UCC abortion study is ‘stark wake-up call’

UCC abortion study is ‘stark wake-up call’

Dear Editor, Yes; it is right that we should examine how children in mother and baby homes were treated and how their adoptions were arranged in the past century. But each generation has to face up to its own responsibilities!

A recent study conducted by researchers at University College Cork has been published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It features interviews with doctors who carry out abortions under Ireland’s new laws. It makes for very difficult reading. This study, with its disturbing words and images, is a stark wake-up call.

The upcoming review of our abortion laws needs to urgently address many issues including the following:

– The provision of appropriate pain relief for the foetus.

– The curtailment of feticide in late-term abortions.

– The clarification of the rights of babies born alive after failed abortions.

Following this publication, we cannot say that we were unaware of what was happening in our maternity hospitals. The provision of ‘abortion services’ is not a compassionate response to women in crisis pregnancies.

Yours etc.,

Eamon Fitzpatrick,



Calling all sinners home

Dear Editor, The headlines ‘God cannot bless sin’ re: same sex unions is unfortunate and goes against the main spiritual theme of the joy of outcasts and sinners who are now included in the incoming reign and Kingdom of God the merciful Father.

St Paul tells us that God loves us when we were still sinners. St John says Jesus comes to call sinners not the virtuous. The Gospels say we should not judge.

If everybody were allowed the freedom to form a conscience we would live in a more truly Christian world.

Yours etc.,

Philip John Griffin

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16


What is more noble and what is more petty?

Dear Editor, Let me be upfront and clearly state I also wish to be physically present and participate at Mass on a regular basis.

There has been a lot of letters and online comment published in The Irish Catholic regarding attending Mass in this time of pandemic. Many have commented very favourably upon the cleanliness of churches and the safety within those churches. This unfortunately misses the fact that as human beings people socialise together and in Ireland too many stretch the rules. This has been seen in graveyards, gatherings outside churches after funeral Masses, First Communions and Confirmations. Physical distancing seems to be ignored, not just reduced to one metre or even a half of one metre. All of these events are conflating the social and religious aspects.

Yes the social aspects of life are important and cannot be divorced from the religious aspects for those of faith. However, a lot of the rituals around the time of Easter have little to do with the Tridium and a lot to do with commerce and social interaction. The Fifth Commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’ applies in the context of pandemic when to lift restrictions too soon leads to a foreseen and rapid increase in case numbers and deaths.

Perhaps we should consider the words of Fr Rolheiser, in his article ‘An invitation to something higher’ [IC 04/03/2021]: “Saints don’t think so much in terms of what’s sinful and what isn’t. Rather they ask, what is the more loving thing to do here? What’s more noble of soul and what’s more petty?”

Let us practice our faith during this pandemic and use the opportunity to explore how we live individually and how we wish to live as a parish community after the pandemic. Returning to what was normal is not a very attractive option.

Yours etc.,

John Murphy

Celbridge, Co. Kildare

Magisterium has consistently rejected the ordination of women

Dear Sir, In his review of Fr John O’Brien’s Women’s Ordination in the Catholic Church [IC 18/02/2021] Peter Costello writes that in Rome the ordination of women is “usually seen as a matter settled by the long tradition of the Church”.

Mr Costello’s way of summarising the position might lead an uninformed reader to believe that he is merely reporting on private opinion in the curia. On the contrary, the magisterium has consistently rejected the ordination of women to the priesthood in the clearest possible terms. If Mr Costello doubts this he should consult St John Paul II’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994 ). In that document the late Pope stated that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful”. What he wrote has been repeated by both his successors; and what they believe is consistent with the teaching and practice of all their predecessors.

I have yet to read Fr O’Brien’s recently published work but I am familiar with the literature on the ordination of women, both in favour and against. That familiarity inclines me to agree with the late Msgr Graham Leonard, the sometime Church of England bishop of London who became a Catholic and was ordained to the priesthood after his reception. He once said that he had “heard many arguments in favour of women’s ordination, but not yet a good one”.

The assertion that the case against the ordination of women “is a matter of Canon law rather than doctrine” is baffling when Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and a large body of theological literature on the subject are recalled. Mr Costello cites no examples of “the emergent epigraphic evidence from the first three centuries” which he claims supports Fr O’Brien’s case but one wonders if this “evidence” comes into the same category as the supposed evidence in favour of women priests from catacomb paintings from the 3rd Century which is discussed and dismissed in the late Geoffrey Kirk’s ‘Without Precedent: Scripture, Tradition and the Ordination of Women’ (2016).

Yours etc.,

C.D.C. Armstrong

Belfast, Co. Antrim

Policies not piety are the issue with President Biden

Dear Editor, Massimo Faggioli in Jason Osborne’s account [IC 04/03/2021] mistakenly regards the election in modern times of two members of the Catholic Church to the US presidency as a significant achievement. This latter despite the traditional antipathy of the US Protestant majority towards Catholicism. Mr Faggioli misses what is really significant.

Kennedy, speaking in Houston in September 1960 assured non-Catholics that Catholicism would not get in the way of policy. Mr Faggioli seems unaware that in contemporary US culture, Biden’s membership of the Catholic Church is anything but significant, especially given his anti-Catholic policies. His candidacy emerged when Catholicism in the Anglo-European-American world is often regarded as decomposing.

Indeed, traditional Protestants and Evangelicals, Orthodox and Conservative Jews, Muslims, Mormons, and even secular citizens have expressed concerns similar to those of some Catholics at being ridden over roughshod by these anti-Catholic policies, including the new Equality Act. His policies, not his piety, were the significant issue in Biden’s election.

Mr Faggioli also misses the essence of the US Catholic Bishops Conference response to the election. They anticipate the negative impact of Biden’s anti-Catholic policies on Catholic practice. They offer cooperation in areas wherein they can. But, acting as America’s good servants, but God’s first, they also fulfilled their duty to “preach the Word in-season and out-of-season”. They have already begun answering the question “what is truth” should he ever ask it.