Dear Editor, As the pandemic rolls on and on and as numbers suffering from Covid grow more and more in spite of vaccinations and many restrictions, I feel called to share some thoughts and reflections.
There is clear evidence that the current state of the world is much cause for anxiety and concern among many good people.
Some conclude that the state of today’s world must be worse than it has ever been, and they bemoan a lack of leadership from Church and state, and yet, although many modern events are very troubling, a review of history provides examples of many crises that have threatened our world – God’s world. To put it plainly, history shows that evil does not prevail.
God, in his infinite love and mercy, brings good out of evil situations that, in the moment, and viewed without proper historical perspective, might have seemed disastrous and beyond redemption.
Pope Francis is calling on us to be the cry of the poor and of the earth. On Vatican and world news shared on Radio Maria daily, he exhorts us all to pray, to discern and to seek to live as Jesus lived. We need to hear more of these words in other media outlets, which seem to have a concerted effort to ignore God and the things of the spirit.
I ask this Holy Spirit to help all good people share with others the good news that God does not and will not abandon his people. We need to look back at history and see how prayer carried people through so much darkness, pain and suffering.
May God grant us the wisdom to believe God is with us and help us share that good news so that it will enable us to hope and cope in spite of all the sad and bad news we hear. God bless all.
Sr Susan Teague
Knock, Co. Mayo
Drawing conclusions from meeting between Pope and Biden
Dear Editor, In his letter Anthony Redmond [The Irish Catholic – November 25, 2021] expresses an assumption that if Joe Biden’s account of his private (unrecorded) conversation with the Pope were inaccurate, then the Vatican would have refuted Biden’s account. Surely the Vatican would be much wiser than to do such a thing – to publicly suggest the President of the USA is a liar? Imagine the repercussions of that! Many of us are aware of Biden’s efforts to cultivate the image of ‘a good Christian’, for the consumption of US voters. We can all draw our own conclusions regarding the papal audience.
Rowanville, Kildare Town
Perhaps we will have a ‘St Duff’ in future?
Dear Editor, I have to commend you and your team for a remarkable and inciteful edition on Frank Duff and the Legion of Mary [The Irish Catholic – December 9, 2021].
I must admit, I knew a bit about the Legion but very little about Duff other than he was their founder.
The worldwide reach of the Legion of Mary was far more significant than I imagined and the holiness of their founder can’t be denied.
Currently, the Church is facing so many challenges, particularly regarding good role models as so many supposedly holy men were involved in horrendous abuses. Duff is certainly a role model and an example to us all.
Perhaps we will have a St Duff in the future? He would certainly be an ideal candidate for sainthood if we can find some miracles!
Use your local church or you will lose it
Dear Editor, The fact that 12% of former Mass-goers do not intend to return to Mass is not surprising [The Irish Catholic – December 2, 2021]. The pandemic was the final nail in the coffin for those whose faith was hanging on by a thread, and who were just attending Mass due to tradition.
The move to online Mass did not help generally – although it was necessary at a time, and it has improved accessibility for those who are housebound or ill which is positive.
The importance of attending physically should be underlined by the bishops once again, this will strengthen faith communities and support people in their faith. Of course, those who are particularly elderly or who have an underlying health condition should be cautious, and never be made feel guilty for protecting their health, but the message to return must go out. Too many people have grown comfortable watching it on a screen in their pyjamas.
Another concern is the financial aspect. The Church has limited resources and will have to downsize to survive, this was inevitable, but the pandemic has sped up this process dramatically meaning there’s a shorter time limit for decisions that have to be made.
The closure of churches has been regularly mentioned, due to lack of attendance and reduced resources. For those who would be aghast at the thought of losing their local church – you should use it or lose it!
Dundalk, Co. Louth
The Church does not need fixing
Dear Editor, Bishop Brendan Leahy’s radio reminder that the only proper synodal outcome is that preferred by the Holy Spirit seems entirely realistic.
The general public commentary focuses primarily on submission of ideas by the laity. A dominant narrative aimed at discarding unfashionable Church teachings has emerged.
One Irish theologian recently claimed the Church “needs fixing”. The Church is the mystical Body of Christ. He doesn’t need “fixing”.
The Church includes the saints in heaven; they don’t need “fixing”. She includes the souls in purgatory whose “fixing” is in hand. There remain those on earth who always need some level of “fixing” in the manner previously experienced by those in heaven and purgatory. This includes repentance, ongoing conversion, charity, prayer and the joyful centrality of giving glory and praise to the name of God. This sets the ultimate context for synodality.
Meaningful synodality has to refer to grace; to God’s Spirit linking the human agents in synodal process to the source of wisdom and love, transforming their thinking in line with God’s healing and teaching action in the ongoing formation of his Church.
Does the dominant narrative dilute the concept “discernment?” Some, including the previously mentioned theologian claim an immediate insight identifying teachings to be discarded. One regional synodal leader has issued an ultimatum in a national daily amounting to “do such and such or I leave”. Such incidents tend to come with an assurance that listening, prayer, and discernment will reveal what else the Holy Spirit might desire. Prioritising satisfaction of non-negotiable demands ahead of exercises in discernment has become apparent.
There is no evidence that changing the Church’s unfashionable teachings renders the Catholic Faith any less marginal to the ambient culture. We need to avoid imagining “there is a Holy Spirit and he thinks like me”.
Otherwise we run the risk of a spectator sport, “just another Winter’s Tale”.
Cappamore, Co. Limerick