Dear Editor, I was dismayed to read that NPHET’s reason for their recommendation that public worship should not continue [during level 3 restrictions], accepted by our government, was to decrease contacts in areas that, as a society, are relatively speaking in the context of a pandemic, less important.
As a Catholic, I most strongly disagree that public worship is an area that is less important.
Firstly, of all essential activities, from the beginning of time, no activity is more essential to humanity than participation in the sacrifice of the Mass, the greatest form of Catholic worship, whatever the circumstances.
To agree to the restriction on public worship is surely to rob the Mass of its very purpose, rendering the Mass not just less important but of little personal importance for those who cannot participate, as without full participation, with some exceptions, the Mass cannot achieve its purpose for the absentees.
Furthermore, considering participation in Mass less important now is to have an identical evaluation of my participation in past Masses and indeed all past and future sacraments (most significantly my Baptism), all of which derive their power from God’s same sacrifice. Such an opinion of his sacrifice I think is a most dreadful affront to God.
Online participation/worship is not and never will be sufficient. His physical sacrifice would have been unnecessary if my spiritual participation was sufficient. I physically need God. To give himself to me in a physical way, he too, with some exceptions, needs me to be physically present.
Secondly, as a human being and also as an Irish citizen, I have a duty (Article 44.1 of our Constitution) and a right (Article 44.2.2) to worship God. Ireland is the only country in Europe [recently Wales reimposed bans on public worship] where the exercise of that right is being denied.
Let us have the freedom to choose to participate in his sacrifice.
Millstreet Town, Co. Cork.
Government has shown ‘utter contempt’ for Church
Dear Editor, Marie Steen’s view looking for a reasoned excuse from Micheál Martin and company is an exercise in wishful thinking [IC 15/10/2020]!
What we have witnessed in recent Dáil debates is a blatant contempt for those of Faith, most especially those who are Catholic. It is time to take back the churches and quite frankly tell the Government where to go and not pander to those who have shown, quite frankly, an utter contempt for everything the Catholic Church has taught and have no wish to be considered a member of the Faithful.
Fr John McCallion CC,
Coalisland, Co. Tyrone.
Covid-19 obsession shouldn’t overshadow other concerns
Dear Editor, Brexit is still happening and still much hangs in the balance regarding negotiations between the EU and the UK, for that reason it was refreshing to see your paper give it so much prominence on your front page [IC 22/10/2020].
Without a doubt, border communities are still concerned about the outcome of the UK crashing out of the EU and the potential of a hard border and all that it will entail – none of it being good.
Covid-19 has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds for so long and receives an enormous amount of news coverage, which is leading people to forget how important Brexit and its repercussions are.
There are thousands of employees worried about their jobs who live and work on both sides of the border, border communities that have family on both sides that they visit regularly and, currently, with ease, businesses that rely on current border provisions and more who will be affected if there is a hard border or tough custom arrangements, what will happen to all of them? We don’t know.
We can’t allow Covid-19 to be the only thing the nation and the world think and talk about because it means other serious issues are falling to the wayside, it’s an insidious process that will lead to nasty shocks in the future.
In the article, Bishop Larry Duffy and several priests who minister in border communities spoke of the concerns I have raised in this letter and many others. The Church has been at the forefront of peace talks and defending the Good Friday Agreement, it was good to see this happening once again, with out devoted clergy speaking out. More of this please and less of the singlemindedness around the pandemic, we’ll have to live with it for a long time so the world can’t perpetually be in a state of Covid-19 obsession.
Lucan, Co. Dublin.
Only common good solution is for ‘ethical vaccine’
Dear Editor, Noting the interesting article in The Irish Catholic [IC 15/10/2020] on the bioethics question regarding vaccines by Denis Sadowski, let us zoom in on Fr Austriaco’s point on aborted foetal tissue objections and the price for objecting as exceedingly high. That those who object should expect to be prohibited from entering public spaces such as schools, restaurants, etc. Would that extend to churches, one wonders?
While Pope Francis has called out for a universal vaccine, it is interesting to discover that the Vatican’s department for bioethics hasn’t declared since 2008 on the aborted foetal content matter, where it permits all for the common good. The British hierarchy, however, recently declared that Catholics may object to aborted foetal tissue based vaccination. The price paid for objecting in Sadowkski’s article is exceedingly high.
To enter the mindset of those who value life from conception to grave, one recoils in horror before God if forced to receive a mandatory aborted foetal cells-based vaccine. Therefore, the only ‘common good’ solution is to produce an ethical and universal vaccine for all.
Would the Vatican now in 2020 weigh up this entire area, aborted foetal tissue with clear advice to Catholics?
Nollaig M. Ni Mhaoileoin,
Maynooth, Co. Kildare.
Making the poor an ‘awful lot poorer’
Dear Editor, Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation’s Special Envoy on Covid-19 said in an interview with Andrew Neil on Spectator TV’s The Week in 60 Minutes: “We really do appeal to all world leaders, stop using lockdown as your primary method of control.”
He ended the interview by saying, “but remember lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer”.
Why has this vital information from world experts been ignored in Northern Ireland by Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill, by Boris Johnson in England, Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland, Mark Drakeford in Wales and Micheál Martin in the Republic?
Our politicians tell us they are constantly in touch with medical and scientific experts about Covid-19, so why are they now disregarding the highly experienced advice of the world experts on this very subject?
Dr Owen Gallagher,
Glenavy, Co. Antrim.