Dear Editor, – I cannot be alone in finding the shadow boxing between Church and State over the issue of First Holy Communion and Confirmation amusing.
The bishops are acting responsibly within their competence and are also acting with due regard for the common good. It is unprecedented for a democratic government to try to tell a religious community which sacraments they ought to be allowed to perform (matrimony) and which should remain forbidden (First Holy Communion and Confirmation). By all means, if the State authorities thought – and had evidence to show us – that religious ceremonies are dangerous that would be a different matter: they would be well within their rights to ban them all. As it is, the singling out of First Holy Communion and Confirmation is unacceptable. I applaud those rebel bishops who are proceeding.
Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Despite evil, good work remains
Dear Editor, – Jean Vanier the founder of L’Arche International was like the camel who went through the eye of a needle by giving up an illustrious career with the Canadian navy and all the wealth that went with it to serve people with disabilities abandoned in an asylum in northern France. Many people over his lifetime joined him in this mission to make L’Arche an outreach to a multitude of vulnerable and forgotten people in every continent on the planet.
The many people who worked with him learned to love and care for others in need and so fulfilling the rule of the Gospel: whatever you did to the least of these, you did it to me.
He fell from grace like so many of us do, but the organisation which he founded will continue to bear fruit in love. There was only one perfect man and that is Jesus Christ.
Former L’Arche assistant
The Pope has betrayed the tradition
Dear Editor, – It is with a mixture of sadness and dismay that for the first time in my life I feel compelled that I must criticise the Successor of St Peter. I confess that from day one, I have not been a huge fan of the Argentine Pontiff – I readily admit that my tastes were more in line of those the now Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI. But Catholicism is not a popularity contest so nevertheless I have always accepted Francis as the Pope and prayed with and for him, even at times when I felt that his pronouncements confused the Faithful and gave fuel to the enemies of the Church to criticise our Faith.
His banning of the traditional Latin Mass will be for many traditionally-minded Catholics the last straw. I know many of my friends who will now attend Mass with the Society of St Pius X rather than endure these harsh and unfair restrictions from a man who should be defending the tradition rather than restricting it.
As for me? No, I will not stray – I will bite my lip and endure all the while praying that God will grant Pope Francis the courage to reverse this wrong-headed decision.
Belfast, Co. Antrim
Dear Editor, – With bishops so regularly pessimistic about the future of the Faith in Ireland, are they considering retraining as health and safety officers? Or, perhaps there is another explanation for the jobsworth attitude to doing the State’s bidding on Covid-19. I can’t think of one – answers on a postcard, as they say!
Omagh, Co. Tyrone
A test of loyalty
Dear Editor, – I’ve never been to a Tridentine Mass, so I find it hard to understand the upset some devotees feel that this liturgy is being restricted. My advice to them is simple: follow the example of the saints and accept the judgement of the Church. Great saints like Padre Pio suffered immensely because of what they felt were unfair judgements of the Church – but they never grumbled. They accepted it with courage and offered it up for the sins of the world.
There is no better example than that.
Education not Latin is the key
Dear Editor, Liam Foley argues that unless the Latin Mass is restored the Church will continue to decline (The Irish Catholic, August 5, 2021). I am afraid that he deludes himself. The very Irish people who were formed in the Latin Mass very readily abandoned their Catholic Faith when the waves of secularism began to arrive in Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s.
We had a largely uneducated clergy and Faithful – the priests reduced to following rubrics from Roman books and the Faithful reduced to chewing toffees while attending a liturgy they could neither comprehend or appreciate.
The rapid and dizzying decline of Irish Catholicism is proof that it was not the change in the liturgy that caused the catastrophic collapse, but the lack of any real education of catechesis. When the windows were opened – to borrow the imagery of St John XXIII – the hot house flowers that were Irish Catholics withered and died.
Only a well-educated laity and clergy will be able to rebuild from the ashes.
Cobh, Co. Cork
A living legacy
Dear Editor, – I was delighted to see Ruadhán Jones’ article on how Irish missionaries are coping under Covid-19. We often hear stories about missionaries from the past as if it is something to be consigned to that era. This proves that our missionaries are very much a current reality. Good for them.
Drogheda, Co. Lough