Frustration with Church leaders regarding Holy Land Christians

Frustration with Church leaders regarding Holy Land Christians

Dear Editor,

In relation to the statement by the main Christian Churches in the Holy Land [The Irish Catholic – December 23, 2021]. Firstly, it is appalling that a small minority of Jewish extremists has been responsible for “physical and verbal assaults against priests and other clergy and attacks on Christian churches”.

It is good to hear the acknowledgement “with gratitude the declared commitment of the Israeli government to uphold a safe and secure home for Christians in the Holy Land and to preserve the Christian community as an integral part of the tapestry of the local community”. Israel can and should commit more resources to tackling this aggravating issue.

However, I get frustrated with the same Church leaders when they don’t acknowledge that the only country in the Middle East where the Christian community is growing is Israel. The Christian population in 1949 after independence was 34,000. The figures for 2021 have just been published and were 182,000, which is a more than 500% increase on 1949. In the past year during Covid-19 there was an increase on 2020 of 1.4%. These figures do not include the 30,000 Messianic Jews in Israel, who are Christians but identify as Jews. Yet in the same statement the Church leaders said that “the local Christian community” was “decreasing in number” and by local, they were referring to “Israel, Palestine and Jordan”.

These main Church leaders need to acknowledge that the number of Christians is decreasing in that part of the Holy Land controlled by the PA (Palestinian Authority) and ask why. The international charity Open Doors attributes to “Islamic oppression” the steep decline of Christian numbers in the PA-controlled areas. Aid to the Church in Need also confirms this point.

Would that the PA and Hamas would give the same commitment as Israel to safeguard Christians in the areas they control.

Yours etc.,

Paddy Monaghan

Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

Reality of Desmond Tutu’s advocacy

Dear Editor,

It seems that Archbishop Slattery OFM and Ms de Barra of Trócaire have fallen, like so many, into the common pattern of near beatification of a prominent personage at the time of their death and forget to look at reality [The Irish Catholic – December 30, 2021]. Yes, Dr Tutu did much to galvanise action against the Afrikan regime but failed miserably to promote the culture of life, with his vocal advocacy for abortion, artificial contraception, redefining marriage, and euthanasia! How can this be inspired by any sort of faith, never mind Christianity?

Yours etc.,

Fr John McCallion

Coalisland, Co. Tyrone

The politically correct virus is everywhere

Dear Editor,

Jason Osborne’s piece [The Irish Catholic – December 9, 2021] on a controversial internal European Commission (EC) document on ‘inclusive communications’ missed out on a more interesting back-story.

This ‘Guide to Inclusive Communications’ was issued without peer-review by the EC’s Commission for Equality on October 26, 2021. The responsible commissioner was one Helena Dalli, a Maltese socialist politician elevated to the Brussels post in 2019 and an obvious disciple of ‘political correctness’.

The European Commission has a unique ethos. The president presides over 20-odd commissioners and must inevitably rely on the political maturity of individual commissioners to sense what will run and what won’t. Ms Dalli obviously failed this “maturity-test” and once appraised of the situation, the President Ursula von der Leyen moved quietly but firmly to have the document formally withdrawn.

Ms Dalli (the draft guide would have this written Ms Dalli) formally withdrew the document on November 30 admitting that the withdrawn document was immature and not up to the quality standard of the European Commission. Ms Dalli did not fall on her sword over this humiliation but one may expect some changes in her cabinet.

The Guardian newspaper, that bastion of all things politically correct (PC), predictably attributed the withdrawal of the document to right-wing influence.

The PC virus is like Covid. It’s everywhere.

Yours etc.,

Michael Gill

Fuengirola, Spain

Distinguishing disciplinary matters from truths of Creed

Dear Editor,

Arguing that the synodal process is ‘dangerous’ Dr John Murray pointed to the Killala listening process of 2018, in which the desire of many for change in disciplinary matters such as ordination was expressed [The Irish Catholic – November 25, 2021).

This, Dr Murray tells us, is proof that the Killala process could not lead to ‘true unity in faith’ or genuine participation in the mission of the Church.

Is he arguing that to be Catholic we must add to belief in the life, death and resurrection of the Lord the belief that, for example, marital status or gender should forever determine who should preside at the Eucharist?

As Dr Murray must know, both versions of the Creed were completed during centuries when celibacy was not a requirement for priestly ministry, while the celibacy rule was not adopted in the western Church until the 12th Century. Furthermore, the Creeds did not include the belief that ordination be denied to women, even though that was the practice of the Church at the time.

To make no distinction between disciplinary regulations (such as those relating to ordination) and the truths of the Creed is essentially to repeat the mistake of those who, by Jesus’ time, had expanded the Ten Commandments into the 613 Levitical laws.

Jesus knew well that by restoring the primacy of the law of love he was unsettling those who had come to rely on their observance of the Levitical expansion of it.

With younger generations today having good reason to see the Catholic Church as unloving and unsafe, it surely behoves all of us to restore the primacy of the laws of love, and the principle of the hierarchy of truth, subordinating merely disciplinary arrangements.

To argue that the truth of the Creeds will be endangered by us Catholics ‘walking together’ to discuss such disciplinary matters is to say that the Holy Spirit is less powerful today than at the Council of Jerusalem.

Yours etc.,

Sean O’Conaill

Coleraine, Co. Derry

The trouble with the word ‘holiday’

Dear Editor,

I read with interest the article regretting an EU proposal to redesignate the period of the nativity. The trouble with the idea is that the English word ‘holiday’ is of course a variant of ‘holy day’ while I understand that the German for ‘holiday’ is connected with the latin word feria, which is nothing more than the Catholic liturgy definition of weekdays or days other than the sabbath.

What other words might be used in the EU languages to define ‘holy days’?

The word that most delights me is ‘clown’ which might be reserved for EU people. Even if they have heard of Cromwell, would they understand what he had in mind?

Yours etc.,

Gerald Murphy

Rathfarnham, Dublln 16