Dear Editor, For all that Pope Francis often talks of his wish for “a poorer Church”, I don’t know how many of us expected it to entail figures for religious orders as stark as those published in The Irish Catholic this week (IC 2/5/2019). Recurring stories of losses at Veritas along with declining weekly collections in dioceses across the land should probably have prepared us for this, however.
Where to now? That Irish society is living off generations of Catholic social capital should go without saying for any of us who pays attention, and now it is clear that the Irish Church itself in all its manifold parts is living off generations of financial capital and the wisdom of religious past. We can’t do this forever, though.
It’s interesting to see how the orders are prioritising their spending – on care for older members, on ongoing ministry at home and abroad, on legacy and bequests, and in too few cases, surely, on formation. If there’s to be a future for the Church here, shouldn’t vocations work and formation be absolute top priorities, with our religious orders and dioceses doing everything they can to help young people hear God’s call?
It beggars belief, after all, that God has somehow stopped calling Irish people to priesthood and religious life. He’s not so silent elsewhere, after all.
Do political parties see Massgoers as easy targets?
Dear Editor, This time of year, traditionally the season for the church gate collections of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, makes me wonder why they don’t do such collections on a Thursday or Friday evening. Why not on a Saturday afternoon? After all, the streets, supermarkets, coffee shops and shopping centres are teeming with potential contributors.
Once they have a permit from the Gardaí, they can collect in any public place they wish. So why do they choose 20-minute ‘windows of opportunity’ at church gates for their collections?
Could it be the very real possibility/probability of being challenged and even lambasted by the general public about the homelessness crisis, the vulture funds and mortgage arrears crisis, hospital waiting lists, the trolley scandal, the cervical cancer scandal, the amount of the tax payers’ money already squandered on the National Children’s Hospital, The HPV scandal, the closures of Garda Stations and Post Offices in rural Ireland, the immigration issue…the list is endless.
Or could it be that they perceive church-goers as ‘easy targets’, unlikely to cause a scene outside their churches by challenging the political parties?
Do they exploit the fact that many feel intimidated or embarrassed into contributing, while others do not want to renege on long-standing family traditions of supporting certain political parties? It is not unknown for those manning the church gates collections to take note of those who contribute, and how much!
Or are they suffering from selective, collective amnesia where they look for money from the faithful while forgetting that they actively promote a liberal and secular agenda which campaigns, celebrates and legislates on issues that fly in the face of Catholic beliefs and teaching?
Dear Editor, From time to time we see on the media pictures of Prime Minister Theresa May leaving church with her husband after attending Sunday worship.
In a glossy social magazine there is a pictorial article on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s 93rd birthday showing her distributing the Maundy Money on Holy Thursday, which is a royal tradition. In the article her biographer wrote: “Her Christian faith is very important to her. She says her prayers every day and reads her Bible, and all that fortifies her enormously.”
Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, is adamant along with her party on retaining the definition of marriage as she sees it.
Many, if not most, of our leading political figures had a Catholic upbringing and education yet they are content to dispense with Church values and teaching and even exult in their abandonment. On these issues it appears that only Arlene Foster and her party are not for turning – apart for marriage’s definition they also defend the right to life.
Politicians who adhere to these principles are becoming scarce. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they are an endangered species!
Glasnevin, Dublin 9.
Why remove what minimal protection there is?
Dear Editor, Since the introduction of divorce in Ireland we can see the fulfilling of St John Paul’s warning at Limerick in 1979 when he said that divorce was a “plague” because it spirals and leads to other evils also such as cohabitation and infidelity, things now commonplace and accepted as normal.
One would think then that our civic leaders would have learned the lesson and instead of giving us a referendum to reduce the delay of living apart before seeking a divorce from four years to a lesser period that they would be advocating the very opposite, an extension of the delay to eight or 10 years with the eventual aim of getting back to life long marriage which is God’s design for marriage, and the only thing that can properly serve the common good of society.
Though the delay of four years separation falls short of God’s design, nonetheless it does give some minimal protection because there is the hope that in the course of the four years a reconciliation might be effected between couples who are thinking of breaking up. But our leaders don’t want even that.
Very obviously they are intent on destroying this sacred institution by giving it about as much legal standing as a driver’s license. In doing so they are in line with communists, nihilists and anarchists everywhere. Regardless of the immorality of their plan, even the economic and social cost of the fall out from the resulting breakdown of society does not trouble them. They are literally hell-bent on this evil.
The response from Christian voters should not only be to vote ‘No’ to this but also to vote ‘No’ to its advocates at the next election.
Fr Richard O’Connor,