Dear Editor, This is a sad time for older supporters of the SDLP with the passing of Pat Hume, just over a year after the death of her husband and Nobel Laureate John.
That more or less concludes the era of the more successful SDLP with John’s votes continually maintaining a healthy lead over Sinn Féin in the North. Much was at stake then – in the period between 1969 and 2005 – and there is less at stake since that time.
Voting these days seems to be about raising the flag, a lie nailed by John, but never pushed as hard by the party these days. Necessity doesn’t require it.
John Hume’s SDLP stood tall with Christ in many ways and relied on a savvy electorate who had read the Gospels and listened to what God was saying.
I cannot say that about Sinn Féin and it is sad that the Catholic Church, going through a not unrelated difficult period, didn’t hound Sinn Féin about it in any meaningful way. I’m sure there is a story there to be told, and the Church has more difficult times ahead.
But John and Pat Hume will hopefully find eternal peace, a just reward for their perseverance at a time when their opponents shamed this country.
Derry City, Derry
More exorcists are needed in Ireland
Dear Editor, The interview with exorcist Msgr Stephen Rossetti published in a recent edition of the paper [IC 02/09/2021] was striking and worrying. Msgr Rossetti has basically warned that as Christianity continues to decline people are more at risk from demonic forces, as the Faith is your first defence. This is something that many clergy in Ireland never really address. The forces of evil, which work against Christ and do everything in their power to alienate people from his Church, are very real but seem to be something many priests and bishops never speak about for fear of embarrassment. My argument would be, although they may receive ridicule, this is too important an issue to be left by the wayside. Msgr Rossetti says that more and more people are coming to him who have got mixed up in occult practices – opening up doors to serious evil – do we know how many people in Ireland are practicing withcraft, using ouija boards, engaging in reiki and more? More exorcists and priests trained in deliverance ministry are needed right now and in the years to come.
Portlaoise, Co. Laois
More should be expected from sex education
Dear Editor, In your paper [IC 02/09/2020], both David Quinn and Helen Vysotska advance the idea that more should be expected from “sex education” than consent.
But they do not follow this up to its logical conclusion.
Sexual activity does indeed require much more than an agreement to a pleasant activity between two persons. It involves a third party, whose consent is not, and cannot be sought.
Sexual activity has its purpose in the creation, and the imposition, of life on a third party.
In return then, this creates a reciprocal obligation on both adults (male and female) to support, as far as is possible and necessary, the third party that they have brought into being.
It is something of a hypocrisy, then, that the Government should be promoting the idea that sexual activity is a relatively harmless one, subject only to “consent” (whatever that may mean, but excluding that of the third party). At the same time, they are willing to fund the destruction of the living results of this same activity.
Blackrock, Co Dublin.
The first school is the school of prayer
Dear Editor, Mr Stephen Kelly who took me to task in your Letters pages [IC 26/08/2021] might be surprised to learn that I partially agree with him. A return to the ancient Roman Rite alone will not stop the decline in the Church. However, he misread my letter if he thinks I said that it would. Mr Kelly says what we need is more education. I might point out that before the Second Vatican Council only 30% of Irish people went beyond primary education, it’s over three times that number today, in mostly Catholic schools. Now, since education is not the enemy of faith, we can only conclude it’s the quality of the religious education, not the quantity that’s the problem.
The decline in belief and Mass attendance is actually traced to the late 1980s and early 1990s (European Values Study) and not the 1970s as Mr Kelly believes. This might suggest a connection between the new (Vatican II) religious education programs introduced in the 1970s and the decline. They failed to pass on something.
Mr Kelly’s belief that we had a ‘largely uneducated clergy’ would come as a surprise to the priests and bishops who spent six or more years studying in Maynooth, Clonliffe or the many religious houses in Ireland. As for the mention of the uneducated laity ‘chewing toffee’, this is somewhat patronising to the generations of Irish Catholics who suffered severe hardship to hear Mass on hillsides and barns and eventually built fine churches with many a widow’s mite. They did actual building from ashes with a love of the ancient Mass and their priests who suffered with them. To suggest that only “well educated” (whatever that means) can rebuild is to ignore history and to ignore that the first school is the school of prayer.
Kilcornan, Co. Limerick
The fact is we are at war with the real enemy
Dear editor, Chai Brady’s excellent interview with Mgsr Rossetti [IC 02/09/2021] is a clarion call to reality to whom the real enemy is and will always be. The fact is that we are at war and until we reengage with this truth then things will continue to spiral downwards. While the late ‘celeb’ couple who have popularised paranormal investigation, Lorraine and Ed Warren, have caused a certain amount of scepticism, they did in the following quotation offer a subsequent summation of the state of play regarding these realities: “Diabolical forces are formidable and are eternal and do exist. The fairy tale is true: the Devil exists; God exists and for us as a people our very destiny hinges upon which we elect to follow…”
Military instruction’s fundamental premise is: Know your enemy! Until this reality is embraced and a lesser elevation of ‘green issues’ to a quasi eighth sacrament is adopted then things will become more profoundly bleak. It’s eternal life, not the environment that is more important; Mr. Brady’s article has offered a useful reference point to re-focus our attention.
Fr John McCallion
Clonoe, Co. Tyrone