Time to re-focus on teaching religion

Time to re-focus on teaching religion

Dear Editor, Fr John Harris penned an excellent article highlighting issues that need to be addressed by the Catholic leadership in Ireland (IC 16/01/2020), the importance of preaching to those “Catholics” in the pews who have yet to really listen to the Gospel and convert to Christ.

And the additional lesson from the life of St John Henry Newman that ought to be highly prized by the Catholic Church in Ireland, is the realisation that so much depends upon a deep and personal appropriation of the faith by every member of the Church. And, shouldn’t this be set out in positive Biblical terms, within the parameters set down by Our Lord himself, i.e. sacred tradition, sacred scripture, and the authentic Magisterium (not the personal interpretation of this scriptural scholar or that particular theologian)?

Are we not summoned to make the scriptural and Magisterial teaching our own, through study and prayer, as encouraged by the Catechism of the Catholic? (Obviously, the first conversion we must strive for is our own, through the grace of God.)

But where are the structures within the parishes to facilitate and support this process? In so far as I have experienced, they do not exist, but we are continually tapped for money for various charitable organisations as if we were just another NGO.

Much of what I learned about my Catholic Faith I learned from institutions outside the Island of Ireland, and what I have found (in ‘Catholic’ circles in Ireland) reminds me of the words of the Jewish historian Lionel Trilling that “when the dogmatic principle in religion is slighted, religion goes along for a while on generalised emotion and ethical intention – ‘morality touched by emotion’ but it soon loses “the force of its impulse and even the essence of its being”.

Yours etc.,

David Walshe,

Malahide, Dublin 13.


Election is an opportunity for the 33.6% to speak

Dear Editor, There are 723,632 reasons why the abortion referendum of May 25, 2018 and its aftermath should be an issue on the doorsteps of the forthcoming General Election.

The 33.6% (723,632 voters) who voted to retain the Eighth Amendment appear to have been airbrushed off the media agenda. The group think of the mainstream media is welcomed by the politicians who participated in the removal of the right to life or stood idly by, silenced by the diktats of their party leaders.

Let us recall the silence and rejection that greeted the many reasonable amendments proposed in the wake of the removal of the Eighth Amendment. The pro-life cause has been badly served by most of our politicians, both south and more recently, north of the border.

Now is the opportunity for us the electorate with our sizeable pro-life numbers to re-elect those politicians who stood by us and the unborn 21 months ago.

Yours etc.,

Frank Burke,

Terenure, Dublin 6.


Why theconcernover apossiblecommemoration?

Dear Editor, I was somewhat surprised to note that the headline front page article in your edition (IC 09/01/2020) focused on the planned Government commemoration for the RIC and DMP. The issue is indeed contentious but I fail to see why this subject should be of such importance for a newspaper concerned with matters relevant to Catholics in Ireland.

It is worth remembering that very many members of both forces were Catholics and many suffered violent deaths in a very turbulent period in our history. I am only too conscious that many terrible deeds were carried out by members of these forces, but after 100 years we badly need to also focus on the Christian imperative to practice love and forgiveness if we are to go forward as a nation.

Yours etc.,

Des Kennedy,

Sligo town, Co. Sligo.


The sense of xenophobia in election is palpable

Dear Editor, I cannot be alone in discerning that there is a decided undertone of racism, or at the very least xenophobia, in the general election campaign. There is an increasing tendency to refer to ‘foreigners’ and ‘immigrants’ very much in the destructive language of othering.

The Catholic Church recognised only one race: the human race. Further, the relativisation of national identity is of the essence of Catholicism and Catholics should think very seriously before attaching themselves to narrow nationalistic causes that appear to set one nation against another nation.

I hope that in the coming general election, racism and xenophobia will not get any traction. Catholics have a responsibility to speak out on behalf of the vulnerable and marginalised – and this include people who are maligned by ultra-nationalist forces who may claim to be merely against the horrible direct provision system, but really have an agenda that is hostile towards people not born in Ireland.

In St Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus reminds his followers that they will be judged not on the depth of their piety, but on how they treat people who are in need.

This should be the yardstick for all of us and we should vote according to who will look after the most vulnerable in our society – including the unborn. Catholics should give a wide berth to parties and individual candidates who want to exploit immigrants for the failure of the political establishment in relation to healthcare and housing.

Yours etc.,

John Barry,


Dublin 3.


Benedict XV 
and his World 
War I plea

Dear Editor, I note with regret and some astonishment that in his article (IC 09/01/2020) entitled ‘Setting the Record Straight on the Great War’, David Quinn omitted to discuss whether it was pleasing to the will of God and the teaching of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It is worth remembering that from his election on September 3, 1914, when the war was only a few weeks old, Pope Benedict XV called repeatedly for the war to come to an end. He was not interested in the arguments which the allied and central powers both used to justify the war. For him the conflict was simply unjustifiable because of the horrific extent of the killing from the very beginning.

He constantly called for a negotiated settlement and saw the leaders of the nations as accountable for what was happening.

A year into the war Pope Benedict XV wrote this message to them: “In the holy name of God, in the name of our heavenly Father and Lord, by the precious Blood of Jesus, the price of man’s redemption, we adjure you, whom Divine Providence has placed in authority over the nations now at war, to put a final end to this horrible butchery which has been disgracing Europe for a whole year.

“It is the blood of brothers that is being poured out on land and sea. The most beautiful regions of Europe, the garden of the world, are strewn with corpses and with ruins. Where but a short time ago there flourished the industry of manufacturers and the fruitful labours of the fields, the guns now thunder fearfully and in their destructive fury they spare neither village or city, but spread havoc and death everywhere.

“You bear the dread responsibility of peace and war in the sight of God and man; listen to the voice of a father, who is the Vicar of the Eternal and Supreme Judge, to whom you will have to give an account of your public undertakings as well as your private action.”

Yours etc.,

Máire Mhic Fhearghusa,


Dublin 12.


Fine Gael, how dare you!

Dear Editor, I was dismayed and angered to see Fine Gael politicians canvassing outside my parish church on Sunday after Mass. Politicians whose principals and values are opposed to Church teaching. Maybe we should insist on exclusions zones outside our churches to avoid being harassed by people begging for our votes.

To express my strong feelings may I borrow a quote from Greta Thunberg: “How dare you!”

Yours etc.,

Anne McGrath,