Dear Editor, Your coverage of the sad passing of the legendary John Hume [IC 06/08/2020] was impressive and unlike many other publications you highlighted how his Catholic Faith was instrumental in making him the man he was, which is something that should not be overlooked.
The Irish people have much to be proud of in this peacemaker and it definitely showed in the reaction of the Irish public after his death. The response was extraordinary, there was no doubt that his work towards reconciliation and the Good Friday Agreement changed the face of Ireland and led us on a path of peace rather than violence. For that reason, we should not forget how his Christian upbringing and the values instilled in him helped him accomplish so much. He rejected violence because it was morally wrong, just as you say in your editorial, not for political gain.
Anyone who believes religion has no place in the modern world should look at the work of this behemoth of peace, this prophet, and remember that although he did not scream his religiosity to all who he came across, he lived and acted as a Christian and followed the path of Christ in all that he did. His actions spoke louder than words ever could.
There are still many steps to take on the path towards a ‘normal’ society, which has moved past the violence and vitriol. The ghosts of the past have not left us just yet but John Hume has helped us get to a stage in which we can, and are, moving faster than we ever thought possible.
Bangor, Co. Down.
Watching Confirmation from pub ‘concerning’
Dear Editor, I was concerned about an article in your paper which reported that a pub in Kingswood, Dublin, was allowing parents to stay in the pub across the road from the church and watch their children’s Confirmation via livestream on their TVs.
At first glance, I initially thought it was a lovely expression of solidarity in a community that is struggling to cope with the strict guidelines during this pandemic. However, we are already having difficulty expressing the importance of Confirmation to parents, many of which only see it as part of a tradition and this, in my eyes, sets a worrying precedent.
It could be argued that this is just a once off that has taken place due to Covid-19 as the parents weren’t allowed in the church to accompany their children but I wouldn’t be surprised if more parents decided to watch the livestream from a pub rather than be in there in person in future.
Although perhaps this could be seen as over the top, there is a growing apathy to the Sacraments as many Catholics know. Is this just another nail in the coffin?
‘Disappointed’ at treatment of archbishop
Dear Editor, It was very disappointing to read about Archbishop Diarmuid Martin being so disrespected at Croke Park after attending the Muslim celebration of Eid.
The video of the incident, written about in your newspaper [IC 06/08/2020], details the actions of what I would deem hooligans rather than followers of Christ. Many of them were shouting the Rosary through megaphones. What a time we’re living in.
These actions would have been totally unheard of in my generation; when we respected our clergy. Regardless whether you agree or disagree with the archbishop, he still deserves to be treated with dignity and if people want to protest against something he is doing or has done there are peaceful ways of going about it rather than all out thuggery.
Furthermore I believe the archbishop did nothing wrong in his attendance of the Muslim celebration and as Fr Michael O’Sullivan clearly points out in the article in your paper it is not something that is completely unprecedented and is actually part of a wider Church move towards ecumenism and peace between religions, which is sorely needed. Unfortunately, there will always be those who are xenophobic and so uncomfortable with their own religion that they feel threatened by a small Muslim community praying in a public space.
Even worse, and perhaps more likely, they are using religion to hide behind as a means to spew their thinly veiled racist ideologies. Either way, it seems to be a worrying trend in Ireland that must be continuously addressed, we must use dialogue to change hearts and minds.
The reality is their anger stems from fear.
Knocklyon, Co. Dublin.
Dragnet Parable interpretation was ‘evasive’
Dear Editor, I esteem Fr Sylvester O’Flynn as a scripture teacher and look forward to the insights in his weekly article ‘The Sunday Gospel’. I was however disappointed with his evasive interpretation of the Dragnet Parable [IC 23/7/2020].
The plain-sense meaning of the parable (Matt 13:47-50) is clear. The hauling ashore of the dragnet refers to the historical Church membership – or perhaps even historical humanity itself – at the end times. The contents of the dragnet are divided/judged into two categories. The ‘good ones’ are collected and saved; those that are ‘no use’ are thrown away and reference is made to a ‘blazing furnace’. This points unmistakably to the Final Judgement and how the angels will separate the ‘wicked’ from the ‘just’.
Fr O’Flynn takes an evasive view of this parable. He ignores the whole theme of judgement and its eternal consequences. Instead he sees the variety within the dragnet simply in terms of the ‘variety of gifts and interests’ found within the Church.
In the present-day Church, there is a widespread presumption on a salvation that is practically universal. This presumption does not reckon with Jesus’ solemn teaching that the way to salvation is via a hard road and narrow gate (Matt 7:14). Furthermore, this risky presumption transforms the traditional four last tings – death, judgment, Heaven and hell – into the modern two last things, death and Heaven.
Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
A more positive view of transgenderism
Dear Editor, I feel that the trans phenomena gets a very bad press sometimes, particularly in Catholic newspapers. I would like to try to correct that by saying that being trans is not necessarily a bad thing, and in fact in my opinion may even be a good thing. I am trans myself and have had a very strong feminine feeling since the age of 15. I am now 62. I am very religious: I go to Mass every day, practice charity, pray a lot and I love my family.
I think my femininity could be a gift from God since it keeps me happy and keeps me away from dark dangers and sins like: fornication, adultery, pornography, homosexual acts and prostitution. I have no interest in these dark dangers and sins whatsoever and everybody has a right to be happy, because the opposite of happiness is depression and suicide.
I would encourage other trans people not to despair about their Faith, but to go to Mass, pray and believe in the love of an inclusive all-loving God. Lest I be a hypocrite like a Pharisee, however, I beat my breast and say: “Lord be merciful to me a sinner.”
To prove Jesus’ love is all inclusive, he forgave the woman caught in adultery, he forgave the woman at the well who had six husbands and he forgives publicans and tax collectors. He sets us free from the slavery to sin.
Dave ‘Marisa’ Fitzgerald,
Bray, Co. Wicklow.