Married clergy – two sides to the argument

Married clergy – two sides to the argument

Dear Editor, Mary Kenny should be thanked for her musings on ‘Fr D’Arcy’s reflections on a parallel life’ (IC 23/02/2017), which have injected some reality into what seems an interminable drone in favour of married priests.

Fr D’Arcy’s comment that he would have been a far better priest had he married is, of course, balderdash, and Mrs Kenny is right to say so, even if she couches her dismissal more diplomatically, citing this year’s cinematic hit La La Land to point out that imagined alternative lives are just that: imagined.

At the same time, it is hard to see Mrs Kenny’s column doing much to slow the tide in favour of changing Church discipline in this area. At times I wonder if those making such calls have read the Bible at all. Even if it might be that not all priests are called to be “eunuchs…for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven”, St Paul’s injunction at 2 Timothy 2:3-4 could hardly be clearer.

“Put up with your share of difficulties, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. In the army, no soldier gets himself mixed up in civilian life, because he must be at the disposal of the man who enlisted him,” he writes, putting pen to papyrus in a world where the archetypal soldier was the Roman legionary, a man who was barred from marriage while on active service.

Considering the context in which St Paul wrote, it is difficult to see how anybody can evade this when calling for priests to be allowed marry or for married men to be allowed become priests.

On the other hand, the Eastern Catholic Churches have long had married clergy, and ordinations of married Anglican clergy to the priesthood have risen dramatically since Pope Benedict’s 2009 creation of the Ordinariates.

The Church, it seems, believes one can be called by God both to marriage and to the priesthood; can we really maintain a discipline that prevents people from accepting both of God’s calls?

Yours etc.,

Laurence Conway,



Pastoral care of most importance to Medjugorje pilgrims

Dear Editor, As someone who has been a regular visitor to Medjugorje over many years, I was pleased to read your report of the appointment by the Vatican of the Pope’s special envoy to that holy place in the person of Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsawa-Praga (IC 16/02/2017). This appointment is very important at this time in history of Medjugorje, as his function is to assist in the pastoral care presently being provided to pilgrims in that site and not comment in any way on the alleged visions and reported messages.

As those of your readers who have visited the shrine will be aware, pastoral care of a very high standard is presently provided by the resident Franciscan Fathers and for the Vatican to lend their support to this work is significant. In a separate article on the same date I also read the comments of Donal Lowry as acting chairman of the Medjugorje Council of Ireland and I concur with his views.

For me it is important to emphasise that the liturgical celebrations which take place in Medjugorje are centred on the two great gifts which Jesus Christ left to us in support of our heavenly journey viz the Sacrament of Confession and the Holy Eucharist. It is by the means of these gifts that we will attain salvation regardless of any other activity which allegedly takes place in Medjugorje. The authenticity or otherwise of visions and reported messages is for the Magisterium of the Church to ultimately decide. What is important for the ordinary pilgrim is to be reconciled with God through Confession and be fed by the core sacraments of the Church and in particular the Holy Eucharist. I believe this to be the true strength of Medugorje and it is one which will, hopefully, be greatly enhanced by the appointment of the Pope’s special envoy.

Yours etc.,

Paul Wallace,


Co. Dublin.


We need a debate in this society about happiness

Dear Editor, Fr Rolheiser, in his weekly column (IC 23/02/2017), seems unable to state what is blatantly obvious to the theme of his article.

He fails to make the connection to all that he suggests in the column by using the simple word, ‘happiness’.

Unhappy people are the ones he is referring to when he makes comment about, inter alia, those who “need to stand out, be special, to sit above, to make a mark for ourselves”.

Happy people are those who “join a circle of life, with those who believe that there is no need to stand out or be special, and those who believe that other people’s gifts are not a threat…”

To talk in terms of Jesus being “a loser” in the eyes of those who are basically unhappy is to miss the point of Christ’s entire message. Jesus is happy and points us in the direction of happiness too.

As Fr Rolheiser suggests, our society encourages us to take the unhappy route to our achievements in life. Unhappy people are often held up as role models. Education is laden with unhappiness to the extent that many parents know that if their children want to achieve in life, they need to be taught how to be unhappy.

One reason why Fr Rolheiser fails to make this obvious point himself is because he sees faith in terms of being middleclass and writing for a middleclass audience. Either he can’t see through the mist or doesn’t want to offend others.

We need a debate in this society about happiness and how we relegate so many people to lives full of unhappiness in the midst of so many material gains.

Yours etc.,

John O’Connell,



Could RTÉ give Catholics some affirming programmes?

Dear Editor, I found The Late Late Show on February 17 very negative and undermining towards the Church.

Firstly, Olivia O’Leary came on to discuss the week in politics, which had been dramatic and quite shocking. She quickly veered to raking up the scandals in the Church. What had that to do with the events of the previous week?

Then Fr D’Arcy was moaning because priests may not marry. The presenter treated us to a clip from many years ago (of the Late Late) showing an exchange between Fr D’Arcy and the late Cardinal Cathal Daly. Thankfully, Fr D’Arcy said he and the cardinal remained friends.

Could RTÉ not give us some programmes affirming Catholics? Maybe focussing on the loving service the Church gives as exemplified by Bro. Kevin, Sr Stan, Fr Peter McVerry and also the many lay men and women volunteers?

Yours etc.,

Carmel Ni Chuinn,

Blackrock, Co. Dublin.


Much history behind Mexican wall

Dear Editor, Deacon James Rock’s robust letter (IC 19/02/2017) in defence of President Trump’s immigration initiatives is impressive indeed.

The strange case of the Mexican wall, however, is ‘sui generis’ for historical reasons. The US under President James K. Polk (1845-49) invaded Mexico thus acquiring the lands of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. Texas had already been settled.

It just seems rather rich today to deny Mexican migrants reasonable access to some of their own former homelands lost via conquest in a conflict not of their choosing. War was made on Mexico for US ‘manifest destiny’.

The American writer William Faulkner once observed: “The past is not dead. It is not even past.”

Your etc.,

Seán Bearnabhail,

Dublin 9


The more men scoff…

Dear Editor, So many of your readers were upset when the Blessed Eucharist was mocked on The Late Late Show that I write in the hope that they will find solace in this little known prayer of the great Blessed John Henry Newman: “O my Dear Saviour, You are in the sacrifice of the Mass, You are in the Tabernacle, verily and indeed in flesh and blood. And the world not only disbelieves but mocks at this gracious truth. O accept my homage, my praise, my adoration. The more men scoff, the more will I believe in you.”

Yours etc.,

Raymond Cullen,


Co. Monaghan.