* Recently, Pope Francis said: "The Lord redeemed all of us, all of us, with the blood of Christ, not just Catholics. Everyone."
Before popes were around, another emperor, atheist, statesman and philosopher said much the same thing: "Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
"If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones." Marcus Aurelius AD 121-180.
The essence of what a good person is can also be marked by a man called Don Giuseppe Puglisi. He was a priest who was murdered outside his church in 1993 by the mafia in Sicily for speaking out against them. His catchphrase was a question to encourage others to stand up, too, " . . . and what if somebody did something?"
It is that question that comes just before courage that defines for a person and a people what it means to be good, and gives hope for us all.
Oughterard, Co Galway
IN THE GLASS HOUSE
* People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, as they may Shatter.
Ballysimon Road, Limerick
SHATTER OWN GOALS
* How can Alan Shatter score so many own goals with his foot in his mouth?
Address with editor
* There is grave concern among doctors across the specialties about the proposed legislation for termination of pregnancy in the case of threatened suicide on the part of the mother.
Many of us have practised, or are now practising, in jurisdictions where such legislation was the first step towards what has become abortion on demand. Attempts to revisit legislation and reduce the number of abortions by restricting the grounds on which termination of pregnancy may be performed, such as gestational age, have been fraught and largely fruitless. Those who think there will be a second chance, whether by a so-called sunset clause or otherwise, are naive.
We would like to make a clear statement to the members of the Oireachtas that there is no evidence that termination is the treatment for threatened suicide in pregnancy and that if they vote for the proposed legislation, they will be voting for the legalisation of abortion in this country.
Those members of the Oireachtas who believe that they are only doing what the Constitution permits since the X Case judgment should seek to examine the psychiatric evidence heard by the Supreme Court in 1992. They will find none.
They might alternatively examine the statements of the psychiatrists called before the Oireachtas Health Committee hearings in 2012, to see what evidence there is that might support the Supreme Court decision. They will find none.
We would also remind them that the World Health Organisation consistently places Ireland in the top five countries for women's safety in pregnancy.
We would urge members of the Oireachtas respectfully, but robustly, to vote against the proposed legislation.
Dr Ann Barry, GP, Dublin
Dr Anne Kennedy, GP, Co Mayo
Dr Anne Ryan, GP, Co Kildare
Dr Anne-Marie Leech, GP, Co Wexford
Dr Bridget O'Brien, GP, Co Kerry
Dr Cliodhna Donnelly Palliative Care, Galway
Dr Cristina Bordinc, GP, Wexford
Dr Daniel Purcell, GP, Co Kildare
Prof David Ryan
Maxillo-Facial Surgeon, Dublin
Dr Deirdre Gleeson
Occupational Health Physician/GP, Co Kildare
Prof Eamonn O'Dwyer
Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Co Galway
Dr Eileen Reilly
Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Galway
Dr Eoghan De Faoite, NCHD, Dublin
Dr Felim T Donnelly, GP, Galway
Dr George Fuller, GP, Cork
Dr Helen T O'Brien, GP, Dublin
Mr James Sheehan
Orthopaedic Surgeon, Galway
Dr Janina Lyons, GP, Dublin
Dr John C Kehoe, GP, Co Kildare
Dr John Kehoe SNR, GP, Co Kildare
Dr John Monaghan
Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Co Galway
Dr Jonathan Jacob, GP, Co Carlow
Dr Jude McSharry, GP, Co Sligo
Dr Maire Mirium Duggan
Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Dublin
Dr Maire Nic Ghearailt, GP, Co Wicklow
Dr Mairead MacConnaill, GP, Cork
Dr Marie Therese McKenna, GP, Donegal
Dr Marie Twomey, Palliative Care, Dublin
Dr Mary P Carroll, Radiologist, Donegal
Dr Maureen Brennan, GP, Dublin
Dr Maurice Fahy, GP, Co Kerry
Dr Michael Salter, GP, Co Wicklow
Dr Mirium Hogan, GP, Co Kilkenny
Dr Murrogh Birmingham, GP, Co Donegal
Dr Myles Monaghan
Anaesthetics Trainee, Dublin
Dr Olive Pierse, GP, Co Kerry
Dr Orla Halpenny, GP, Dublin
Dr Paschal O'Dea, GP, Co Carlow
Dr Patricia O'Toole, GP, Carlow
Dr Patrick Kelly, GP trainee, Co Waterford
Dr Patrick McSharry, GP, Co Sligo
Dr Pauline Burke, Public Health, Co Limerick
Dr Pauline Kane, GP, Dublin
Dr Peter Quinn, GP, Cork
Dr Phil Boyle, Fertility Specialist, Galway
Dr Phillip Aherne, GP, Co Kildare
Dr Ravi Kumar, GP, Wexford
Dr Rita O'Connor, General Medicine, Clare
Dr Seamus Kennedy, GP, Co Mayo
Dr Sean O Domhnaill, Psychiatrist, Kildare
Dr Sinead Kelly, Palliative Care, Dublin
Dr Trevor Hayes
Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Co Kilkenny
Dr Ursula Nusgen, Microbiologist, Dublin
Dr William P Fox, GP, Co Westmeath
Dr William Purcell, GP, Co Kildare
THE BLAME GAME
* There is still some talk that the Government will try to bring in a banking inquiry to look at the events surrounding September 2008.
Why should we, as a State, waste so much of taxpayers' hard-earned money when the dogs in the street know who is responsible for the sorry state our country is in. The answer – no one!
Clondalkin, Dublin 22
* Two harrowing letters appeared in your paper in the last week or so with regard to the terror of corporal punishment in Irish schools during the 1950s and 1960s.
One, entitled 'School of Terror', from Paddy O'Brien, of Balbriggan, Co Dublin, says in those days school masters/mistresses/priests/brothers assaulted children who weren't able to keep up with their lessons by slapping them on the hands with a cane supplied by the State.
The other, entitled 'School Misery', name and address with editor, says sadistic punishments were administered on a daily basis in a small sleepy village during the 1950s and 1960s.
This of course was physical abuse, and the one thing to remember is that any kind of childhood abuse, be it sexual or otherwise, remains with the child for the rest of their lives and makes it much more difficult to survive in life afterwards.
I went to a private school in Dublin in the 1960s. Physical and mental abuse was rampant. Fear was the chief motivator from dawn to dusk, and permeated the walls, the classrooms and study hall. One priest at the time was a tyrant who ruled with fear and a leather strap. We got a reasonable education but at a very high price. Afterwards it was extremely difficult to survive outside the walls. God forgive us all in this country for accepting any kind of abuse in any of our schools.
Just like the industrial schools and Magdalene Laundries, this is also part of our shameful history we should never forget.
Name and address with editor