Thursday 27 October 2016

Message of Christianity has been lost in affairs of the church

Published 03/12/2015 | 02:30

Pope Francis prays at St Peter's square yesterday
Pope Francis prays at St Peter's square yesterday

The attempts to clean up the Vatican bring home the extent of the corruption that has informed the Catholic Church's administration.

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The Italian bias in the way the church has been organised has led to its involvement in Italian politics and power, including connections with the Mafia.

Pope Benedict did not know what hit him when he was first confronted with the venal set-up in the administration of the church; it all seemed to be out of his reach, ending in his resignation.

Pope Francis has managed to keep afloat in a leaking vessel on a very stormy sea. Thankfully, he is more concerned with honesty than with orthodoxy, confronting head-on the dysfunctional system that he has inherited.

There has been far too much concern with keeping up appearances.

The church seems driven by the fear of appearing human, subject to the cut and thrust of human living and human loving - what Pope Francis has recently referred to as 'narcissism'.

Historically, Christianity in Ireland was rooted in and sustained by the monastic orders. They were not subject to Rome in the way the Catholic Church now finds itself. They provided and continue to provide a distinctive perspective on Christian life that is somewha detached from the influence of Rome.

The Catholic claim to be the one true church, clearly, is no longer sustainable. Some of the greatest evils in the world today arise from the claim to have God or Allah distinctively and exclusively on one's side.

It is difficult to separate the Vatican shenanigans from some pure and perfect 'real church' that the Vatican purports to administer; the sheer simplicity of the Christian message has become entangled in a man-made political mess, becoming an unedifying side show in the lives of many Christians.

Many of our young people who say they have left the church claim to have found Christianity.

Philip O'Neill, Oxford, England

Choice and beginning of life

The central question that is asked time and time again as our country debates the future of the Eighth Amendment to our Constitution is: When does life begin? Scientists, doctors, philosophers and politicians have argued the answer since time immemorial.

Does life begin at conception? When the foetus develops brain function? When it becomes viable to live outside the womb? At birth? Or perhaps it is none of these answers. In the absence of a definite proven point when life truly begins, the answer becomes a matter of personal opinion.

The right to choose is one of the greatest rights we possess as human beings. Even doctors, bound by the Hippocratic Oath, recognise their patients' right to choose to refuse treatment.

When it comes to abortion, the right to choose is currently restricted. Should the Eighth Amendment be repealed, those who consider abortion immoral will be under no obligation to partake in the practice. Under the status quo, however, those who view abortion as a human right have their right to choose denied. The stage at which life begins is a personal opinion. How is it fair to force an individual to base their life choices on the opinions of another?

Abortion is a morally grey issue. There is no true right or wrong when it comes to terminating a pregnancy. What is wrong is stripping another human being of their right to choice in the matter. That is why we must repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Ross Walsh, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

The real crew of Asgard

Can I just point out that contrary to what was stated in Part Four of the Irish Independent's 1916 Supplement under the heading: 'The boat that brought the guns ashore', Roger Casement and Alice Green were NOT aboard Asgard during the gun running.

Including them is wrong. They were involved in raising the money for the guns and ammunition.

The crew for the historical passage were Erskine and Molly Childers, Mary Spring Rice, Pat McGinley and Charlie Duggan, both native speakers from Gola Island in Donegal, and Gordon Shepherd, who disembarked from Asgard in Milford Haven on the return journey.

Shepherd was in Howth to meet them having crossed from England.

Pat Murphy, Asgard volunteer, historian and lecturer, Sutton, Dublin 13

Love - it's not all we need

In response to Ross Walsh's letter on November 27, where he laments my inability to love my neighbour, I'd like to state that many sentiments expressed in his letter are the exact definition of the naive liberalism that I was referring to in my original letter.

Mr Walsh states that: "I believe all men and women were included when Jesus said 'Love thy neighbour as thyself".

I do accept that this thesis is wonderful and that it would be marvellous if all human beings could simply love each other, but a cursory glance at history tells us a different tale.

One only has to take a look at Israel, Pakistan, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, etc to see how mass movements of people from a different religious background have led to strife and chaos.

Unfortunately, history tells us that human beings have been butchering each other since the da of time.

Whilst I do appreciate Mr Walsh's sentiments of "love thy neighbour" and I also appreciate that perhaps it would be great if we human beings could all gather around a large fire, sing 'Kumbaya My Lord' and smoke a large peace pipe, Mr Walsh should know we live in the real world.

Seamus Hanratty, Address with editor

Bring U2 back to earth

It would appear Aine Carvill (Irish Independent, Letters, November 30) "quite enjoyed" the U2 concert.

I also really enjoyed Tony Christie's gig in Bord Gais a few months ago. However, to say that (to quote Áine) it was "a spiritual experience of social justice in a stirring evangelical sense", even Tony would admit might be stretching things a tad.

Tom Gilsenan, Beaumont D9

Irish Independent

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