Dear Editor, Michael Kelly’s call for ‘a more robust approach’ to the Government [IC 22/04/2021] regarding the criminalising of Church services is certainly welcome. As all diplomatic approaches have been ignored, I think one solution could be for the bishops to tell their priests to no longer close the church doors while Mass is going on and allow those who wish to attend do so. It’s very strange that legal challenges to this closure of churches during worship is constantly postponed. Is it in the hope that the closure can be extended until such time as the Government considers it should? It’s well time for the people to make it clear that they will no longer accept this denial of their right to attend Mass and I find it hard to believe that there has been so little criticism of the Government’s action. Surely it is time to stand up and be counted regarding the practise of our faith?
I was horrified to read in The Irish Catholic [IC 22/04/2021] our President’s remarks on Catholic schools and especially his lack of knowledge of what it actually entails. Catholic schools have always accepted those of other religions and none and the teaching of the Church has always been to foster love and acceptance, not hatred. Hopefully, the President will be asked to explain and to apologise for his insulting remarks.
Ardeskin, Donegal Town
Is the Government anti-religious?
Dear Editor Micheál Martin has declared that the Government is not anti-religious! He has also stated that every citizen has a fundamental right to practise his/her religion but same may be ‘restricted’ in favour of
the ‘common good’.
However what he failed to attest, either through ignorance but more likely deliberately, was that when the ‘common good’ is introduced into the equation ‘proportionality’ is key to determine the legitimacy of such a restriction.
Considering the sheer size and height especially in the largest churches, limited and physically spaced out congregations, supervision, mask wearing etc. the treatment meted out to those who wish to practise their faith is so obviously not proportionate but is contemptible!
A once off gesture could have been made for Easter Sunday if not indoors, outdoors in parks, car parks, cemeteries even as is the case every year. People would have accepted drive in masses but Mr Martin and his Government would not yield an inch.
Did they serve the common good or was it proportionate? Is the Government anti-religious?
Clontarf, Dublin 3
Fostering Mass-going at home undermined by clergy
Dear Editor, It gives me no pleasure to agree with your observation that “when Mass ‘went online’ – as the phrase goes – we should have consistently underlined the heaviness of heart around the decision and the fact that it is a very poor substitute” [IC 22/04/2021].
I am afraid that the rush to cocoon by many of our priests who are in rude health was a huge dereliction of duty. I have spent almost 20 years fighting a battle with my grown-up children about the importance of going to Mass.
I have now had to run the white flag up the proverbial pole. I just never imagined that my efforts would be so spectacularly undermined by our religious leaders.
My only dilemma now is whether the priority for my prayer should be said grown-up children, or the priests who fled and abandoned the flock at our time of greatest need.
God help us.
Windy Arbour, Dublin 14
Editor’s Note: I think in fairness to our priests, many are extremely unhappy at the continued ban on Mass. Many of those who cocooned did so on Government advice due to age and declining health. The innovation shown by parishes in moving online has been nothing short of miraculous. That being said, it is indeed a poor substitute for being present at Mass.
Fair City not fair on Confession
Dear Editor A confessional scene on an episode of RTÉ soap Fair City has been lampooned by a priest from North Kerry. Parish priest Fr Kevin McNamara, became aggrieved with a scene depicting one of the show’s main characters invoking the seal of Confession to tell a priest that he is the father of her child.
Actors Tina Kellegher who plays the character Ger and Phelim Drew son of The Dubliners singer the late Ronnie Drew who plays Fr Liam Plunkett, seen wearing a stole [a liturgical vestment derived from the Latin word stola], are drinking and smoking in the Church scene. On Newstalk Breakfast Fr Kevin McNamara, insisted it was: “totally disrespectful and inaccurate” to connect it in with the seal of Confession.
“To come in on Sunday night and to see the blatant, casual and disrespectful way the confession was treated – taking place in a church with alcohol, cigarettes and a stole being put on, I felt it just couldn’t be more hurtful or blatant to the Catholic tradition.” The priest “strongly objects” to the part of the scene where Ger “gets aggressive and starts questioning” Fr Liam Plunket. Fr McNamara denounced reports he urged Catholics to stop paying their TV licence fees over the Fair City episode, insisting he was misquoted in the paper. There is something iconic pertaining to the seal of the Confession that has an intensity about confessing and forgiveness of sins. Heretofore RTÉ apologised profusely for any offence that may have been caused by the broadcast of a comedy sketch which depicted God being arrested for rape.
Time has come for another apology.
Kilnamanagh, Dublin 24
Church should apply for State grants for outdoor Mass
Dear Editor, The Government is giving grants to pubs and other entertainment places to make their premises and outdoor surroundings/gardens suitable for social distancing, fresh air and protection from bad weather.
They’re even speaking of having portaloos in Dublin City. Will someone please apply on behalf of our Church and us Mass-goers for a grant to protect us from rain by providing overhead cover so we can have Mass outdoors. A great number of people would rather go to Mass than to the pub. We desperately need our church services resumed. Please help.
Kiltubrid, Co. Leitrim