Dear Editor, We have a new strain of Covid, with more mutations, and possibly more powerful than our vaccinations. This is frightening, and people are very worried and scared.
People are divided, some are vaccinated, others have chosen not to be. Older people, in many cases, are staying at home, and some have never emerged since Covid first arrived. Certain individuals are ignoring all precautions and living selfish lives.
Governments have been doing their best, but it appears that errors have been made and some precautions too slowly enforced.
Life in Ireland has changed dramatically. The Irish were once a God-fearing people. Many are living lives which ignore the commandments and legislation has been introduced contrary to Christian teaching.
I believe that only God and prayer can, and will, end this scourge. We all need to pray and make reparation. If possible, attend Mass and adorations. But if not, at least pray the powerful rosary. If you know no prayers, talk to God in your own words.
Fear is the opposite to trust. Place your trust in Jesus and you will get strength and protection. We are told that “we are all in this together”, so let us be together in prayer and we will get rid of this pestilence.
Raheen, Co. Limerick
A longer time to be immersed in the incarnation
Dear Editor, The Christmas liturgy seems to be very much concertinaed this year. Is this due to the way the calendar falls?
The secular and commercial world is always in a hurry to close down Christmas celebrations come January 1 and no wonder – they have been going at it since October.
Traditionally, the Church has given us a longer time in which to immerse ourselves in the mystery and manifestation of the incarnation.
This time round, the Christmas season ends January 9.
Webcam Masses a God-sent response to pandemic
Dear Editor, Instead of seeing the popularity of daily webcam Masses as a threat to Sunday Mass attendance, it could be seen as a God-sent response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Though some Irish parishes have had them for some time, all wouldn’t but for the Government over-reaction to coronavirus.
It could be argued that Sunday attendance would gain greatly from making the most of daily webcam Masses. If some Irish Masses are discontinued or are not as satisfactory an experience as they could be, current attendees will switch to other Irish Masses and to ones available from elsewhere. Those attendees would also have a poor opinion of the related celebrants.
The value of daily webcam Masses is not only for people who are confined to their homes by fragilities. It is also a boon for people for whom daily Mass has for too long been impossible due to inclement weather, distances from churches, and morning travelling to work or study. The discovery of immense scope for home-based remote working and study has changed things utterly.
Liturgies such as the half-hour 07.30 Donnybrook Mass that Gay Byrne and other RTÉ workers used to attend before going to work can now be attended by workers and students before they breakfast at home, or by those whose workplace or school is a short distance away. Also: a half-hour 10.00 Mass can now be attended as a ‘break’ after doing early-morning domestic tasks (including getting children into creches or schools) and other workplace tasks.
In short, if daily webcam Masses (and related spiritual Holy Communion reception) are valued for what they can do for webcam attendees, the outcome will eventually – maybe soon – be transformative.
Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Designation of Knock as Marian shrine is highly important
Dear Editor, The pandemic has curtailed the normal public response to important occasions but there is one event, low-keyed in the secular press, yet of high importance and that is the designation by the Vatican of Knock as an international Eucharistic and Marian Shrine.
It has been suggested that the apparition at Knock, coming 20 years after the events at Lourdes, which would have been known by the Catholic world, and thus enabled the Church, by the presence of Our Lady, to establish Knock as a Marian Shrine.
The divine manifestations at the gable end of the parish church followed that mornings’ rite at the opposite side, and the attendance at the parish Mass would have represented those visionaries later that day.
The question often arose why there was no message at Knock, having the other major shrines of Lourdes and Fatima in mind.
The designation by the Vatican has clarified the meaning of the apparition and the message of Knock, to quote a passage from a Vatican II documents is “the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is the centre and culmination of the whole life of the Christian community”.
Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Catholics are refusing to collude in apartheid of women
Dear Editor, In our ongoing synodal encounters and dialogue, we must be aware of the important difference between core faith and the multitude of curial canon laws, outdated patriarchal opinions and limited clerical teachings. Faithful Catholics gladly give assent to the core religious good news of Jesus Christ.
Beyond that core faith, there are many different Catholic points of view about the man made and deficient clerical doctrines on mundane matters regarding structures, governance, ethics, sexuality and ministry etc. All of those institutional constructs by the patriarchal control group have evolved and changed over the centuries. Now, at a time of crisis for the Catholic Church, people who are sickened by all the patriarchal abuse and domination, demand substantial reform, radical renewal and much increased cooperation between all the Christian churches plus other religions.
Irish Catholicism of the 1930s is long gone and most Irish Catholics do not want a restoration of that era. Irish Catholics are proud democrats, dislike dictators and are deeply uncomfortable with patriarchal monarchy. They treasure knowledge, honesty, freedom and the dignity of their vote. They want active participation, transparent processes and full power sharing rather than the insulting gruel of consultation. The awful reports of the past decades have shamed us for our sheepish silence and frightened collaboration in clerical control, abuse and maltreatment of women. Many Catholics refuse to collude any further in homophobia and apartheid for women.
I think the synodal process could be a great blessing if not smothered by clerical roadblocks and pious syrup. There are talented people, excellent ministries and rich resources in every parish. They know that massive reform and reunion of the Christian Church is needed. Catholic parents know that it is not possible to evangelise today in the language of sexism, misogyny, homophobia or patriarchal monarchy. I pray that the Holy Spirit guide us all together in the synodal process in order to enhance the Kingdom/Queendom of God.
Dundrum, Dublin 16
People leaving their Churches
Not enough is being done to counteract the promotion of atheism on TV and on social media. Atheists can give what are seemingly plausible reasons for the non-existence of God. The Church needs to address the basics. Why do we believe in God? Why is the Bible genuine and not just some book thrown together to satisfy the beliefs of the early Church? The young people need answers to questions such as how does creation and evolution coexist. Was there ever a great flood?