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Church's teaching and Fr Joe's post

Sir - Fr Joe McDonald states he can "see" how a woman can choose to have an abortion (Sunday Independent, September 18). He implies that there are certain situations in which he regards abortion as permissible. (He states: "I draw a big distinction between some girl who has been raped or whose child will not survive and other scenarios").

It is clear from the interview that Fr McDonald dissents from the Church's teaching on a number of other questions. He says that he remains a priest because he sees the "possibility of something else".

May I suggest that Fr McDonald is fooling himself if he believes that the Church will alter its position on the protection of the right to life of the unborn? In that case, he ought to consider his position as a priest.

CDC Armstrong


A man of great compassion

Sir - Fr Joe McDonald of St Matthew's parish in Ballyfermot comes across as a very compassionate man in his interview with Donal Lynch (Sunday Independent, September 18). This is a compassion gained from facing his own struggles in life and making peace with himself. He appears to leave the door open to him being in favour of abortion in very limited circumstances, such as in cases of rape or fatal foetal abnormalities.

While I do not agree with him in this regard, as far as I'm concerned all life is sacred and no one has a right to end the life of another, I do agree with him when he says "sin implies free will and I don't think some young person driven demented with fear is really free".

As someone who struggled with mental health difficulties in the past to the extent of being suicidal I have first-hand experience of the torment the human mind can descend to. If I had taken my life while in the depths of depression, could anyone say I exercised free will? I don't think so.

As a society we need to be more compassionate towards women who have abortions or are thinking of it.

In a truly understanding and caring society I believe no-one need ever think of the necessity of abortion.

However that is Utopia. We live in the real world with its myriad of personal and societal challenges.

We are all sinners and try to do our best. That is as much as any of us can do in life and especially in relation to the issue of abortion.

Tommy Roddy

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Reach down to the depths of your soul

Sir - There were five letters on this page last week (Sunday Independent, September 18) on the subject of abortion. Please may I add a few wonderful words from an article written by your own journalist, Niamh Horan, two years ago ("Abortion debate requires something greater than love", Sunday Independent, August 24, 2014)

"I would argue that if you wish to understand this issue as much as you would any other - it will take a far greater emotion than love.

"It requires you to reach down to the very depths of your soul.

"To find somewhere in you the ability to pull yourself out of your own set ways of thinking about the world. To put yourselves in that woman's shoes.

"It requires that much-needed emotion in the world today. It requires compassion."

Bravo Niamh!

Brian Mc Devitt


Co Donegal

The Master's story

Sir - As a nurse and midwife of 35 years I was delighted that this story was written by the former master of the Coombe.

I have counselled many women post abortion in Ireland. I would suggest Sylvia Finn (Letters, Sunday Independent, September 18) could talk to any Irish doctor or nurse and we would all agree. She has missed the point she was trying to make. It was a happy ending for the poor unfortunate subject of the story.

Cora Magee,

Address with Editor

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