Dear Editor, Bishop Tom Deenihan is to be commended for his fine words on the need to get back to public Mass as soon as possible [IC 11/02/2021]. We have been without the nourishment of the Eucharist for so long and it is disappointing that whenever politicians speak of “opening up society” they so rarely talk about the need to allow Catholics to go to Mass.
Every day we are bombarded on the radio with advertisements from the Government urging us to mind our mental health during the pandemic. Attending Mass minds my mental health, but I’m not allowed to do that. Along with hundreds of thousands of other people in this country alone the Mass is a huge consolation to us as well as giving us the emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing we need to continue on this difficult journey.
I fully accept that when the numbers are high there might be a need to restrict certain aspects of public life, but our churches are so safe and we have shown time and again that it is possible to gather in a socially distanced way to ensure that everyone is safe and well.
I would appeal to fellow Catholics to write to their politicians urging them to get the churches re-opened for Mass as soon as possible.
Athlone, Co. Westmeath
‘Stunning’ Angelus images made lasting impression
Dear Editor, I agree with the views of Herbert Eyre [IC 04/02/2021] regarding the accompaniment of the Angelus. In 1981, when we first received RTÉ on our television, it was the stunning images that accompanied the Angelus that made a lasting impression. The Old Masters, especially from the Netherlands Renaissance of the 15th-16th Centuries codified the importance of what this minute of prayer is.
The sad reality of the dumbing down of prayer with secular images fails to speak to the soul that requires sustenance. Like the ending of Tim Thurston’s ‘Gloria’ on Lyric FM, overtly Catholic representation that demonstrates that we have a soul that seeks nourishment, has no place in our new secular utopia. However, as people of hope, let us do just that and who knows what can happen!
Fr John McCallion
Clonoe, Co. Tyrone
The complexities of Poland’s wartime history
Dear Editor, With reference to Book Reviews ‘Ireland’s Poles, a new community in our ancient nation’ [IC 28/01/2021], I would like to give some clarification as the information about the 1944 liberation of the Polish town of Lublin is somewhat misleading. Lublin was liberated from the Nazis by the Soviet Red Army. The complexity of Polish wartime history may not be known to your readers.
When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Stalin granted ‘amnesty’ to Polish prisoners of war deported to Soviet camps. This made conditions for the creation of Polish military units in the USSR. Two Polish armed forces in the east were formed separately and at different times. In late 1941 the Polish army was created under General W. Anders. This army – later known as the Polish 2nd Corps – was loyal to the Polish government-in-exile. In 1942, Anders’ army evacuated to Iran, and from Iran to Palestine, to join the British army in Egypt and to fight with the western Allies. They later took part in the Italian campaign, including the Battle of Monte Cassino.
Many Poles didn’t manage to join Anders’ army and remained in the Soviet Union. In 1943, the Polish Division was formed under General Z. Berling – the only senior Polish officer who accepted wartime service under Soviet command. This division was later a part of the Polish People’s Army; it fought on the eastern front all the way to the Battle of Berlin. It operated under Soviet command, in opposition to the Polish government-in-exile. However, some soldiers from Berling’s army managed to get to Italy from Germany, to reach Anders’ army. This is how Jan Kaminski (about whom Fr J. Anthony Gaughan writes in his review) found himself in Italy, and with the Anders’ 2nd Corps. In 1946 he went to Britain.
Hanna Dowling, Irish Polish Society Secretary
Taking account of all aspects of mother and baby homes
Dear Editor, Thanks to Jason Osborne for highlighting the voices of women who say they had largely positive experiences in mother and baby homes [IC 11/02/2021]. I don’t in any way dispute the details of the terrible stories women have told of their experience in the institutions. Nor do I accept that anything is ever one-dimensional. Getting these voices on the record, people who have had an experience different from the dominant media norm, is an important service to understanding the phenomenon in a way that takes account of all of the aspects.
We have lost the value of human life
Dear Editor, the Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell has his work cut out for him in tackling knife crime in the capital [IC 11/02/2021]. There is an epidemic of violent disorder in large parts of Dublin and with so many young people now carrying knives, the consequences of any row or altercation can soon prove to be fatal.
I was pleased to see Dr Farrell pointing to the spiritual side of this problem. He is right, we have lost the value of human life and the sense that every life has value. In the absence of these principles, how cheap life becomes. God help us.
We mistreat children today in a more fatal way
Dear Editor, it strikes me that no-one is pointing out the obvious contradiction in those who cheered on abortion expressing outrage that women and their children were mistreated by Church and State in the past. We do the same today: rather than support women in crisis pregnancies, we offer them abortion. The issue is – again – unwanted babies. We just do something more permanent (and fatal) nowadays.
Belfast, Co. Antrim
Controversy on Ormeau Road
Dear Editor, Chai Brady’s report on the controversy around the memorial on the Ormeau Road [IC 11/02/2021], reminds me of one sober fact about that loyalist atrocity: The only person ever detailed by the security forces in relation to the massacre of five Catholics in 1992 was one of the survivors who was arrested laying flowers at a prayer vigil for the deceased and their families.
Craigavon, Co. Armagh