We ignore threats to Catholic schools’ ethos ‘at our peril’

We ignore threats to Catholic schools’ ethos ‘at our peril’

Dear Editor, Thank you to Jason Osborne on his timely front-page article ‘Catholic parents voice anger at exclusion from school talks’ [IC 18/02/2021].

In a recent written answer to Sean Canney TD, Education Minister Norma Foley revealed that her civil servants are working with the National Parents Council Post Primary to amalgamate it with the National Parents Council Primary.  This proposal is opposed by the Catholic Secondary Schools Parents Association, which represents parents in 341 secondaries, or over 50% of Irish secondary schools. It is also opposed by the ETB Parents Association the official body which represents State non-denominational schools, a further 33% of secondaries.

At the heart of all this is a secularisation agenda of civil servants. In recent years we have witnessed increasing attacks on parental rights especially in respect of Catholic ethos. When civil servants have pursued a non-denominational agenda, we have seen no evidence of the National Parents Primary standing up for the distinctiveness of Catholic schools. To give just an example, the recognised Catholic parent body has been excluded from many curriculum groups including one designing a new Relationship and Sex Education curriculum. We ignore these threats to our Catholic ethos at our peril.

Alan Whelan

Killarney, Co. Kerry


Atrocity against nuns during the Spanish Civil War

Dear Editor, In Mary Kenny’s article [IC 11/02/2021] relating to the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 and the fate of religion in that conflict. The British Consulate sheltered the Loreto sisters who later escaped. “Other nuns were not so fortunate,” Mary writes.

Many years ago in London, a man was pointed out to me who was involved in such an incident. He was a rather unpleasant looking individual. In company with others they put a group of nuns into a small boat and when it drifted some distance they opened fire as target practice.

I don’t know if this atrocity was ever documented but it is probably just another killing seeing that “over 3,400 clergy and religious were murdered” as Mary further reports.

Yours etc.,

Patrick Fleming

Glasnevin, Dublin.


Bishops should stand up for right to attend Mass

Dear Editor, There are so many voices from all over the world who question the whole response that has been enacted by governments but especially ours.

These are people of the highest qualifications and standards and who speak out at great cost to themselves. But our bishops almost to a man completely ignore them, why?

The same bishops in a recent meeting with the Taoiseach, Mr Martin completely acquiesced meekly and surrendered all our rights as Catholics to attend Mass even with the many guidelines that the Church was adhering to. This, at a time when so-called elite sports like rugby and off licences (allowing the masses drink at home causing many problems) were allowed to open and operate. We have all seen big building sites operating. But opening the churches with all the safety measures they had in place – that would be too much of a ‘risk’. Shame on the bishops for accepting this. Shame on the bishops and some priests who agree with this, for not standing up for us your parishioners.

We all know the churches could easily have been open with guidelines in place with a dispensation for all those including priests who felt vulnerable.

I am certain that as I kneel here before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, he would not want this, and would not allow this to happen. He would have our churches open and never allow them be closed, ever. Bishops, open our churches. Stand up to this tyranny of Government.

Yours etc.,

John Taaffe

Drogheda, Co. Louth


Mass should never have been put on hold

Dear Editor, At this late stage of the lockdown I feel compelled to make known my thoughts about the way the hierarchy are responding to the current and previous lockdowns imposed by the powers that be, and the impact that this is having on the Church as a whole, and individuals who desire to receive the sacraments. Why are the bishops not demanding balanced treatment on behalf of their flock to enable us to attend Mass and receive the sacraments?

I am inclined to think that many of the clergy see this lockdown as Godsent, that gives them an overdue rest, however I do not think it is Godsent but rather Satan sent, to finish off what little faith remains in the priests and the people. It is a caving in to laziness on the part of the clergy due to whatever reason; poor morale, over work, age? But I shudder to think what awaits us on judgement day. To think that we have not had the Easter Ceremonies last year and it is unlikely that we will have them this year also. The Mass should never have been put on hold even if it had to be celebrated outside the churches. Why do the clergy appear to show such total concern for our physical health to the detriment of our spiritual health? The health professionals with the aid of the media are very capable in that area. If ever there was a case of rendering unto Caesar that which belongs to God, this is one!

Is it not within the scope of the bishops collectively to come up with an acceptable plan to make available to us the essentials for our ongoing spiritual sustenance? It was considered a mortal sin in the past to miss Mass on a Sunday now we are led to accept that viewing Mass on TV is sufficient!

Yours etc.,

Joe Bolger

Dungarvan, Kilkenny.


Was distributing ashes on Ash Wednesday wise?

Dear Editor, While it is understandable that there have been calls for Catholics to lobby their politicians to re-open the churches for worship [IC 18/02/2021], I think there is a lesson to be learned from our experience of Ash Wednesday. Last week some parishes were creative in making the blessed ashes available. Many people brought them home to family members or brought them to neighbours who were housebound. Yet NPHET urged people to reduce their social contacts as transmission rates are still very high due to close contacts within families and between neighbours. One wonders if the distribution of ashes was really a wise and responsible endeavour in these present times. While we all miss our familiar rituals, we need to look at the bigger picture of public health and the hope of normal living.

Yours etc.,

Fr Padraig Walsh PP

Tralee, Co Kerry