Dear Editor, Many dioceses are engaging in ‘listening’ processes which on the face of it is commendable. However, one must ask what qualities are required to “listen”? Surely no institution can embark on a successful ‘listening’ programme without (i) effectively addressing the reason for embarking on such a listening programme which does of course reflect a long tradition of failure to listen and (ii) addressing the conundrum of how those who have failed to listen will suddenly be in a position to listen because it is now strategy!
In order to go from a no-listening to a listening mode the Church must acknowledge the evil of clericalism and acknowledge and apologise for the terrible damage clericalism caused to the Church’s mission, resulting in a failure to serve the people of God, a failure to listen. “Clericalism” is, says Pope Francis, “our ugliest perversion”. To ignore this fact, as presented to us by the Holy Father, is to extend and perpetuate clericalism under the guise of apparent necessity.
A prerequisite to listening, renewal and service must surely be an acknowledgement of the evil of clericalism, and of the damage which it has done and then the commencement of a process of re-education and development of those who have been indoctrinated and damaged by clericalism. Then the Church can truly listen and rededicate itself to its mission, otherwise those who embrace “clericalism”, both clergy and laity, will continue to choke the mission of the Church and alienate the “little children”, the people of God.
John Lupton Snr.,
Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.
For Ireland’s sake, think outside the box
Dear Editor, Excellent treatment of David Trimble and Kate Hoey’s very puzzling Brexit intervention (IC 7/3/2019).
Irish Catholic voters have been alienated by traditional parties in both states, though Renua and Aontú represent alternatives. North of the border, some advise Catholics to vote DUP. Even without Aontú or a reliable SDLP candidate, the DUP has its own factions and those most credible on moral issues are also most likely to be anti-Catholic, even if they state that they oppose Catholicism and not Catholics.
The more pragmatic group within the DUP have never held more than devolved authority and one would ask what decisions would they make if legislation on abortion or same sex marriage was a price for external investment and jobs in the North of Ireland. Chairman Mao was correct to observe that one would see what people were like when they were given real power.
Aside from this, the Six Counties are at the mercy of a Labour majority in Westminster imposing the infamous 1967 Act on Northern Ireland, something which already has considerable support across the political divide in Britain.
Meanwhile, just as changing demographics in the North point towards an imminent nationalist majority, Brexit is a game changer. Nationalists happy with the Good Friday Agreement arrangements have become doubtful and some moderate unionists have considered what was previously beyond discussion. A united Ireland may come more quickly than we think – and this needs to be prepared for on this side of the border.
If we are to make a significant impact on this country’s direction and future, we all need to begin thinking outside the box with immediate effect.
Laytown, Co. Meath.
Differences are not secondary
Dear Editor, The article ‘Differences are secondary say Ireland’s Mormons after Pope meeting’ (IC 14/3/2019) could easily give the impression that differences between Catholics and the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) are relatively insignificant.
These difference touch fundamental aspects of the Christian faith. For example, most Churches, including our own, do not recognise the legitimacy of Mormon baptism since it lacks the essential Trinitarian formula, and the theological understanding of baptism is unclear. The Mormon Church claims an additional collection of scriptural books, whose origins are, to say the least, controversial: they have never been considered inspired by any other Christian community. These books add an additional layer to the history of salvation no other Christian Church shares.
This has led many to wonder whether the Mormon Church can in fact be considered a Christian Church at all. Coming to grips with what Mormons actually believe is difficult to assess, given the remarkable degree of secrecy surrounding the beliefs and practises of the Latter Day Saints.
This is in no way to call into question the upright lives of many adherents of this faith. Certainly there are areas in which co-operation between them and Catholics is possible, but to date there has been no formal dialogue between Mormons and Catholics such as between Catholics and Anglicans or Lutherans.
Brendan McConvery CSsR,
Belfast, Co. Antrim.
God’s wrath is real too
Dear Editor, I was listening to a brother and sister discussing their father recently. Listening to them, as a neutral, I couldn’t help thinking that they were talking about two different people. It reminded me of the God presented in the Old Testament readings, and the loving Father that Jesus revealed to us.
And so, our basic belief is in a God who lavishes his love upon us. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus teaches us that Our Father is a total ‘softie’ who, like the father in the story, not only welcomes the sinner home, but rushes out to meet his wayward son and embraces him with love. And then they have a party. The story, of course, emphasises the fact, that there is “more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over 99 men who have no need of repentance” (Lk. 15:7).
How unfortunate therefore, that Pope Francis warns us not to “become complacent of God’s wrath” as we read in last week’s The Irish Catholic.
Farranshone, Co. Limerick.