Dear Editor, Further to your articles on the nascent Citizens’ Assembly on education [IC 09/07/2020], it is necessary to cast a cold eye on the spectre of a universal secular educational model. The argument for such a model is founded on the shifting sands of the secular viewpoint being the ‘neutral’ one.
As the philosopher Gadamer pointed out, there is no such thing as the view from nowhere, you can only look at something with all your own prejudices and the baggage encumbering you. To be unaware of your biases is to be imprisoned by them.
The secular paradigm has inherent limitations which make it a wholly unsuitable regime for parents wishing to raise their children as Christians.
Take the vital area of sex education. The sex drive is so strong and primordial that to teach about it without any moral constraints will inexorably lead to hedonism, even if such behaviour is not explicitly taught or implicitly aimed at. Such unbridled licentiousness is destructive of the individual, the family and wider society. It is a strange destination, arrived at due to the blind belief in the superiority of one particular worldview.
There are many other flaws in the secular approach, which I submit, render it wholly undeserving of its putative position as the gold standard for education.
Castleknock, Co. Dublin.
Laity’s role must not be found in priest shortages
Dear Editor, On reading your edition [IC 23/07/2020] I could not help contrasting your lead article “Vatican warns bishops to consult laity on reform” and an article in the same issue by a clerical contributor in which he refers to “my parish pastoral Council”, I immediately thought of Vatican II, its promise to the laity and its role in the context of the Church’s mission of ‘reaching out’.
Somehow the complexity of the core Christian mission of reaching out, which entails the awakening of the “dormant giant”, i.e. the laity, jumped out at me from your said issue. The Church’s evangelical mission of ‘reaching out’ has so very far to go and appears to have travelled so very little, in comparison, in 2000 years.
We as Catholics are a Church of sinners and our Catholicity, by definition, is universal and all-embracing, reflecting the bits and pieces of our everyday lives. However, to avoid relativism in the very essence of our mission we collectively must seek to ensure that there is a receptiveness in the broader Church to the central Christian mission of reaching out and to the words and directions, as to that mission, of our pontifical treasure in the person of Pope Francis.
However, there can be no such receptivity without structure and there can be no such structure without a recognition from the Vatican of the inherent human and cultural difficulties, and indeed obstacles, to reforming our Church in order to expedite its mission of reaching out. While the Pope warns that parishes and churches must not be closed due to shortage of priests or financial difficulties, doesn’t this warning also warn us that the role of the laity must not find its genesis in the shortage of priests or in the Church’s financial difficulties, as such genesis can only be found in our Baptism. Our inclusive participation as Church must emanate from our Baptism so that our church may experience a new springtime.
John Lupton Snr,
Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.
‘Disappointed’ with comments about parish councils
Dear Editor, I was very disappointed with the comments of Fr Bernard Cotter [Notebook, IC 23/07/2020] regarding his parish pastoral council. Pastoral councils are volunteers who give of their time freely with the aim of helping in any way they can. There is very little formal training and also not much support from the diocese – at least that has been my experience in the Dublin diocese. The parish priest is also a member of the pastoral council.
So, if the council is of little use to the parish, part of the blame lies also with the parish priest. It seems unfair to publicly say that it is a good thing the council disappeared since lockdown (Fr Cotter’s words, not mine).
I wish Fr Cotter well in the search for new recruits for his parish council.
Navan Road, Co. Dublin.
Supporting President Trump on abortion stance
Dear Editor, Christopher White in his Letter from America [IC 23/07/2020] claims that “in failing to challenge Donald Trump on his moral inconsistencies, Catholics have also failed their Church”. I don’t think there is anyone more against the death penalty than I am and I write to a prisoner on death row in the US, but, the greatest moral evil is abortion and, as Mother Teresa described it, ‘the greatest destroyer of peace in the world’.
Over 60 million babies have been aborted there since Roe vs Wade and it is of the utmost urgency that Catholics in America be left in no doubt that voting for the Democratic Party is voting for abortion. That party has made it abundantly clear that it has no difficulty with abortion and will allow no restrictions to be put on it.
On the other hand, President Trump has proved, by his actions, that he is against abortion with his efforts to curtail its funding, especially that of Planned Parenthood, but he has been thwarted at every turn by the Democrats.
He has also stood up for religious freedom, which is a most important issue now with the worldwide persecution of Christians and this has been totally ignored by our own Government, while the British Government has spoken out on the issue.
An interesting question for the Democratic Party is how they can be so hypocritical in claiming to be Catholic while they are out and out supporters of abortion.
I hope and pray that he [President Trump] is re-elected and, if so, then we can try to ensure that both abortion and the death penalty are abolished but for now he must be supported for his stance on abortion.
Ardeskin, Co. Donegal.
Politicians with care for life that ends with unborn
Dear Editor, Mary Kenny’s highlighting of the perceived abilities of European female political leadership, with particular referencing to the current ‘saint’ of the media, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand [IC 23/07/2020], is problematic.
Quite frankly, not one of those names which she offered are noted for their pro-life credentials; indeed they are ideologically opposed to the unborn having any rights at all. I would love to be corrected, but if any male or female politician stood up on a pro-life platform in order to gain a governmental health post, they would be saying goodbye to their careers. No one must question the dark sacrament which is abortion, and to do so is heretical in today’s political speak!
We’ve all been taken in with the ‘empathy’ and ‘Madonna’-like attitude of Jacinda Ardern, but such care ends with the unborn, for whom she has never voted to support nor to protect. Her track record as with the vast majority of Western politicians is noted for the hash repetitive legal assaults upon the most vulnerable of the womb!
Fr John McCallion CC,
Clonoe, Co. Tyrone.