Dear Editor, The news that the Religious Sisters of Charity refuse to say whether or not they are acting in line with Church law in giving away Church property (IC 13/12/2018) is staggering.
The sisters’ refusal to answer your utterly reasonable questions – refusal to say whether they have considered canon law or sought permission to give away Church property – strongly suggests they have done neither and are attempting to give away something they have no right in Church law to dispose of!
That they responded to your questions by trotting out an old statement to the effect that 15 years ago they legally transferred their ownership to a healthcare group they themselves own, and are now giving up ownership of, doesn’t even try to address whether they have a right to do such things. This arrogant refusal to comment can be read only as an insult to the only Catholic newspaper worth the name on this island, and to the ordinary Catholics of this country.
The abuse crisis happened in large part because priests and bishops treated canon law with contempt, making excuses for other clergy, giving them second and third and fourth chances heedless of the prices that ordinary Catholic children and families would have to pay, rather than enforcing the laws the Church developed to protect ordinary people.
We might call this clericalism, but now we see a group of religious sisters similarly setting themselves above the laws of the Church and the ordinary people of God, giving Church property to people who would deprive the most vulnerable of all of their very lives, and refusing even to explain themselves.
It’s disgusting to see today’s sisters so shame the memory of their founder, Mother Mary Aikenhead. I hope Archbishop Martin can have Rome make them see sense.
Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.
Human rights were divinely mandated
Dear Editor, David Quinn’s piece about human rights being based on a Christian foundation is spot on (IC 13/12/18). Many philosophers and political theorists, like Kant or Hobbes, have attempted to developed comprehensive philosophical social and moral systems, but they all have their setbacks. Most famously is John Rawl’s original position where we are asked as rational beings to select the principles that will determine the basic structure of society that we live in. This choice is made behind a “veil of ignorance” so there’s no partisan politics or interests at play.
The Rawlsian thought-project is a marvellous attempt of creating a wholly non-transcendental morality but it still fails magnificently. It doesn’t really preclude the problem of masochists who relish in destruction, nor does it properly address the fact that no one can agree on moral principles without already having a moral bias. His hypothetical experiment will always remain just that – hypothetical, it can’t actually be implemented in any pragmatic way. The failure of his project is indicative of all manmade projects trying to create a moral system. Only with the recognition that human rights are divinely mandated, can we begin talking about moral systems.
Prayers for sisters wouldn’t go amiss
Dear Editor, I was shocked to hear that two American nuns stole half-a-million dollars to gamble in Las Vegas last week. I didn’t believe it at first as it sounded more like a storyline from Father Ted rather than a real-life event. Stories like these should all teach us that no matter how holy we may seem on the outside to others, we are all capable of sin. These sisters have probably dedicated their entire lives to God and in one quick swoop that have undercut all the principles they have stood for. While they do need to be punished for what they did, I think a prayer for them wouldn’t go amiss.
God moves in mysterious ways
Dear Editor, My interest was sparked this week after your reading your front page story about parishioners needing to go the extra mile in reaching out to family and friends who are no longer practicing the Faith (IC 13/12/18).
So often we feel hopeless when a son, daughter, spouse or friend no longer expresses a love of the Church and its teaching, but although this hard to deal with, we shouldn’t respond by giving up on them. I know it a cliché to say, but God really does work in mysterious ways, and as the book of Isaiah attests about God’s providence: “Your ways are not my ways.” The movement towards to the Faith is not a natural occurrence, but a supernatural one, so while we may feel like are attempts of evangelising are futile, we can be certain that God is guiding us and the lapsed in a way that optimises salvation. Bishop Phonsie Cullinan said we mustn’t forget to pray for our fallen-away peers, because miracle really do happen. I have many friends who have, over the years, converted to Catholicism from other religions and no religion at all. Our God is a God that never gives up on his people, and likewise, we should also never give up on ours.
Dundrum, Dublin 16.
Spiritual environment should take priority
Dear Editor, Reading the article on climate change (IC 6/12/2018) and how every parish should get involved, the faithful are entitled to ask why there is so much emphasis on climate change, and the environment, which have undergone change since the beginning of the world, and no thought to the spiritual environment, which is of considerably more importance, and a lot more catastrophic, especially in Ireland today.
Crumlin, Dublin 12.