Dear Editor, It was wonderful to read your front page [IC 28/05/2020] which describes how the bishops have produced an 88-point draft plan to bring the sacramental life of the Church back to the faithful. There have been so many people being negative, letting fear and blind obedience cloud their judgement rather than being productive.
I must say, the bishops have knocked it out of the park with this document. I think it’s very easy to constantly berate and belittle Ireland’s hierarchy from the side lines, which many people inside and outside the Church do on a daily basis – with some of our own clergy being the most vehement disparagers.
The coronavirus pandemic has made everything more complicated and will no doubt change the way we have done things as Church for the foreseeable future. I find it difficult to envisage receiving Communion from a priest behind a big screen, it just all seems so odd, but necessary of course.
There is certainly some wishful thinking when it comes to actually implementing a lot of what’s in the draft documents, with so few people engaging in parish life it seems an insurmountable task. However, there’s no point despairing and immediately dubbing it impossible, that is not our way. We must work towards reopening our churches and access to sacraments, although many churches may not open for several more months due to their inability to make their building safe, I am sure many more can open for private prayer and for Mass and will receive the help they need through blood, sweat and tears.
This is not a time to be lethargic, it’s a time for energy and renewal, when the faithful in the future look back at this time of pandemic, let them be inspired by how we responded with courage and determination.
Plans for restoring First Holy Communions
Dear Editor, Why don’t the churches arrange to have a small group of say 10 children make their First Holy Confirmation together which would allow for social distancing and give the children that much valued communal experience. Have two or three sessions every day, not just weekends.
Priests over 70 could be allowed officiate and I’m sure retired priests and priests not attached to parishes would be more than willing to help out. The danger is no greater now than it will be on July 20. Many parents will have put themselves into considerable debt to make sure their children were suitably attired and if left too long they will have grown out of their clothes.
No need for parties or bouncy castles!
Glasnevin, Co. Dublin.
NHS fighting Covid-19 is pro-life
Dear Editor, Fr McCallion has expressed a concern [IC 14/05/2020], shared I have no doubt by many readers, about the role of the NHS in the provision of abortion services in Northern Ireland. In the current circumstances I suggest however that the work of the NHS might be seen in a broader perspective.
The Covid-19 virus has the particular characteristic that it targets people in the older age groups disproportionately; effects on younger people can be quite mild.
The reaction of the health services in Ireland and Britain to the spread of the virus has resulted in severe damage to the economy and people’s livelihoods, which will take some time to be repaired. The motivation for this is to limit as much as possible the extent of mortality arising from the spread of the virus.
In this context the actions of the NHS in fighting the spread of the Covid-19 virus might be seen as an expression of a pro-life approach.
Clontarf, Co. Dublin.
Baroness’s criticism of ACP ‘much needed’
Dear Editor, The Association of Catholic Priests seems very much out of touch with reality when they criticise people calling for a quicker return to Mass, any priest or lay person I speak to want this to happen (as long as it’s done safely, of course). Do they really represent a majority of priests on this island? I find this quite hard to believe.
Baroness Nuala O’Loan, in her usual eloquent style, rightly held them to account in a much needed and rather stinging rebuttal [IC 28/05/2020].
Their statement, which implied that it was individuals and groups with a vested interest pushing a return to public Mass, was deeply offensive. Just because I want a return to public Mass sooner than July 20 doesn’t mean I don’t care about people who are particularly vulnerable to this terrible virus, I want the return to Mass to be safe and it can certainly be done before the Government roadmap suggests. Calling myself or any other Catholic ‘self-serving’ or ‘self-interested’ for expressing this view is absurd, it reads more like a message from an atheist group rather than an association of priests.
Shame on them.
Tallaght, Co. Dublin.
Brazil’s pandemic situation is truly shocking
Dear Editor, I read with concern an article published in a recent edition [IC 28/05/2020] about the president of Brazil’s response to the coronavirus.
The Irish Spiritan Fr Brendan Foley highlighted the shocking situation in some of the poorest parts of São Paulo which are being hard hit.
There has been so much coverage of President Donald Trump’s response to the virus in the US but I have heard little about the situation in Brazil, which was reported as being the second hardest hit country in the world. Why aren’t Irish media paying more attention and giving more coverage to what’s happening there?
Surely the people of Brazil, who are apparently suffering under a person who appears to have little interest in the poor, deserve better than silence or indifference.