Dear Editor, Relating to Bishop Tom Deenihan’s comments [IC 01/07/2021] that the Government has directed the Catholic Church to cancel First Holy Communions and Confirmations, I have said it before and I will say it again the Catholic Church’s religious practices and those that attend them are of no interest and therefore not a voting priority for members of the Government.
It has been suggested that the Government was not so much concerned by Church attendances at First Holy Communions and Confirmations. It based its decision on the belief that families of children receiving the sacraments would have large numbers of family and friends in their homes or elsewhere after the service like in the good old days of Prosecco and bouncy castles. While there may have been exceptions, I think it would be fair to say that in the majority of cases families would have acted responsibly and would have been Covid safety compliant. Gathering in churches would not have been an issue due to strict controls. I could not attend Mass as a visitor last week because I had not booked a place in advance, as they needed to keep the numbers limited to 50 people – complying with proper social distancing.
The Government’s decision to direct the Catholic Church to defer the ceremonies flies in the face of common sense and fairness when you consider that the Government allows almost unlimited outside mask-less dining and coffee drinking. It also turns a blind eye to groups drinking alcohol in outside locations. It has recently increased the number allowed to attend outdoor events to 200 people. It allowed 3,000 people at the recent Tipperary v Clare Munster Hurling Semi-Final and now 50 guests are allowed at weddings. This makes a mockery of banning and deferring important religious ceremonies like First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
Disappointed parents should remember this and make their views known to political candidates and at the ballot box at the next election.
Ireland’s relationship with Vatican ‘saddening’
Dear Editor, Despite the warm sounding words: “Government pledges fresh energy in diplomatic relations with the Vatican,” [IC 15/07/2021] the article that followed was saddening.
Ireland’s relationship with the Vatican is now being regarded solely as that of one sovereign State to another, which might prove useful to Ireland.
The vision of the Church as the instrument established by Christ to bring us into relationship with God and through which God’s will for us is mediated, seems to have been completely lost. Ireland’s once honoured and unique position in the Church – semper fidelis’ – now considered as having been one merely of subservience.
Instead of drawing closer to the Vatican and its role and purpose here on earth, it is held at arm’s length, by the minister for Europe, with words like “lots of areas where people will disagree with the Vatican…matters for the individual person”.
If I might paraphrase: “We, as a sovereign State would like to work with the Vatican (just another sovereign State) on humanitarian issues that we determine and to obtain support for political issues that are of interest to us.” Where has the vision gone, expressed in the words of the hymn:
“The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord,
She is his new creation by water and the word,
From Heaven he came and sought her
To be his holy bride,
With his own blood he bought her
And for her life he died.”
Bishops of Ireland must protect their sheep
Dear Editor, Bishop Kevin Doran lamented the ban on the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation in The Irish Catholic [IC 08/07/2021].
He said that the announcement came “completely out of the blue”. The two meetings of the four archbishops with the Taoiseach in 2020 and 2021, which resulted in no changes in the guidelines, should have taught the bishops that the Government was not for turning. This was confirmed when the minister for health criminalised the reopening of places of worship by any priest or minister of religion in late October 2020. Have the bishops laid down their croziers and let the wolves (the Government) into the fold to scatter the sheep?
In France and the USA, the Society of St Pius X, and not the diocesan bishops, challenged the closing of the churches in the courts and won their case and in both countries, it has sued the state. But it was left to a private individual in Ireland, Mr Declan Ganley to do what the Church should have done from day one of the restrictions. In the USA the US Treasury paid $3.1 billion to the Catholic Church under the Payroll Protection Programme due to the pandemic.
The reluctance of the Church in Ireland to confront the State on matters that pertain to the Church only, is to be deplored. As Bishop Donal McKeown said recently, most people look on the First Holy Communion day to be a social affair to the exclusion of the Sacrament and the Church is happy to go along with this mindset.
Bishops of Ireland, pick up your croziers and do what you were consecrated to do and protect the sheep of the fold.
Herbert F. Eyre
North Strand, Dublin
RTÉ either anti-Catholic or devoid of a sense of humour
Dear Editor, It was great to read in your paper that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland upheld several complaints that were made regarding RTÉ’s disgraceful broadcasting of a terrible attempt at satire on their New Year’s countdown show [IC 08/07/2021].
It showed a person who was supposed to be our Christian God being arrested for sex crimes. There is no way this would have been broadcast if it was any other religion that was being mocked. Irish people and our society are wildly hypocritical, on the one hand everyone speaks of equality and respect, on the other the mainstream media, politicians and more feel Christianity can be ridiculed until the cows come home.
While it is welcome the broadcasting authority upheld the complaints, the skit, which I think was done by Waterford Whispers, should have never been broadcast in the first place. Obviously someone in RTÉ thought it was fine and allowed it to be part of the programme, this proves to me that there are those in RTÉ that are either anti-Catholic, devoid of a sense of humour, or just daft.