Dear Editor, I was not surprised by the announcement that Cardinal George Pell’s conviction of sexual abuse of minors in the 1990s was quashed by the Australian Supreme Court. Fr Brendan Purcell, who spoke to your paper about it [IC 09/04/2020], hit the nail on the head when he criticised the “disaster” of a judicial system in Victoria that led to the shameful conviction of Cardinal Pell.
The media, he cites, also played a huge role in influencing public opinion. Journalists have a huge responsibility and in Australia they absolutely failed in their important role of informing the public, instead they seemed to be trying to whip up a mob.
They were very successful as Cardinal Pell was already seen as a divisive figure because he unashamedly stood up for Christian moral teaching in a hostile environment.
It wasn’t too long before there were crowds baying for the prelate’s imprisonment. While I’m glad that justice has finally been done, and he can now walk free, the damage to his reputation can never be fixed, he is most certainly a ‘marked man’.
In all this we can’t forget the person who originally made the allegations, we must pray for them also, as they were brought through this gruelling court process that in the end would lead nowhere and despite this they may truly believe that what they said happened to them really did happen.
There are no winners in cases such as these.
Coronavirus won’t rob people of a good death
Dear Editor, The Vatican have issued a beautiful document about indulgences and Confession in response to the present pandemic.
Cardinal Piacenza calls the new Decree “a mantle of mercy in an hour of crisis”. It is dated March 19 and is available on the Vatican website. A real effort is being made to ensure that no person should die alone without the opportunity of making peace with God at least in his/her heart.
Subject to the local bishop: the rules regarding individual confession can be adapted to the emergency situation and the conditions necessary for obtaining a Plenary Indulgence are greatly relaxed for those suffering from the coronavirus, together with health-care workers and family members. This week a grieving relative said on national radio that the coronavirus is “robbing people of the gift of a good death”.
This document however should prevent such robbery and bring peace to many troubled hearts at this difficult time.
Strandhill Road, Co. Sligo.
Priests still need financial support
Dear Editor, Easter Sunday is one of the two or three major days for fulfilling our Catholic duty of providing financial support for our clergy. Irish diocesan priests receive an average €25,000 annual salary, which comes in the main from Easter and Christmas collections.
With churches closed this will prove problematic this year (IC 09/03/2020). I trust that fellow Catholics will not forget our obligation to our priests this Easter.
Hopefully lay led diocesan and parish finance committees will monitor this situation and do whatever is necessary that none of our massively overworked priests are further burdened by financial worries or find themselves having to borrow money for their daily living expenses.
Killarney, Co. Kerry.
How many more deaths does the UK want?
Dear Editor, We are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic that has already claimed many lives.
Yet, in the midst of this crisis, the UK used the occasion to foist draconian abortion legislation onto Northern Ireland that permits the killing of Northern Irish babies up to birth.
The UK has already aborted over nine million of its own people.
How many more deaths do they want?
Dr Owen Gallagher,
Glenavy, Co. Antrim.
A special time for both Jews and Christians
Dear Editor, The Passover is regarded as the main Jewish festival and this year it began on April 9, running for seven days.
At its essence it is about the relationship between God and his people and how they experienced divine intervention and protection, most notably being spared the Angel of Death as it swept through Egypt killing every firstborn child and even animals after Pharoah refused to let the Hebrews go.
The instruction was to daub blood from an unblemished lamb on the lintel and doorposts of their homes thus when the Destroyer ‘passed over’ the Israelites would escape the fate of the Egyptians, who had just previously tried to kill the firstborn Jewish babies.
The Israelites remained within their homes until all danger had passed. In the end the stubborn Pharoah lets the people of Israel go. There are similarities with this classic story from the Bible and events today with the ‘plague’ of coronavirus and so many people having to stay in their homes until the danger has passed. We know in the end the final outcome was one of overcoming and redemption.
The Last Supper of Jesus commemorated at this time of year was that same Passover meal that featured the unleavened bread and wine and the telling of God’s redemption from slavery through the shedding of the blood of the Passover lamb. The New Testament says, “Christ our ‘Passover’ was shed for us, therefore let us keep the Feast (of Passover)” which the early Jewish Christians did to remember His death on this date. This was later changed to a day of the week rather than the actual date and so the two no longer link up.
We can be mindful of these things this Passover, with both Jews and Christians in their homes while their places of worship remain closed. There is enough rich symbolism to satisfy both faiths.
It may even bring some understanding between them as they both recall redemption and deliverance.
Cardinal Pell was tried by court of popular opinion
Dear Editor, Like many practicing Catholics I was saddened to hear at the time of the accusations against Cardinal George Pell [IC 09/04/2020]. But the more I read about the evidence and articles of support by those who knew him and the circumstances regarding the allegations, the more I felt Cardinal Pell was really being tried by the court of popular public opinion. This case highlights for me the importance of all of us, arguing the point that being angry at past Church failures does not justify tarring all clerics with the same brush.