Dear Editor, It is baffling to read of plans by Germany’s bishops to debate the issue of clerical celibacy as a response to the abuse crisis, while Munich’s Cardinal Marx is calling for Church teaching to be reconsidered in light of the crisis (IC 10/1/2017).
Granted, there may well be a case for changing the discipline of celibacy as a response to the vocations crisis, leaving aside how Protestant churches with married clergy tend not to have booming vocations figures. Even advocates of this, however, should note that the German Church, funded by the notorious ‘Church tax’ that can see bishops taking home around €10,000 a month, is one of a small number of national churches that could cope without too much difficulty in ensuring married clergy are paid enough to support families. Advocates of married clergy in Ireland, certainly, tend to be profoundly silent when the question of putting their hands into their pockets and opening up their wallets is raised.
Such a change, however, would be a preposterous, dangerous and arguably even cynical response to the abuse crisis.
As we all know, after all, sexual abuse is almost always committed by men who haven’t taken vows of celibacy. Does anybody seriously think that exposing women to men inclined to abuse is a good idea, or that such men should be encouraged to have children of their own? Does anybody seriously think this a risk worth taking?
Far from abandoning Church teaching, it looks rather as though we are called to engage more deeply with it and to follow it more faithfully.
Inchicore, Dublin 8.
We cannot ‘flush away’ human dignity
Dear Editor, There was a public outcry when the media reported that the Tuam babies were buried in underground chambers linked to the historic treatment of sewage waste. The public reaction was based on moral repugnance at disposing of human remains in that horrific way. A demand to respect the dignity and memory of the children followed and continues to this day.
Yet now, the Health Service Executive (HSE) shows a grotesque lack of respect for the dignity and value of human life on its website regarding the disposal of human remains following abortion. It advises: “If you have an abortion before nine weeks of pregnancy, you can decide how to dispose of the remains. They can be flushed down the toilet or wrapped in tissue and disposed of as you wish.”
Is this really what people who voted for the abortion legislation actually want, that the remains of a unique human life can be “flushed down the toilet”? Any attempts by politicians, particularly the Minister for Health and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, to use the exhumation and re-burial of the Tuam babies as evidence of their respect for the dignity and value of human life are meaningless while this goes on.
Dr Noreen O’Carroll,
Blackrock, Co. Dublin.
Knock seeds growing
Dear Editor, It’s great to hear that the papal visit seems to be paying dividends in terms of visitors to Knock (IC 17/1/2019).
The days and weeks after Pope Francis’ visit left so many of us feeling desolate, wondering how our Pope could have known so little about us, how his prepared speeches could have been so insipid, how so few of us were willing to brave the elements to attend Mass with him in the Phoenix Park.
Those of us willing to think long term, however, pointed out that it’s never possible to tell how successful a papal visit has been in its immediate aftermath. If seeds were sown that are blossoming at Knock, we may yet have a chance!
Rathfarnham, Dublin 14.
Challenge is important
Dear Editor, Thank goodness for The Irish Catholic and the opportunity to read recently (IC 3/1/2019) so many articles articulating a Catholic, ethical and pro-life view, from Bishop Brendan Leahy, Nuala O’Loan, David Quinn and Michael O’Dowd of Renua.
As a social worker and practicing Catholic, it really does make a difference to be able to read and share articles that outline the Catholic social justice perspective that values the dignity and rights of every person at every stage of life. In our liberal-dominated media, an individualistic and secular view of how society should be, is promoted.
Sadly those who have a different world view of family life, community, and ethical decision making can be scoffed at and silenced.
So it is important that all of us of Faith have both the confidence and an understanding about our Faith to credibly challenge this one-sided narrative.
Templeogue, Dublin 16.
Something is rotten here
Dear Editor, Why does the Irish media keep referring to the development of an “abortion service” in Ireland. A ‘service’ is something that is benign and helpful. But a ‘service’ that kills the most vulnerable and loveable human beings cannot be called a service.
Up to 50 years ago, abortion was forbidden in most countries except Sweden and post Tsarist Russia. In the meantime, many countries have banned capital punishment for even the most perverted and hideous crimes. Now, capital punishment is generally meted out only to the innocent unborn.
Due to modern technology, we have never known so much about the baby in the womb as we now do.
To any rational person, there can be no doubt about his/her humanity.
Yet the government, Courts, the Minister for Children, the Ombudsman for Children and the civil liberties brigade refuse to recognise unborn babies as human beings.
As Shakespeare might say: “There is something rotten” in the Irish Republic.
Eoin O Raghallaigh,