Dear Editor, The Church can never permit marriage of its clergy as long as it continues to stand against artificial contraception. If priests marry, it is only to be expected they will have children. But how many children?
If a priest produces only a few offspring, he will be suspected of practicing birth control. In Latin America, where many offspring is regarded as a mark of manliness, the surrounding society would regard the cleric with few children as a lesser man. If the priest produces 15 or 20 offspring, they will give no occasion for scandal about artificial contraception, but he will be regarded as flagrantly irresponsible in developed countries’ ethos against large families. His neighbours will view him as overburdening church and community resources.
To support priests’ families, the Church must pay much higher salaries, thus diverting funds from many worthy causes.
I have often heard one Protestant pastor or another decline to move to a ‘less desirable’ parish or lower his salary or commit himself to an extra activity the grounds that doing so might impact negatively, not on himself, but on his children. Will this happen if Latin Rite priests marry?
Missionary activities calling for self-sacrifice in dangerous places would be untenable if the missionaries had wives and children. No responsible man would willingly face the risk of death if he had to consider the continuing welfare of his family.
Permitting priests to marry might result in greater numbers of vocations, but it would introduce undesirable new factors that would make them far less effective, mobile, and willing to sacrifice. Gone would be commitment to long hours, willingness to live with hardships, and single-minded dedication to their flocks. Instead would be continual division of loyalties between the priest’s biological and spiritual families, and negative judgment by the community.
David W. T. Brattston
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada
Latin Mass attendees ‘hurt’ by decision of Francis
Dear Editor, Bypassing the seeming sense of ‘schadenfreude’ emulating from the comments of Fr Tracey [IC 22/07/2021] and others, a couple of points need to be answered that have been growing since the decree of Pope Benedict in 2007: Why is it that traditional rite parishes are filled with young, vibrant families, while the ordinary rite ones are struggling? Equally, vocations are flourishing and why are the likes of Maynooth seemingly teetering on the point of closure?
Since my ordination in 1999, I have been on five pilgrimages to Paris to Chartes at Pentecost and it was these above groups that gave me hope. They were not sedevacantist lunatics, but in love with the Church, and their deep respect to the local ordinary and the papal representative was clearly evident. I celebrated my first low Mass last October, on the 21st anniversary of my priesthood in the church where I was ordained, and it was a profoundly moving grace-filled experience. I would agree with the view of Cardinal Sarah that both rites can mutually support and enrich each other. However, since those devoted to the ancient rite now feel undoubtedly hurt by this decision, and given that they are now at the margins, would not the Christian thing be for Francis, the Pope of the margins to reach out and review this decision? I do hope so!
Fr John McCallion
Coalisland, Co. Tyrone
Decline will continue if Latin Mass marginalised
Dear Editor, I am genuinely intrigued how some voices within the Church mean to foster unity by restricting priests from offering the Mass that stretches back to Apostolic times in favour of the brand-new rite (Novus Ordo Missae) approved by Paul VI and introduced in 1968. No one seems to elaborate on this point. According to this logic it is now time for them to call for the suppression of the other six liturgical traditions within the Church. In Ireland this includes Masses offered for the thriving Syro Malabar community.
The exit polls after the abortion referendum in 2018 asked questions about religious affiliation and its clear from the answers that the Church, despite holding a unique position in the education system, has failed through its catechetical programmes and liturgical celebrations (the newer form, not the older), to hold on to even a creative minority of the young people. The connection between this Catholic disaffiliation and the liturgy has never been seriously studied by Irish liturgists but scholars such as Stephen Bullivant have done thorough studies of other countries and have outlined that if liturgical reform was meant to prevent people from quitting the Church it has failed spectacularly.
Fr Tracey’s remark to those who attend at the Mass as it was before 1968 [IC 22/07/2021], that they consider that the Mass is not a private action but a celebration of the Church (and that we return to documents on the sacred liturgy), is particularly bemusing. Private devotion, sentimentality, excruciating music (where music exists at all), banality, bad symbols, cheap vestments, unsuitable vessels and badly arranged churches are not the exception in the Irish Church. Surely he is aware of this?
Things will continue to decline as long as ‘unity’ is fostered by prescription (marginalising) of faithful Catholics and pandering to those who no longer consider themselves practicing their faith, i.e. the vast majority of Irish Catholics.
Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick
Groups seeking to debase Vatican II can be dealt with separately
Dear Editor, It’s unfortunate that Fr Treacy of Maynooth University [IC 22/07/2021], while encouraging greater efforts at celebrating the liturgy, in effect infers that those who attend the Latin Mass hinder the Sacrifice of the Mass’s action as “the source and the summit of the life of the Church”, and also obstruct “Eucharistic renewal for every community”. Strange that France’s Catholic bishops expressed “esteem” on July 17 “for the people and pastors of Traditional Latin Mass communities… and the spiritual zeal of these faithful”. Many bishops throughout the world have, with reason, responded in similar vein.
The vast bulk of Latin Mass attendees have nothing to do with challenges to the authority of Vatican II or efforts to associate the Latin Mass sacrifice with that contention. The identifiable groups seeking to debase Vatican II can be dealt with separately.
I attend sacrifices of the Mass in English and Latin, and like both for different reasons. An extra opening prayer, prayer over the gifts, and post-communion prayer which the Latin form allows, is said every day in the Latin Mass I attend for the intentions of the Pope. Such loyalty is not divisive and is consistent with renewal.
On the other hand there are priests in Ireland who impose their own text on congregations at Masses celebrated in English. Missal-free territory! Priests intermittently encourage this practice and others at odds with Catholic teaching on a clerical website. In 2012 I heard one such priest specify Church teachings he deemed “unnecessary”. The respective bishops can’t but be aware of these practices. This form of ‘missal’ and the disobedience underlying it challenges the Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium.
Why marginalise a minority of Catholics who find significant graces in a form of Eucharist celebrated by bishops as they participated in Vatican II?
Cappamore, Co. Limerick
Nuns shouldn’t give NMH site for free, says prominent doctor
Exactly. Maybe they might value their contribution if they had to pay for it. – Ismise Máire
Definitely not. They are trying their best to get rid of Catholic religion and now they want this site. They are laughable, but it’s not funny. – Sheila Boyle
They have done so much for humanity already. I work with them in South Sudan and we are blessed to have their great work. – Noeleen Loughran
The truth about Covid deaths in nursing homes must be revealed
Criminal behaviour by our Government of the day. We trusted our Ministers those days. – Deirdre Quinn
Eh remember we were called conspiracy theorists when this was brought up last year… don’t act all surprised now it’s time to actually do something about it. – Angie Geraghty
Behaviour at the funeral of convicted serial burglar criticised by priest
I feel sorry for priests who have to deal with this, very intimidating situation to be in. There were also a number of disturbing videos circulating on social media showing the behaviour before burial and afterwards. No bother to the guards stopping parishioners going to Mass in Cavan or handing out fines to priests saying Mass. Comical country we live in. – Daragh Harmon
For me the two most worrying aspects were: (1) the gardaí unwillingness to come to aid of priest and (2) the badgering by Liveline of Archbishop of Dublin for a statement. – Alan Whelan
Scary situation and our priests and church Laity would have been very vulnerable here. – Lauren Manning