Dear Editor, Regarding the expected visit of Pope Francis next year, Finola Kenny in your issue of May 18 makes a very valid point. She recalls the deep disappointment felt by the locals of the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, Sean McDermott Street, where the papal motorcade passed by without the expected stop. No fault of Pope St John Paul II, the delay, it is said, was due somewhat to his having met VIPs in Drogheda whom had already greeted him at the airport.
The parish had prepared for weeks for the expected visit to the tomb of Venerable Matt Talbot. I paid a visit to the church and the preparations were certainly a credit to the parishioners.
As Finola suggests, a visit by Pope Francis may provide an opportunity to redress the omission of 1979. I would like to add, if I may, would it not be an opportunity also to include a call to the shrine of Blessed John Sullivan SJ in Gardiner Street? Another visit, and close to the heart of Pope Francis, would be to renew his acquaintance with Bro. Kevin at the Capuchin Day Centre.
August 2018 is still in the future, but preparations have to be made in advance, but please God, the papal presence will be most welcome in Dublin’s north inner city.
‘Uprooting’ of Palestinians by order of Arab League
Dear Editor, I would like to draw your attention to the caption on the photo at the bottom right of page 27 of the issue of May 18, 2017. It refers to a “protest in the West Bank marking the 69th anniversary of their uprooting”. The protest is by Palestinians who we see fleeing Israeli tear gas. The obvious implication is that it was the Israelis who uprooted the Palestinians.
I suggest that an opportunity to strike a blow for justice and peace was sadly lost here. A little investigation reveals that the Israeli leader of the day, David Ben Gurion expressly requested the Palestinian Arabs to stay and help build up the new state. (His speech can be accessed on air – albeit in Hebrew).
The ‘uprooting’ was by order of the Arab League. Prime Minister of Syria, Khaled Al-Azm, wrote in his memoirs (1972); “…it was we who made the leave…We brought disaster upon..Arab refugees, by inviting and bringing pressure to bear upon them to leave…”
The reason for this sad order which now seems unthinkable, was actually to protect the Palestinian Arabs from the planned Arab attack on the new state.
An announcement was made to the whole world by Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League on May 15, 1948 and reported in the New York Times of the 16th. It said: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre…like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”
The Arabs made no secret of what they wanted then and in fairness to them they don’t make any secret about it now either. For some inexplicable reason, we in the Ireland seem simply incapable of accepting the facts.
No need to dedicate May to Mary
Dear Editor, I think that dedicating May to special devotion to Our Lady is a distraction from the fact that one is in Eastertide. The Church already dedicates every Saturday to Our Lady and the physical months of the year have nothing to do with the Church calendar.
Goatstown, Dublin 14.
Ingratitude for all the good the Church has done
Dear Editor, In a recent Editor’s Comments (11/05/2017) you refer to the changing face of journalism in Ireland from “truth and facts” to the present initiative which sees “the Catholic Church as the root of every problem in Ireland”.
I can’t help but wonder how our countless men and women who left home, homeland and family to bring health, education, the word of God and freedom from poverty to many corners of the world, often risking their own health and safety, must now feel.
Ingratitude is one of the deepest hurts of all. Even Jesus himself referred to this when he healed the lepers and only one out of 10 returned to give thanks.
Something really serious has happened to our sense of justice and fair play in Ireland. Yes, we are now a very open and pluralistic society and are known for our sense of friendliness and welcome worldwide, and that’s the good side of us but to ‘bite the hand that fed us’ is the darker side. Perhaps the Church is ‘turning the other cheek’ in not speaking up for these very good people and yes, very many were good people. But what about us, today’s laity, have we forgotten our roots and are we like the nine lepers of old? Is there any solution or cure for ingratitude or personal hurts caused to others, particularly by the media? Does “silence give consent”?
Innishannon, Co. Cork.
Pope Francis should highlight injustices in Ireland
Dear Editor, I commend your paper for the coverage (IC 01/06/2017) you gave to the issue of asylum seekers living in direct provision, and Fr Paddy Byrne for his strong words in condemning this unjust system. He called for Pope Francis to visit a direct provision centre here when he visits for the World Meeting of Families in 2018. I think the Pope would definitely do this, but only if the bishops suggest it. Would they have the foresight to allow his visit to make a statement about how Ireland treats its most vulnerable? A visit with the homeless being fed at the Capuchin Day Centre would be another opportunity for the Pope to highlight an issue important to him.
Congratulations to the Burmese national who after eight years in direct provision was successful last week in his challenge to the legal ban which prevented him seeking work as an asylum seeker. Perhaps this will be the first step to improve the lives of those stuck in limbo thanks to our refugee system.
Life’s difficulties mean talking about hell very important
Dear Editor, I write in relation to Fr Joe McVeigh’s letter (IC 25/05/2017) in which he dismisses as “a silly suggestion,” David Quinn’s wish for priests to preach more often about hell. He thinks preaching about hell is “a fear tactic” and that the Gospel is about love, “not fear and not hell”.
Instinctively I disagreed and have since read an online blog by Msgr Charles Pope (http://blog.adw.org/2017/05/jesus-loves-warned-frequently-hell/) denouncing such an opinion of the unimportance of hell itself or at least the need to warn people about it, as seriously misguided. He states that although no one loves us more than Jesus, no one spoke more about hell than he, no one.
The very fact that people often experience some kind of hell in their lives makes it a reality for them, so avoiding talking about the eternal hell which we are free to choose or reject is all the more important, not less so.
Donnybrook, Dublin 4.
Preaching about hell in new ways
Dear Editor, At Mass in Cape Town in 2014, before a general election, the priest (not a South African) asked a multi-racial, multi-cultural congregation to think very carefully about their vote. “There are places on earth, that are hell today,” was his comment.
It is possible to talk about hell in a contemporary way.
The Road Safety Authority frequently shows graphic video clips of horrific accidents, to warn about the results of carelessness on the roads. I have never heard them being accused of scare-mongering.
Raheny, Dublin 9.