Dear Editor, With the repercussions of the Covid-19 virus and the growing number of destructive antisocial disorders occurring regularly throughout the world it is probably timely for people who feel there is something not right about our society to reconsider and re-evaluate the benefits of religion and participation in church services as a more fulfilling and contented way of living.
Religion can give some people a better sense of purpose and meaning in life with greater inner comfort from building values like honesty, integrity, compassion, love, empathy, respect and harmony with others. People who do not acknowledge God can also experience a fulfilled and contented life that they believe ends when they die as they do not accept the existence of an afterlife.
Scientists have found that those who have religious beliefs tend to be more content than those who don’t. Some scientists believe that religion can be an effective vaccine against the virus of discontent and unhappiness.
The key to religious credence is faith. Faith is a strong belief in the doctrines of a religion based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. Years ago faith was handed down from one family to another. Nowadays, things are different and in many homes religion is not relevant anymore. It is not discussed or practised by families.
This brings me back to the proposition that it is timely, particularly for people who are suffering in these strange times to reconsider the benefits of religious practice and faith requiring a belief and trust in God as a more fulfilling and contented way of living. It could be the basis for an open and candid discussion around the family table. This is easier said than done in a more non-religious, pragmatic, and secular world but is nonetheless worth reflecting on.
Tramore, Co. Waterford
Putting things back in order
Dear Editor, As one who would love to have Mass back in all our churches, I think there would need to be a few things put in order. First of all confession needs to be offered by all priests, it is not proper for people to be going to Holy Communion, without first going to confession. Second, you would think you were in a concert hall, as soon as Mass is finished, the loud talking and laughing that takes place is very disrespectful. People need to exit quietly, and chat outside.
‘Clearly the Government is in violation of Constitution’
Dear Editor, May I add my voice to all those calling for churches to be open for safe socially distanced public worship. I understand that independent TDs plan to raise this issue in the Dáil in the coming weeks and urge all churchgoers to lobby their TDs on this matter. They should point out to them that Article 44(2.1) of the Irish Constitution states clearly and unambiguously that free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order (not public health) and morality, guaranteed to every citizen. Article 44 (5) states “Every religious denomination shall have the right to manage its own affairs”. Clearly the Government in publicly calling for their closure is in violation of its Constitution.
The Government plans to ease level 5 restrictions on Easter Monday April 5, one day after the biggest Christian feast of the year. The death and resurrection of Christ is commemorated by Christians of all denominations. Holy Week and Easter ceremonies will be publicly held in churches everywhere except in this part of Ireland where for the second year running the Government plans to keep churches closed to the people. Yet no case of covid has, to date, been traced to a church service. The ‘buzz’ word currently is ‘trends’. If the trend for case numbers is downward and the vaccinations trend is upwards, the Government argues it will be safe to ease restrictions on April 5. Trends do not happen overnight. A steady decrease/increase represents a trend. If trends are sufficiently favourable to warrant ending level 5 on Easter Monday those favourable trends will be well established by the previous Monday March 29 and before to allow churches to open and hold safe, socially distanced Holy Week and Easter ceremonies for limited congregations without risk to anyone.
President Biden should not receive Communion
Dear Editor, I refer to Jason Osborne’s interview with Professor Massimo Faggioli on President Biden [IC 04/03/2021].
The essential issue is the president’s reception of Holy Communion whilst, stridently and unashamedly, promoting abortion.
As Pope Benedict recently noted, President Biden is an “observant Catholic”. However, not all observant Catholics, for example those in irregular unions, receive the Holy Eucharist at Mass – nor should they.
All Catholics should receive Holy Communion only if we are in the state of grace. The Word of God makes this clear (I Corinthians 11:27-29).
To promote the evil of abortion is manifest grave sin. The American president also advocates for other ideological positions that are contrary to the Faith.
For him to receive Holy Communion in this condition is spiritually harmful for him and it gives grave scandal to Catholics all over the world.
Even worse, that certain cardinals, bishops and priests encourage and permit him to receive, is unprecedented in the history of the Church. These churchmen are undermining the Church’s teaching and making a mockery of the Church’s witness.
Our discipleship of Jesus Christ makes demands upon us and requires from us an unequivocal and uncompromising witness to certain truths and values.
Given President Biden’s chosen public stance on crucial moral issues, his reception of Holy Communion is injurious to the Faith. It sends out a signal that it is “fine” for Catholics to hold such views. It sows utter confusion.
He is welcome at Mass along with everyone else but he should have the spiritual honesty and integrity not to present himself to receive Holy Communion. Indeed, it is the duty of bishops and priests not to administer it to him while he persists in promoting abortion.
Certainly, as Professor Faggioli encourages, let us pray for President Biden.
Fr Patrick McCafferty PP,
Please open our churches for Holy Week
Dear Editor, We are in the season of Lent and Easter is fast-approaching. Many, if not most Irish people, have found the last year of the pandemic quite challenging on many fronts. It has been tough for so many people and a huge challenge for everyone all over the world. For those of us who cherish our Catholic Faith, the inability to access the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of the Eucharist, for so many months has been particularly difficult.
As the most important week in the Christian Church calendar is nigh, many of us deeply desire to be able to participate in the Easter ceremonies in person this year. Online is just not quite the same. I would ask both our Church and political leaders that for those who wish to participate in, (and are able to), that our places of worship be open for the ceremonies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. All the safety measures would be in place, as they were before, and our churches were so safe as a result.
Last year we weren’t able to participate and it would be a great sorrow for so many people if we were not able to again this year. Please open our churches especially in time for Holy week. God is essential. Thank you.