Dear Editor, It was hugely interesting to read in this week’s paper that numbers are up at both Lough Derg and Knock, especially in light of Archbishop Fisichella’s view that shrines can play a key role in the re-evangelisation of Christianity’s old heartlands in Europe and America (IC 22/8/2019).
One might wonder too whether walking pilgrimages could be made effective tools for this too – despite the phenomenal modern popularity of the Camino de Santiago, seemingly barely one in 12 people who do the Camino attend Mass even once while walking to the tomb of St James, and there’s surely scope for the Church to do something to reclaim this most venerable of pilgrimages. Similarly, of course, the various pilgrim paths that have popped up in Ireland over recent years are natural pathways for evangelism, as without this they risk becoming mere walking holidays or gimmicky hikes.
Certainly, Archbishop Fisichella is surely right when he says that evangelisation cannot be limited to parishes. In Dublin, for instance, where some parishes have barely 2% attendance, if that, it looks as though the parish model is in its death throes: claims by Archbishop Martin that some parishes are more vibrant than ever don’t seem to be borne out by attendance or vocations numbers anywhere.
Some city centre churches, however, do seem to be impressive centres of faith and Christian outreach despite not being parish churches, and it could be that these specialised mission-focused churches might offer useful models for our future Church.
It’s worth remembering, after all, that Ireland’s real golden age of Faith was a time when monasteries and hermits led the way forward, with parishes basically not existing. And shrines, holy wells, places of pilgrimage and religious orders played a far bigger role in sustaining the Faith in Ireland’s penal times than did our suppressed parishes.
Drogheda, Co. Louth.
Meaning of words caught up in the web
Dear Editor, Marion Murphy’s criticism (Letters, IC 15/8/2019) of a recent Web Watch focused on misleading reporting by the LifeSiteNews website, but seems to have missed why your columnist described the site as “egregious”.
‘Egregious’ simply means ‘outstandingly bad’, and your columnist’s review of a typical story is certainly an example of outstandingly bad journalism, attributing significance where there was none, getting basic facts wrong, and most crucially feeding into an ongoing anti-papal narrative that has been a defining feature of LifeSiteNews in recent years.
Yes, Mrs Murphy is absolutely right to say that LifeSiteNews covers topics of real interest to Catholics, but this doesn’t change the fact that the site is consistently misleading in how it covers these topics. In particular, it has been consistently misleading in its coverage of material relating to the Pope to a degree where it is hard to believe that this isn’t deliberate.
This goes far beyond getting things wrong “from time to time” such that it is hard to see why traditionally-minded Catholics, as I imagine almost all readers of The Irish Catholic are, would see anything admirable in the site. Again, nobody’s disputing that LifeSiteNews covers important material; the problem is that it too often covers it in ways that are anything but accurate, informed, measured, or fair.
Tallaght, Dublin 24.
Our students could do with hearing about Thomas
Dear Editor, It was wonderful to read Fr Conor McDonough’s article about St Thomas Aquinas and the Aquinas Summer School. When I was in school I never once heard about St Thomas, and basically grew up thinking that religion was just a matter of opinions, feelings, and being nice to people. It never occurred to me that it could also be a matter of thinking – thinking deeply – and that one of the greatest saints the Church has was also one of the greatest, wisest, smartest thinkers the world has ever known.
Yes, it’s possible to get trapped in stultified ways of thinking if we idolise St Thomas, but this is the same for anything, and understood properly St Thomas frees us to think clearly and well. Somebody once said of the English Dominican Herbert McCabe that he was too deeply committed to St Thomas’s way of thinking to call himself a Thomist, and there’s something to that.
In short, it’s great to hear from Fr McDonough that among young thinking Catholics nowadays there is a real curiosity about and enthusiasm for the thought of his marvellous forerunner in the Dominican order. We’d do well to promote this in our Catholic schools, especially at secondary level, where our children might be surprised to learn the profundity and history of the Church’s commitment to thought.
Churches aren’t platforms for pro-abortionists
Dear Editor, It’s reported that “Minister Josepha Madigan who ran Fine Gael campaign to repeal the Eighth and pave the way for abortion here, said the first thing she did when given this role (by Taoiseach Varadkar) was to attend a Taizé prayers meeting in her local church” (IC 1/8/2019)
Perhaps Mrs Madigan, Mr Varadkar and other Fine Gael anti-Eighth, pro-abortion campaigners would now tell us our current abortion death toll, which they led us into? How many human aborted dead now, post-Eighth? Why the deafening abortion silence now?
If you vote pro-abortion politicians into power, you get pro-abortion law, and increasing abortion dead, as we now see and have, despite the current official and hypocritical silence.
Pro-abortion politicians should not be using our churches, altars, communities, or Dáil as platforms to boost their public vote-getting profile, as they espouse other humans’ abortion death on demand.
Perhaps they should instead write the current abortion death rate across their trendy, black Repeal jerseys, as they led the pro-abortion anniversary celebrations at Dublin Castle?
If you vote pro-abortion politicians into power, you share their resultant abortion killing guilt. Now, the aborted dead they gave us, grows, cloaked in their silence. Now they demand the same abortion killing for the North. Everyone okay with that?
Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6W.