We must work for more vocations

We must work for more vocations

Dear Editor, Your vocations supplement this week (IC 9/5/2019) was really quite fascinating and the sort of thing that young men and women discerning clerical or religious vocations would surely find both interesting and useful.

I’ve no doubt that the many religious orders that have advertised in your paper were delighted with this kind of coverage, especially coming right after the careful and thorough analysis of the financial state of our orders in the previous issue.

That said, there was one glaring absence in the supplement. Where was there any coverage, or indeed any advertising, from our dioceses? We have 26 dioceses in Ireland, all of which have designated vocations directors, and we even have a national office for diocesan vocations, announced with much fanfare a couple of years ago. But how many diocesan seminarians do we have in formation? Do we even have twice as many seminarians as we have vocations directors? What are we doing wrong?

It won’t do – it won’t – to wheel out nonsense about how we’re being called to move to a less clerical Church, when even our nearest neighbours are seeing far higher proportions of men entering seminary than us. It seems unlikely that God wants us – unlike our neighbours – to be a Church without Confession or Communion. We must pray for vocations – we really must – but we need to work seriously and intelligently for them too.

Yours etc.,

Caroline McCarthy,


Dublin 22.


There is simply no demand for this referendum

Dear Editor, On May 24 we will be asked to further diminish and discredit what remains of our country’s legal understanding of marriage.

Fine Gael seem determined to entirely erase the concept of marriage, from the aspirational landscape of young people, leaving them bereft of this most beautiful, rewarding, fulfilling and necessary institution for human flourishing, happiness and indeed the continuation of the human race.

Marriage is not primarily based upon a commitment to one’s own happiness, as we find in co-habitation and civil-partnerships.  What sets it apart as distinct from these, is that it involves the couple’s renunciation of their autonomy as individuals, in favour of taking on responsibility for creating a home, and where possible, as part of this conjugal vocation, founding a family.

During multiple referendums (divorce and same-sex), the Government repeatedly assured us of their commitment to strengthen and support marriage. Yet in the last 12 months it has withdrawn its support from Cork’s local Marriage Advisory Agency (forcing it to shut down) and it has also threatened the funding of Family Centres elsewhere.

Unfortunately, our Government is pursuing policies that are ambivalent to the human cost of their undermining of marriage: homelessness, mental health issues, addiction, even violence, abuse and neglect.

There is no demand for this constitutional change, aimed at eliminating the pause period before issuing divorce proceedings.  It can only add to the pain and emotional turmoil, when couples are most in need of comfort, clarity and confidence.

As they work through efforts to renew the relationship, legal professionals will be emboldened to advise them to cut this process short and to speed down the path of repudiating their spouse.  Vote ‘No’.

Yours etc.,

Gearóid Duffy,

Lee Road, Cork.


Let’s question hypocrisy

Dear Editor, Bishop Doran’s advice that Catholics should challenge politicians and their teams when they’re having church-gate collections or seeking support outside our churches (IC 9/5/2019) is smart and sensible. After all, it seems clear that the hypocrisy of politicians in trying to get the support of ordinary Massgoers is in no danger of drying up, and if we can’t stop them from doing this we might as well take advantage of the situation and hold them to account.

Yours etc.,

Mark Brady,

Ballyfermot, Dublin 10.


Endless list of problems caused by divorce

Dear Editor, With the local elections only around the corner including a divorce referendum section asking people to vote whether or not to take the ‘living apart period’ out of the Constitution, I feel compelled to explain to people from a child’s point of view what the lasting legacy of divorce actually is.

Removing the period of estrangement will most likely encourage couples to seek divorce too quickly without giving themselves the time and patience to resolve their difficulties.

I have first-hand experience of being a child of divorced parents in which I was also separated from my only brother who lived with his dad.  Due to the grace of God and my openness to being finally healed of this childhood trauma (in my 40s) I feel obliged to warn other couples against this (in most cases) unnecessary fate.

Everyone has marital trials and often it’s the unexpected external factors which can affect your relationships. Working your way through the trials and forgiving each other from the heart is so worth it though. Sometimes all it requires is a little patience and ‘not’ speaking the harsh words.

When separation and divorce occur, mentally a child ‘grows up’ overnight.

You may be encouraged, by some friends, or relatives, or worse – some advice you read on the internet, to leave your spouse. In a nutshell this is what ‘is’ ahead when the family unit is broken up: custody battles, property battles, visitation rights, stressful visits, children with low self-esteem inside (they might seem perfectly fine on the outside), lack of continuity of children’s schooling and extra-curricular activities, fault-finding with new partners, old age spent reflecting on past regrets…

This doesn’t have to be the fate for you or your spouse or your children. If one couple could be dissuaded from taking this path, this letter was worth the ink.

Yours etc.,

Shirley Keogh,

Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.