Rules made to be broken

Rules made to be broken

Dear Editor, Pope Francis’ convalidation of the marriage of two flight attendants while he was in Chile has drawn predictable ire online, with paid and amateur commentators alike shouting down the Pope for somehow ‘cheapening’ the Sacrament of Marriage. It’s early days yet, but it seems likely that a similar reaction will meet Bishop Brendan Leahy’s proposal that the Church consider changing its rules about where weddings can take place.

Supposedly it somehow denigrates marriage if it is celebrated other than in a church, and for the Pope to open up the possibility of marriages happening elsewhere pulls the rug out from under those who are trying to support what so often seems a beleaguered institution.

Perhaps this is so, but opponents of such proposals should consider how it has only been since the Council of Trent in the 16th Century that the Church required marriages to be celebrated in churches and with witnesses – including priests! Before then all that was needed for a sacramental marriage to be valid was for a man and a woman to commit freely to marry each other, and for this to be consummated.

Arguably, this arrangement – shifted on pragmatic grounds to the dismay of a sizable number of the bishops and all the cardinals at Trent – was more in line with both Scripture and Tradition than the rules the Council introduced.

Yours etc.,

Gabriel Kelly,

Drogheda, Co. Louth.


Deputy Martin has taken his own road

Dear Editor, I was very surprised and taken aback to hear Micheál Martin publicly tell the nation the way that he intends to cast his vote in the proposed Referendum. I am wondering why he decided to do so in Dáil Éireann before the date has been announced. He gave his viewers the understanding that he agonised and thought deeply about voting to take away the basic right of others as the election slogan is ‘Pro Life – Pro-choice’ I regard it as a misnomer, why? What choice is offered to the little child?

As leader of the soldiers of destiny ‘Fianna Fáil’ whose foundation  motto is ‘De chun gloire Dé agus Onora na hEireann – For the glory of God and the honour of Ireland’, I believe he has gone a different route to former Taoisigh of his party, surprised many members and ignored the duty of the nation to cherish all the children of the nation equally.

In my view I believe that what he did and where he said it was untimely and unnecessary. “Be not the first  by whom the new is tried, nor yet the last  to lay the old aside.”

Yours etc.,

Fr Patrick Marron,

Fintona, Co. Tyrone.


 this a
 bubble or civilised

Dear Editor, Anyone looking in from the outside at Dáil Éireann devoting three days this week to debating whether or when it may be right, justifiable and acceptable to kill a baby and deprive an innocent human being of the right to life, must wonder if we in Ireland live in a bubble or in a civilised society. Whither human rights? Whither equal rights for all? Whither our so-called ‘compassionate society’?

Yours etc.,

Mary Brien,

Castletroy, Limerick.


Part of Dolores’ wonderful legacy has been omitted

Dear Editor, Dolores O’Riordan’s recent sudden, tragic death, devastating for her children, family, community and all who loved her and her music, shocked people worldwide. Her music, vibrant life, words and sad death got wall-to-wall media coverage in all aspects – except for one glaring omission, which doesn’t fit the current group-think on how abortion impacts women.

Interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine in 1995, Dolores spoke about the effects of abortion on women, saying: “It’s not good for women to go through the procedure [abortion] and have something living sucked out of their bodies.  It belittles women.  Even though some women say, ‘Oh, I don’t mind to have one,’ every time a woman has an abortion, it just crushes her self-esteem smaller and smaller and smaller.”

O’Riordan’s observations about abortion are in line with studies that show women often suffer after abortion including depression, anxiety and even risk of suicide.

Those advocating abortion who consider themselves feminists often tell women that abortion is empowering; however, Dolores O’Riordan’s comment that abortion “belittles women” is more on the mark. The fact that 50% of aborted babies are female, is also conveniently ignored by abortion advocates.

Dolores’ tragic death generated huge Irish media scrutiny of all aspects of her work, life and words. But her pro-life, pro-woman words are airbrushed out of the narrative.  This omission, tells us all we need to know and highlights the need for the people of Ireland to recognise that they aren’t always hearing the full story.  Before any decisions are made on removing Ireland’s life-saving Eighth Amendment, the people deserve to hear the truth about abortion and its negative impact on women lives.

Yours etc.,

Oliver Maher,

Harolds Cross,

Dublin 6.


Exorcism is nothing to be embarrassed about

Dear Editor, It is really about time that the Catholic Church in Ireland looked anew at the issue of exorcism and exorcists. In our increasingly materialistic culture such things are a source of embarrassment to many, including many clergy, but without a supernatural foundational our Faith makes no sense.

It is important to take into account the scientific explanations of alleged cases of demonic influence but generally the Catholic Church has been quite rigorous in this regard. The problem today is that more than a few priests and bishops seem reluctant to emphasise such traditional beliefs and practices in the face of secular scorn.

Yours etc.,

Michael Sherlock,


Limerick City.


Mass-goers in short supply

Dear Editor, In the editor’s comment of 11/01/18, a European survey is cited that found 36% of Irish adults attend Church services at least once a week. Frankly, I find this hard to believe.

A random head count in my parish last year found that a total of 392 people attended the three Sunday masses. That’s no more than a small percentage of parishioners. A similar situation exists in the neighbouring parish.

In the past two years, four 30-something couples moved into my avenue. All are lapsed.

Yours etc.,

Michael Galvin,


Dublin 5.


The host in the hand…

Dear Editor, Whenever there is a threat from infectious disease, the sign of peace at Mass is usually highlighted as a high-risk practise that should be discontinued, along with Communion from the chalice. Communion on the tongue is actually a higher risk factor, given that it is not unknown for the communicant’s saliva to be transferred to my fingers despite my best efforts to avoid it, and I have no way of cleaning my fingers.

Would it not be appropriate at high-risk times to ask those who regularly receive on the tongue to take communion in the hand, at least for the duration of the risk time?

Yours etc.,

Fr Brendan McConvery CSsR,


Co. Down.


Is canon law now optional?

Dear Editor, The front page of your newspaper last week was scandalous. I am deeply distressed to see the Holy Father and His Excellency Bishop Leahy undermine the Sacrament of Marriage even further. The marriage that took place on the airplane was most likely a stunt that was arranged in advance and breaches canon law in several ways. I guess canon law is just optional for the modernist. Life is very difficult for us faithful Catholics who are trying to raise children in this secular world. We wish our shepherds would defend Catholic truth. Lord, give us back our ancient fervour.

Yours etc.,

Lee Walsh,

Dunmore East,

Co. Waterford.