comfort.
I do accept that the bishops need to keep constant contact with the government about when to allow public masses just like other parts of our society also need to do; it is the way our Western democracies work.
Artane, Dublin 5
Irish people did not willingly swap one language for another
Dear Editor, The words “The Irish People are not sentimental. See how quickly they abandoned the Gaelic language in the 19th century” in Peter Costello’s book review on We remember Maynooth [IC 13/05/2021] – words of the former Maynooth Professor of English, Fr Peter Connolly – indicate that the professor of this “Intellectual, social and culturally active” Maynooth of the 1980s was either indifferent to or unaware of the barbarous Penal Laws which preceded the Famine and its horror and devastating consequences. Irish people, on the verge of extinction, emigrated in their millions and died in their millions. To believe that “the Irish” willingly swapped one language for another beggars belief.
Thank God for President Michael D. Higgins who, when commemorating the Famine of the 19th Century on Sunday May 16, 2021, at least could empathise with the victims of the harrowing experience of the famine and recognise the plight of the Irish people and their disrupted language and culture.
Pauline Uí Argáin
Dún Laoghaire, Dublin