Dear Editor, Covid-19 has become part of many of the themes associated with Catholic teaching in recent months. This ‘collateral damage’ of biblical proportions has sent shockwaves through society as we know it. I need not reference the impacts at this moment in time, as these are well known and quite frankly many people are tired of being reminded of what has happened since the outbreak.
Pope Francis and many trustworthy Catholic sources have been quite vocal on the connection between the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak on society, particularly in the spiritual, moral and theological realms.
They have suggested that the lockdown could recalibrate man’s perspective on the more serious problems, offering him an alternative approach to the world rather than one of indifference. The Holy Father urged people not to be so distracted by the lockdown measures that they forget the faces of real suffering, including hungry children and forced migrants fleeing famine and war.
Much can be said of the individualism that fuels this indifference that the Holy Father has sought to address. It is the very same individualism that has fuelled advocacy in favour of abortion
This individualism, which is rooted in various atheist philosophies, is something that is completely incompatible with Catholic thought. Church teaching is imbued with a more personalist, communitarian worldview. Each and every person has intrinsic dignity and worth, since we are all made in the image of God Himself. We can reach our full potential as human persons within communities – from the family, to the office, to the village and to the global community as a whole.
Covid-19 undoubtedly gave us food for thought, but it hasn’t changed the characteristics in man’s outlook all that much. The ‘recovery’ is built on the same basis that drove many of the problems in our society that we as Catholics passionately reject. As Catholics, we believe in promoting the dignity of the person and the sanctity of life and we also know that looking out for others is a prerequisite for this. I personally would like to call on the Holy Father to begin working on a new encyclical as soon as possible.
Kerry Pike, Co. Cork.
Religious oaths needless in legal system
Dear Editor, Recently there’s been considerable debate about taking religious oaths out of the legal system and replacing them with a truth statement. One factor in favour of this comes from Jesus’ teaching in Matt 5:34-37: “But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool… All you need say is ‘Yes’ if you mean yes, ‘No’ if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”
This teaching from Jesus is all the more important given that our modern age doesn’t really appreciate the spiritual gravity of committing perjury: calling on the God of all holiness and truth to witness to a lie.
Kenmare, Co Kerry.
US Democrats are ‘seriously sinful’
Dear Editor, The headline on Breda O’Brien’s article on the American election [IC 20/08/20] ‘American Catholics are faced with a terrible choice in the election’ is utter nonsense. The Democrats promote abortion, they do not speak out about the restrictions on freedom of religion around the world, especially in China.
Democrats do not condemn persecution of Christians and other religions. Democrats cannot even use the word ‘Christian’, they prefer the term ‘Easter worshippers’. For a Catholic to vote Democrat is to condone the Democrats anti-life, anti-religious policies. This is surely seriously sinful. In comparison, Donald Trump’s sins are venial.
Waterford City, Co. Waterford.
‘No way’ Catholics can vote for Biden
Dear Editor, That was a very misleading heading on Breda O’Brien’s article on the American election (IC 20/08/2020] ‘American Catholics are faced with a terrible choice in the election’. Regarding the policies of Joe Biden that she outlines, no Catholic is free in conscience to vote for him. Her criticism of President Trump is rather harsh.
No one is claiming he is perfect but it is important to emphasise his actions to date rather than some of his comments. After all, actions always speak louder than words. Mrs O’Brien referred to Mr Biden approving of violating the consciences of the Little Sisters of the Poor (and he has confirmed that he will continue doing so if elected president). On the other hand, President Trump has come to their rescue, as he had promised he would. He has also made strenuous efforts to stop funding to International Planned Parenthood but is continually thwarted at every turn by the Democrats.
He is not only ‘publicly pro-life’ but in doing so is supporting women who are damaged by abortion and many more baby girls are aborted than boys. He has also passed legislation supporting religious freedom, not only in the US but is trying to do so worldwide.
We cannot forget either that he actually acknowledges Christmas and has been known to refer to God and to prayer – something sadly lacking in our own country.
So, I see no way that a Catholic can consider voting for Joe Biden and, if they do, they are complicit in all the abortions carried out in America. If President Trump is not elected there is no way that any lessening of abortion worldwide can be achieved. Serious thought and prayer is needed to halt the slaughter of the innocents when every country is coming under great pressure to promote abortion.
Ardeskin, Co Donegal.
Good to be cautious with canonisation
Dear Editor, There has always been a fascination with the process of canonisation, the culmination of a lengthy and exhaustive process of investigation of the credentials of candidates for recognition as saints. The description of this process in the Letter from Rome by Junno Arocho Esteves in The Irish Catholic [IC 30/07/2020] is timely, particularly in the context of the great increase in the number of canonisations since the papacy of Pope John Paul II.
That must have put the process under greater pressure and Junno Arocho Esteves has drawn attention to several cases which were shelved on the basis of accusations, inappropriate writings or suspicions of sexual abuse.
In this regard Cardinal Becciu of the Congregation for Saint’s causes has stressed that every sainthood cause is taken seriously.
There is also a reference to the cause of St Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei. This is stated to have involved the testimony of persons not in the same congregation, which is correct procedure.
I believe however that many people wondered about the adequacy of that process, mainly on the basis of St Josemaria Escriva’s position as the head of an organisation, some of whose members participated actively in the political sphere in General Franco’s Spain.
Cardinal Becciu has said that there is always room for improvement in the process and his suggestion that there might be a longer waiting period before the opening of a cause seems eminently sensible, particularly when his office is under ongoing pressure to assess substantial numbers of cases.
‘All authority has been given to Christ’
Dear Editor, Frank Brown’s apologia on Islam is correct only up to a point [IC 20/08/2020]. The Muslim prayer life, especially fasting puts Catholics to shame, who wouldn’t even bless themselves for fear of causing offence!
Equally Islamic medical and scientific scholarship were a highlight of the Middle Ages. However, since all authority has been given to Christ (Matt 28:17-20), there the comparison ends! Let us not forget that one of the first acts of Pope Francis, in 2013, was to canonise 800 citizens of the town of Otranto, Italy who endured martyrdom rather than apostasy at the hands of Islamic invaders in 1480.
Faced by such a choice, I wonder if Mr Browne would have the courage to do likewise? May the Holy Martyrs of Otranto intercede for us!
Fr John McCallion,