Dear Editor, Recent statements by politicians regarding Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) are very revealing. In effect they are demanding that the Government devise a RSE programme which would be imposed on all schools, irrespective of the school’s values and ethos. I wonder how they would feel if the same logic were applied to politics, i.e., that all but one party would be banned, thus eliminating voter choice, after all, what need has the public for political alternatives!
Over the years parents have voted with their feet to support their parish schools. Indeed, secondary schools founded by religious, are typically greatly oversubscribed. Parents of all backgrounds really appreciate the values that these schools offer.
Given their record on so many matters, parents would be wise to be sceptical of politicians setting themselves up as the arbiters of what is good for our kids. Both Government and opposition politicians have abjectly failed to shut down porn sites, while advocating abstract ‘objective’ sex-ed programmes, deprived of a value system, which objectify women, emphasise consent in a legalistic way over commitment to a caring personal relationship, and may even consider the unborn child to be a disposable inconvenience. In short, they promote the consumerisation of our sexuality, relationships, and even our lives.
In the Scripture readings at last Sunday’s mass, there were 20 references to “love”. This is what makes Christianity distinctive; that we believe that God is always loving us, and that our happiness comes from being enabled to see this, and to allow this love to flow and flourish in our lives.
Removing love and hope from our relationships and our sexuality education can only make it harder for our young people to embrace the life of meaning and personal responsibility our very humanity yearns for.
Lee Road, Cork.
‘Barbaric’ to hide truth of Ballymurphy Massacre
Dear Editor, It was wonderful that your newspaper gave such prominence to the vindication of the 10 people unjustly killed by the British Army in Ballymurphy in 1971 on your front page [IC 13/05/2021].
The families have been through so much, waiting almost half a century for the truth about their loved ones to be told – this was not good enough. It was absolutely barbaric of those to maliciously hide the truth and then describe these innocent people as terrorists. The truth will set you free!
Waterford City, Waterford
Protecting precious lives of unborn babies
Dear Editor, On the 105th anniversary of the 1916 Irish Rising and the shedding of Irish blood for Irish sovereignty, and in light of almost three years of legalised abortion in Ireland, I wish to reflect on the sacrifice, the reasons and the requests of those who gave their lives for our dear county. Presented on April 24, 1916, after an 800-year fight for freedom, Padraig Pearse declares to the Irish people from the GPO, Dublin: “We hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a sovereign independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations. “He continues, “The Republic promises to cherish all the children of the nation equally.”
These promises are the very reasons why those who paid the ultimate sacrifice of laying down their lives did so, promises that it extends to each and every precious Irish life, including the precious lives of unborn Irish babies. Lest we forget the price that was paid for Irish sovereignty, let us think twice before we continue to deny those unborn voiceless babies their right to life, all of whom are endowed with this very right to life. With no exceptions. Rather than choosing to end their lives, let us reconsider the price that was paid for our freedom, and our duty in ensuring every life is cherished equally.
We have got to remember that true power protects the powerless. True feminism as well as authentic masculinity, not only cares for and protects life, but cherishes life even in its littlest form. As Mahatma Gandhi highlighted, “a nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members”. For Ireland to be great again and “exalted among the nations”, like it once was, we must return to valuing, cherishing and protecting every life, including those of our weakest members.
Úna MacBride Walsh
Westport, Co. Mayo
We must approach RSE from a more positive angle
Dear Editor, Reading David Quin’s article about Catholic RSE teaching [IC 29/04/2021] I could see the difficulty in teaching this subject. Maybe it could be approached from a more positive angle? I think Catholic interpretation of the sixth commandment, properly understood, is the jewel in the crown of our Faith because it is really about true love. All of our Faith, is based on true love, true happy-ever-after love.
Why did God make us and the world if not that he loved us all and wanted us to be happy with him ever after in Heaven?
I believe that this subject should be taught from this basis. True self-sacrificing love could first of all be explained by the love of God who allowed his son to suffer so terribly for our sake and this might help in understanding martyrs who die for love of God. Maximillian Kolbe gave his life for another man and firemen and health care workers are among those who risk their lives for others. People who give up various things in order to care for their children or sick relatives could also be put forward as examples of true unselfish love. And of course, the reverse would be explained as well in how selfish love can ruin things.
With this understanding it might be easier to explain that there needs to be great care in human relations.
Bríd Ní Rinn
Naas, Co. Kildare
Gifting TD’s pension to State each year
Dear Editor, Oliver Maher asked whether my Green colleagues or I gifted our salaries or pensions back to the State to alleviate the social housing or homelessness crisis [TDs should gift salaries to help homeless rather than make ‘cheap shots’ IC 13/05/2021]. I cannot speak for my colleagues, but since I lost my Dáil seat in 2011 I have gifted my TD’s pension to the State each year.
Ciarán Cuffe MEP
Stoneybatter, Dublin 7
Objecting strongly to use of cell lines from abortion
Dear Editor, In response to a previous letter entitled ‘Pro Life people spreading anti-vax myths’ [IC 29/04/2021], it is indeed sad to think of all the people who have suffered and prematurely died from complications arising from the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) virus. However, the author of the letter does not refer to specific information that is put forward by ‘pro life people’ as false. We are all called to be pro life as Christians. There are also valid ethical concerns relating to the four vaccines currently being used in Ireland, i.e., the AstraZeneca and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines used cell lines derived from abortions in their development and BioNTech and Moderna vaccines used them in some lab testing. The author quite rightly points out that we have a duty to point out our displeasure, but if we do not object very strongly then is it likely that pharmaceutical companies will do any different?
Dr Diarmaid O’hAimhirgín
Terryland, Co. Galway