Dear Editor, I would like to commend Maria Steen on an excellent article [IC 28/05/2020] on why we should not outsource the moral formation of our children. As a corollary to that article, I thought it might be opportune to succinctly summarise the Church’s beautiful theology of the body.
This theology teaches that the sexual act between a man and a woman is the highest form of interpersonal relationship and as such should mirror the essence of our creator, in whose image we are made.
God in himself is characterised by an indivisible unity, and in his activity by the begetting of the Son by the Father, and the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son.
For humans to realise their dignity and fulfil their destiny, the sex act should be between a man and a woman, sacramentally married and open to new life. Anything else short changes the call to greatness in the heart of the person.
For those of us who find this ideal difficult to live up to, we can take consolation in St Thomas Aquinas’ dictum that sexual sins are the sins God finds it easiest to forgive. Or, as St Paul puts it, all have fallen short of the glory of God because all have sinned.
Castleknock, Co. Dublin.
Toxic clericalism has emerged once more
Dear Editor, As we reach 10 weeks without any public Masses it seems clear that no member of Government or public official think there is any value to the Holy Mass beyond the fellowship felt by gathering together and this must be forsaken for the sake of public health. Apparently, they do not believe in the Grace of the Sacraments. Our bishops seem to fall into two categories, those who might share the opinion of the secular authorities and those who do not feel they can contradict or criticise these colleagues.
While a few priests soldier on doing what they can the old toxic clericalism has emerged from the likes of the ACP where priests are scolding the laity who dare desire the sacraments and priests who try to accommodate the laity are publicly criticised. It would seem that talk about Vatican II and the laity really only counts when it synchronises with the ACP opinion. When this is over, I hope the laity gravitate to the priests, and parishes (and collection baskets) who did not forget their vocation.
Liam Ó Foghlú,
Kilcornan, Co. Limerick.
Time to ‘shout out’ and cherish all life
Dear Editor, I agree with Sean and Monica Hassett’s call [IC 28/05/2020] for the right to life to be respected and restored and it’s time for the silence on this issue to end. It is shocking to think that it is two years since abortion was legalised here with the prediction that it would result in up to 10,000 babies being killed annually to begin with, and few voices are being raised in protest at what is happening in our country. Could we not have a ‘Year for Life’ with suitable reparation for the taking of these innocent lives? If not, we are allowing ourselves to be complicit in this great tragedy. It’s certainly time to shout out that we will be silent no more as we strive to cherish all lives.
Ardeskin, Co. Donegal.
Chaplains must ensure virus victims are getting Last Rites
Dear Editor, Perhaps the most distressing feature of Covid-19 is the fact that virus victims are dying alone in hospital wards with apparently only frontline medical and nursing personnel suitably protected with PPE in attendance.
It is not clear whether priest chaplains are regarded as frontline hospital staff and are being provided with personal protective equipment to enable them safely to minister to the spiritual needs of the dying. Belief in supernatural life after death is a core belief of Catholics. Consequently, being anointed and receiving the last rites of the Church during one’s final illness is the wish of most Catholics and the desire of the family of a dying person who has a strong belief in an eternal afterlife. Yet this is often not possible if priest chaplains are not being issued with PPE and being permitted to enter Covid-19 wards.
It would be hugely reassuring if priest chaplains in hospital could confirm that they have access to PPE and attend upon request all patients, including those stricken with the virus. It would be dreadful if the legacy of this pandemic was to be the loss in hospitals of awareness and importance of the spiritual dimension of death which for a Christian believer in an afterlife is all important. Let’s hope that does not happen.
Documenting coronavirus’s cost to families
Dear Editor, Two years ago, I wrote imploring both State and Church to commemorate the centenary of the worldwide 50,000,000 Spanish flu deaths. Little happened and a major opportunity to learn the lessons of history was lost.
Today as I reflect upon the fact that, in the first wave of that pandemic, three of my father’s siblings died of Spanish Flu. I have a clearer first hand appreciation of how my grandparents must have felt and what was going on around them especially as my own son was hospitalised this time round. Back then, caught up in their personal tragedy, like bereaved families all around them, they did not have the luxury of recording how quickly it all happened and how they felt. Of the few reminders we have of the impact on our family are the memorial cards for the children. Despite exhaustive enquiries we have not found where the children were buried.
With all of this in mind we have decided to record the impact of the present fast-moving coronavirus on our family, including children and grandchildren. I hope that other parents and grandparents will do likewise and so ensure that this time round lessons are not forgotten.
Please God as Church and State this time round we will remember them!
Killarney, Co. Kerry.