Dear Editor, Your front-page story on the Religious Sisters of Charity’s failure to seek canonical permission to dispose of the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group (IC 6/12/2018) really showed the truth of the comments from UCD’s Prof. John McCafferty as related in the previous week’s Webwatch.
Prof. McCafferty had been critical of the failure of fellow historians to grasp how there’s an important sense in which the Irish Church is simply a local expression of a global family, and a lazy tendency to assume that childhood knowledge of Catholicism suffices to make one competent to comment on the subject as an adult, adding that historians are not the only ones guilty of this.
It appears, to judge from how your article seems to have set a cat among Ireland’s establishment pigeons, that Irish journalists, politicians, lawyers, civil servants and indeed nuns have all been similarly oblivious and lazy.
Shouldn’t somebody have realised before now that an Irish religious body couldn’t simply give away Church property without some sort of thumbs up from Church authorities?
Did this never even occur to our policy makers, or the sisters, or even the religious correspondents for media outlets other than The Irish Catholic?
The fact that it seems not to have done so is a damning comment on the competence of Ireland’s Fourth Estate in this affair, just as the failure of State authorities to try to buy land near St Vincent’s but not owned by Catholic bodies reveals the arrogance in how this whole affair has been handled.
The sisters’ own failures may reflect simply how it’s difficult to teach new tricks to an old dog.
The Irish Catholic, meanwhile, should be praised for having highlighted the issue over a year ago and returned to it now.
Drogheda, Co. Louth.
Church property can’t be just ‘given away’
Dear Editor, The revelation that Irish nuns need and have failed to seek permission to sell or otherwise pass on Church lands for the building of a new National Maternity Hospital (IC 6/12/2018) is a staggering one, with repercussions that must go far beyond this issue.
How can a Catholic body give away property so it can be used for carrying out abortions, as appears to be on the cards for the new hospital? Clearly it can’t. Church bodies can’t give away or sell or get rid of any Church property in the expectation that said property will be used for purposes at odds with Church teaching.
Where does this leave the question of school divestment? We constantly hear of the need to divest schools from Church patronage, but most such schools are not merely under Church patronage, but are Church-owned. It may be as taxpayers that we subsidise the payment of our teachers, but it was as Catholics that our parents and grandparents built the schools and that parishes support them even now.
Can we really ‘alienate’ these properties to a State that is increasingly opposed to Catholic education, that seems determined to sideline Church teaching where it will not suppress it or misrepresent it altogether? Will our bishops really allow that?
And for our more valuable school properties, will Rome allow it?
Tallaght, Dublin 24.
Withhold sacraments from Dáil members
Dear Editor, Now that the Dáil has kissed goodbye to the unborn with the view that we must be like other nations, it’s time that they are refused all sacramental comforts of the Church until they repent, beginning this coming Christmas!
Many may view this will see this arcane homage to the Ireland of the 1950s, but if it was good enough for the likes of Ss Athanasius and Gregory VII to issue such condemnation during their lives, then we must do the same, to those who laugh at our Faith and will profane the Sacrament, with such indifference, for his sake and who knows, it may cause the politicians to pause and think about their eternal fate!
Fr John McCallion,
Clonoe, Co. Tyrone.
Grim reality of terminations will be clear
Dear Editor, It is likely that abortion clinics will be set up shortly in our towns and cities. The experience in the US shows that the more such clinics are made available the more women in crisis pregnancies will be panicked or pressurised into aborting their own babies.
We take pride in our areas and in the life-supporting work of our local hospitals and medical personnel. Would we not be the fools to let them set up state-funded abattoirs for infants in our cities and towns? The grim reality behind the ‘termination of pregnancies’ will soon come to life. The innate and God given right to life of any human being cannot be legitimately removed by a referendum.
Some ministers are telling us that the pro-life campaign is over. However, at local level, it is up to us to ensure that it is just beginning. Daniel O’Connell was able to “drive a coach and four (horses) through any Act of Parliament”. In our day we can drive a pram and more through any legislation which would seek to prevent peaceful protest against the deliberate killing of innocent human beings.
What law could, for example, prevent us from singing carols for the unborn children, whenever their defenceless lives are being threatened with extinction in our towns? Perhaps some expectant mothers will be persuaded to think again about a decision which, sooner or later, will be deeply regretted.
Sligo, Co. Sligo