Dear Editor, This coming St Joseph’s Day marks the ninth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland. That – along with his decision to hand-pick Archbishop Charles Brown as an active and energetic Nuncio – stands as a sign of his concern for the Irish Church.
A re-reading of the letter might provoke some reflection as to whether we have taken it to heart. Whilst we may be able to claim to have made huge strides in the area of safeguarding and some progress in confronting the sad history of abuse, perhaps we have not responded as well to the rest of the letter.
One particular example raises a question. Amongst the concrete actions that Pope Benedict asked for, we read: “I also propose that a nationwide Mission be held for all bishops, priests and religious. It is my hope that, by drawing on the expertise of experienced preachers and retreat-givers from Ireland and from elsewhere, and by exploring anew the conciliar documents, the liturgical rites of ordination and profession, and recent pontifical teaching, you will come to a more profound appreciation of your respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of your faith in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water that he offers you through his Church.”
That no apparent action has yet been taken with respect to that request is disappointing. Surely the spiritual renewal of priests and religious must be part and parcel of any broader renewal in the Church as a whole. Given the importance that Pope Francis places on spiritual discernment, such a mission would surely be in line with his thinking as well.
Neglect on this point leads me to wonder if our pastoral strategies are being based upon the idea of the Church’s peaceful death rather than the possibility of new life in Christ.
Fr Bernard Healy,
Time we took back control of State’s spending
Dear Editor, I agree with the thrust of David Quinn’s article ‘The rise of a godlike State’ (IC 7/3/2019), but he could have gone much further, as he hints at the end of his article.
In describing the status quo, Quinn explains: “In return for taking so much money from us, the State has to be generous in how it uses that money. It has to fund the things we want.”
Why stop here? Why must the State take so much from us? Why should it decide what we supposedly want, and why is it acting as a middle man?
What if the State were to remove all funding to charities and voluntary bodies and use the savings to cut VAT and/or raise the income tax bands? Right away there would be a tangible benefit to the most needy in society, possibly obviating the very existence of some charities.
For people with more disposable income, they could use the savings in tax to donate to the worthiest, most transparently-run voluntary bodies which align with their own individual values.
The State at the moment relishes having the power to grant favours to cronies through the charity sector and to control the ethos of the charities it pays, and it will not give up this power easily. And many voters and taxpayers are happy to be treated like children who must hand up a portion of their allowance because ‘they would only waste it otherwise’.
For those concerned about civil society flourishing along truly Christian, truly charitable lines we can – and in the current climate, I argue that we must fight for a better way.
Cloghan, Co. Donegal
Maybe not one of our most beloved actors
Dear Editor, In bemoaning Liam Neeson’s recent spot of bother (IC 7/3/2019), your movie reviewer seems surprisingly unaware that for many Irish Catholics his star appeal ended when he performed the voiceover for the eerie but effective Amnesty abortion ad made early in the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
I’m afraid that, for many of us, since that nasty episode he has not been “one of the most beloved actors of our country” or “a man who could do no wrong”.
Malahide, Co. Dublin.
Referendum and homeless crisis
Dear Editor, In the forthcoming referendum over divorce, will any consideration be given as to how, in the long term, the outcome could further impact and exacerbate the homeless crisis?
Stick to your day job, minister
Dear Editor, Bro. Kevin in a recent letter to your paper (IC 7/2/2019) challenged Minister Josepha Madigan and her Government to address the crisis of homelessness faced by so many. Minister Madigan has made much of the fact that as a practicing Catholic, she is also critical of Catholic teaching on abortion, and other aspects of catholic doctrine, such as an all-male priesthood. Indeed Minister Madigan is now an advocate for facilitating easier access to divorce.
One can only wonder what school of theology Minister Madigan attended that makes her feel competent to challenge not only current Church teaching but also the tradition of our Church since its foundations which are based on the Gospels.
Perhaps if Minister Madigan concentrated her attention on areas where she is no doubt both skilled and best placed to address, then injustice within our society might better be served and the radical Gospel message of love of all our neighbours achieved.
Templeogue, Dublin 16.