Dear Editor, In recent times there has been an increase of interest in the ministry of exorcism in the Church. Jason Osborne’s article, ‘Evil One exploiting Covid-19 to bring about fear says famed Dublin exorcist’ [IC 28/01/2021], quoting veteran exorcist Fr Pat Collins, prompts this letter.
Is this a clear demonstration of “demonic obsession” where the demon, apparently strikes “the mind of an individual” or perhaps in this case, “the collective mind” of society at large. Could it possibly be something psychological in nature? Fr Collins states: “I think that there’s a possibility that the Evil One is exploiting the current situation to bring people into fear and anxiety.”
During lockdown I have spent a little extra time exploring the ministry of exorcism as a ministry of healing, noting that it is a prayer of the Church. My main sources were YouTube talks and interviews. These were given by two Vatican trained exorcists, namely Fr Vincent Lampert, diocesan exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and Fr Garry Thomas, diocesan exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose, California.
Nevertheless, wouldn’t it be worthwhile, if our own Irish diocesan exorcists, duly appointed by their bishop, share something of their ministry with us readers of The Irish Catholic. I’d be interested in how Irish diocesan exorcists work collaboratively with health care professionals and prayer teams in their ministry of exorcism in order to come to a true discernment of cases. Wouldn’t it be illuminative if our Irish diocesan exorcists write something simple, but substantial enough, to enlighten us on our way?
Fr John Denvir SMA
Wilton, Co. Cork
Context needed on mother and baby homes
Dear Editor, One of the objections I have regarding the many statements on the mother and baby homes issue is the absence of context. Ireland in the 20s, 30s and 40s right up to the year 1960, was a broken economy. Civil war, primitive farming methods and the decimation of the famine left a terrible mark on the nation. While this does not excuse callous behaviour, it can harden people. “Hard times create hard people” is a saying.
Shoeless children on the street were a common sight in those decades, not to mind appalling living conditions. Life outside the institutions was often little better than inside and being a nun was not a privilege but a thankless labour. A little balance please when judging the past from these moneyed years.
Lockdowns leading to ‘severe’ issues with alcohol
Dear Editor, Reading Mary Kenny’s piece about alcohol in relation to the lockdown was sobering – pardon the pun [IC 28/01/2020]. Her writing was made more poignant because she was speaking from her own personal experience of quitting alcohol and of alcohol addiction in her family. There has been quite a bit of research done on how restrictions have led to people drinking more and particularly for those who already have a problem. This is leading to more domestic abuse – of partners and children. I recently read about several cases published by the Child Care Law Reporting Project which highlighted the growing impact of alcohol abuse on children. They were harrowing to say the least. Parents lose the ability to parent their children when they are consistently abusing alcohol.
The pandemic and the subsequent restrictions are causing people to lose hope and turn to whatever comforts them it seems, unfortunately a lot of the things that comfort us are bad if not taken in moderation. Alcohol is most certainly being overused as a medication by many to get through this – in some ways you can’t really blame people – but this will lead to severe problems for individuals and for society and something must be done. Mrs Kenny mentioned that people don’t have the ability to do many of the things that might help them reduce their alcohol intake and their cravings – unfortunately I believe we will not know how many people will be devastated by the effects of lockdown after lockdown and the draconian restrictions we face until many years from now. Regarding alcohol specifically, I will pray for Mrs Kenny and her family member who is struggling, as well as anyone who feels enslaved by alcohol.
Ballyfermot, Co. Dublin
Restrictions on funerals are necessary
Dear Editor, I refer to your editorial regarding numbers attending funerals [IC 28/01/2021]. I was at a family member’s funeral before Christmas where limited numbers were allowed but not as limited as now. Unfortunately, a number of people contracted Covid-19 at funerals over Christmas. I know of at least two cases where this happened (not from the funeral that I attended). I think the Government has no choice but to do this in a policy where restrictions are in place in other areas of life. I think the risk of infection is where the cruelty lies. It seems to be the only way that all countries are able to deal with this pandemic; until some better way is discovered, I see no other choice.
I wholeheartedly agree with the article about elite sport being played it should not be allowed when other gatherings are banned. I do not agree with the comparison with supermarkets. Especially now people go around a supermarket and do their shopping without lingering. Contact of 15 minutes is needed to pick up the infection. I never see anyone interacting in the supermarket, contact with staff is minimal too.
The restrictions are hard in all areas of life, but we can just bear with them while looking forward with hope to them coming to an end.
Despite restrictions we have little to complain about
Dear Editor,one of the saddest aspects of social media discourse in this pandemic has been seeing comments, sometimes with very little attempt at good manners or understanding, berating priests and bishops for obeying guidelines and laws that are temporary and are in place to reduce opportunities to transmit Covid-19. In Ireland we are very fortunate to know that the sacrifice of Mass continues to be offered daily behind our church doors and that these doors will open to congregants when the level of disease has diminished. There are Catholics in other parts of the world who have little or no opportunity to attend Mass, who face persecution, prison, and see no end in sight to their trials. Indeed this is the situation our ancestors found themselves in during Penal times. When viewed this way we have little to complain of and much to be thankful for.
Wicklow town, Wicklow