Dear Editor, On March 22, we learned of the very sad death of the first Covid-19 victim in our country; a lady in the east of Ireland, who was vulnerable due to an underlying medical condition, we were told. Since then, we have followed the statistics; the rise and fall in death rates, the genders of victims, the mean and the median age, county by county breakdowns of confirmed cases and deaths, if they had underlying medical conditions, etc.
‘We are in this together’ we are reminded repeatedly, since the gov.ie campaign was launched a month later. Collective responsibility, not individual choice, is the message being impressed upon us all. The world is united in the common fight against this dreadful virus, as the stats pour in from far flung places and are analysed and compared.
So too is the world united in outrage at the brutal killing of George Floyd and the battle for justice is at the top of the social justice agenda.
The statistics are readily available nationally for deaths caused by all sorts of illnesses, road accidents, work related deaths, suicides, homicides, drownings, etc., but not so for abortion, which is freely and widely available in the Republic for 16 months now. How perplexing. These vulnerable human beings have died at the hands of many of the same medics, doctors, healthcare workers who are currently desperately fighting to save the lives of others.
While all sorts of businesses and commercial enterprises are slowly reopening, we are also told that Ireland ranks in 16th place within the European Union, when it comes to being permitted to return to religious services/places of worship of all faiths.
The mind boggles. It seems that not everybody is ‘in this together’ after all.
Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim.
Will future generations condemn abortion?
Dear Editor, The current generation of English people condemn their ancestors for condoning the practice of slavery in the founding of the British Empire.
Will future generations condemn this generation for condoning the practice of procured abortion in the struggle for ‘human rights’?
Fr Oliver Skelly,
Turn virtual Mass-watchers into physical Mass-goers
Dear Editor, Although it’s likely that many people watching online Mass since the coronavirus pandemic reared its ugly head were already going to Mass, I’m sure there are many that have tuned in at this time of uncertainty and fear. Religion is a comfort to people in the darkest times and even though there are many lapsed Catholics in Ireland, their dormant Faith will have been reignited.
We were already on a path of virtual reality becoming many young people in particular’s actual reality, we need to make sure that this doesn’t push more people into the online world, away from communities and real-life human contact (albeit at a two-metre distance!).
For this reason I found your column [IC 04/06/2020] very interesting. You ask the question: “What of those who are not regular attendees, but have been taking comfort and solace from participating online? They are now part of our virtual community, how do we incorporate them in to the physical community?”
You say that we need to be proactive, easier said then done, but I agree this is a valuable opportunity to invite people into our parish communities. Rather than the result of this pandemic being another nail in the coffin of the Church in Ireland which is increasingly coming under attack from secularists, why shouldn’t it be a time of renewal?
This is an opportunity that can’t be wasted, let’s make the days before June 29, when our churches will reopen for Mass, a time of celebration and happiness. Let’s show people the joy of receiving Communion, of coming together as a parish community and even though it will be different, let’s tell people what they are missing.
Ballyfermot, Co. Dublin.
Tackling racism with respect and dignity
Dear Editor, The issue of racism has been put to the fore after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in the US and I have to say I’m quite glad that it has caused a heightened awareness of racism in Ireland.
It was great to see Bishop Brendan Leahy speaking about it in a recent homily [IC 11/06/2020], in which he says racism and sectarianism destroys the fabric of communities. This can not be overstated.
There has been a lot of criticism of the riots and looting in the US which are a biproduct of the protests that have been happening across the country. There can be no defence for this disgraceful behaviour. However, what people fail to understand is that although these crimes of looting, rioting and general violence are reprehensible and send the wrong message, this is happening due to the growing disquiet and anger due to the systemic racism in the US. Racism tears communities apart. Why does it have to come to this before it’s taken seriously?
Ireland is not in the same position as the US, but racism does exist, we must never let it tear our communities apart, we must treat all with respect and dignity, as is the Christian way.
Parishes need all the help they can get reopening
Dear Editor, In order for parishes to rally together to get churches back open they’ll need a lot of assistance. It was refreshing to see on your front page [IC 11/06/2020] that there are important figures within the GAA who are open to helping churches be prepared for Mass returning.
The difficulty is not all parishes have a close connection with their local GAA club. Those who do I have no doubt will be supported by enthusiastic young people who are fit and capable of cleaning and putting up signs in their local church so it is up to standard and able to follow the bishops’ guidelines published last week.
This would probably be wishful thinking for others, who may be disconnected from youth groups or clubs for one reason or another.
I think parishes should reach out to local schools and youth groups and ask for help if they need it, to make sure their church or churches are ready for public worship once more by June 29, there could be nothing more disappointing if a church couldn’t bring itself up to code before this date and continued to remain closed for public worship. As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
Praise for two former Taoisigh
Dear Editor, As much as some of our former Taoisigh inspire controversy and even disgust in many of us, I have to say I must commend John Bruton and Bertie Ahern for speaking out in support of reopening churches [IC 04/06/2020]. Politics is divisive and there will always be staunch disagreements and rows but aside from the politics, what these two politicians have done is not something our current Taoiseach would do: a man who generally speaks in platitudes that are nice soundbites but come across as insincere.
The majority of our current political leaders are either apathetic or openly vitriolic to the Church and have no interest in catering to the spiritual needs of Christians in Ireland.
To have these two well-known people who led our country in the past speak out like this is welcome but also a memory of what this country has lost, respect for the divine, for religion and for those of us who have a deep faith.