Dear Editor, I was pleased to see that you will – please God – again start bringing pilgrims to the Holy Land in 2021. My husband and I were part of the trip three years ago and it had a very moving impact on our Faith and helped us appreciate the scriptures in a new way.
I have been thinking a lot about those ‘living stones’ – the Christian families we met in Bethlehem. We heard and know how much they rely on the pilgrims coming for their livelihoods. It was sad to hear from the mayor recently that 800 families have been left without any income. He said that 67 hotels, 230 souvenir shops, 127 restaurants and 250 handcraft workshops have been forced to close in a city that is economically dependent on pilgrims.
They need our spiritual and practical help now more than ever. Thank you for the work The Irish Catholic does in highlighting the needs of the Christians in the Holy Land. What a depressing thought it would be to think of the land of Jesus with no Christians.
Inchicore, Dublin 8
Ellen Coyne needs Catholicism 101 lesson
Dear Editor, you were rather kind to Ellen Coyne in your review of her book on rediscovering Catholicism [IC 03/12/2020]. If Ms Coyne believes that voting for abortion is the most Catholic thing that she has ever done, I suggest a short course in Catholicism 101 would be in order.
Cobh, Co. Cork
We should not fixate solely on abortion
Dear Editor, During the general election all of the candidates in my constituency had liberal views on abortion except two. I looked these up and found that one was a member of a party with neo-Nazi sympathies, the other an Independent who claims that women are inferior to men. In conscience I could not support either of these individuals. Therefore I abstained. As a woman who realises how hard my sex fought for the right to vote I found this difficult.
I have noticed that many people who express pro-life views base their opinion of politicians and others solely on their stance on abortion. This I have come to believe is dangerous. Would Adolph Hitler have been acceptable if he were anti-abortion? Donald Trump was not overly concerned about the children on the Mexican border or the people who attended his rallies where no Covid safety measures were observed, yet he is more acceptable than Joe Biden because he is supposedly pro-life.
If I were living in the North of this country the only party I should, in conscience, as a Catholic vote for are the DUP, a group of people whose former leader Ian Paisley whipped up crowds to so much hatred at rallies that listeners were inspired to go out and murder Catholics. Ian Paisley viewed the Pope as the antichrist but agreed with him on abortion. It is surely a strange contradiction in terms when Big Ian could accept the ‘antichrist’ as long as his views on abortion were sound.
If we are not careful we will lose sight of the needs of the people who are born and become so totally fixated on the abortion issue that we will end up paralysed. This was my feeling at the time of the election here.
Glasnevin, Co. Dublin
Welcome statement from the Irish bishops on the new coronavirus vaccine
Dear Editor, I was heartened to see the clear and emphatic statement from the bishops highlighting the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine. There is a lot of misinformation that must be countered – some of it coming from people who are trying to convince us that they are more Catholic than the bishops are.
There are legitimate questions that have arisen that human foetal cell-lines, which have their origins in abortions carried out in the past, are used in the development and production of some of the vaccines for covid-19. The bishops point out that if a more ethically acceptable alternative is not readily available to them, it is morally permissible for Catholics to accept a vaccine which involves the use of foetal cell-lines, especially if the potential risk to life or health is significant, as in the case of a pandemic.
It is irresponsible and gravely sinful for people to suggest otherwise. Anyone encouraging people not to take this vaccine is acting in a reckless fashion. I’ll be first in the queue.
Newry, Co. Down
Parishes have shown huge strength during 2020
Dear Editor, Parishes across Ireland have shown huge fortitude and dedication throughout a year many of us want to quickly forget. Congratulations are due to so many parish priests and parishioners who have gone above and beyond to make sure churches were safe and even when we went into a second lockdown, they took it on the chin and were raring to go when the restrictions were lifted. There has been so much negative commentary online and in the media and although this is not uncommon, the sheer magnitude of the pessimism and nastiness this year was at a whole other level. This was no doubt because of the restrictions that impacted all of us, and some drastically more than others. We should go into 2021 with hearts full of hope and positivity to counteract the dreadfulness of 2020, people desperately need that.
The one constant solace that is there for us who have faith is God, and without that perpetual presence I would have never have got through 2020.
Cork City, Co. Cork
Bridging the gap and helping the lost find Christ
Dear Editor, Bishop Paul Dempsey is correct when he says the Government do not take Church organisations seriously [IC 03/12/2020], they are a dreadfully untapped resource. Unfortunately nowadays most politicians don’t want to be seen publicly supporting or cooperating with local parishes because of the vehemence they would provoke from those who believe in a complete separation of Church and State and are all too ready to lead a charge against anyone who steps outside their narrow idea of what is acceptable, and what is perhaps, as they would see it, working with the enemy.
It’s those kinds of people who would know nothing about the Church’s good works and instead maintain a biased and negative view. If they just took a walk down to their local church and spoke to a priest or an engaged parishioner – perhaps dragging their eyes away from social media – maybe they would change their minds instead of living in a bubble.
Speaking of living in a bubble, Bishop Dempsey says the Church can become caught up with internal affairs rather than looking outward: I totally agree, in many cases there is an obvious failure by many to engage with society as a whole. This is integral to spreading the word of Christ and inspiring people particularly in these dark times. In so many communities the local parish is certainly the “glue that holds communities together” as Bishop Dempsey says, but in so many other places they can be a wasteland with no vibrance or influence. There are many reasons for this, in some ways it is because of the large-scale cultural shift in the western world. But I also believe it’s because of the scandals of the past which led the Church to become more inward looking, which serves no one. Let us bridge the gap and help those who are lost find Christ.
Tralee, Co. Kerry
AI future sounds like ‘stuff of nightmares’
Dear Editor, David Quinn’s article about artificial intelligence is truly terrifying [IC 24/12/2020]. The idea that computers will eventually become more intelligent and start ordering us around is the stuff of nightmares.
If that is indeed how things pan out, I for one will be screaming “stop the world and let me off”.
Omagh, Co. Tyrone