Christianity should be based on the teachings of Christ who opposed violence and abuses of power. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's representative in Geneva, has called for a coordinated international force to stop Isil in Syria and Iraq from further assaults on Christians and other minority groups.
The Church's questionable just war theory includes three elements over the right to wage war: that it is justified (jus ad bellum); uses just means (jus in bello); and should have a reasonable likelihood of success. Archbishop Tomasi says any military intervention should be guided by the UN and include Middle Eastern states.
This ignores the reality that any such military action will be directed and controlled by the US and other Security Council permanent members, four of whom have been directly involved in fuelling these conflicts and are beyond UN control due to their veto powers. 'Just means' would require the use of weapons that do not harm innocent civilians.
Large numbers of civilians would be killed and injured in any such war, as demonstrated by the recent Afghan and Iraq wars that were claimed to have been justified, humanitarian interventions. The third just war criteria 'a reasonable likelihood of success', is virtually impossible in a Middle Eastern context, because of the hatred caused by the unjustified recent intervention by Western powers, combined with internal and regional conflicts between the various Islamic denominations. Any Western intervention will be seen as latter-day Crusades. The crux of the problem is that humanity has no international police force. The UN was meant to be this policing force, but its founding five permanent members usurped this critical power resulting in a powerless UN, creating international anarchy rather than the rule of international law.
The solution to the dreadful conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere is to create a long overdue system of global jurisprudence.
Newtown, Castletroy, Limerick
The recent legislative drive to 'cater' for so-called 'fatal foetal abnormality' unearths a conundrum of loss and challenge. Opting for the 'erasure' of a clinically predicted foetal fatality is an unfortunate pre-emptive strike against all involved.
The fallacious wantonness of this quest belies any decent empathic logic, on three distinct counts, all far removed from any pro-life/pro-choice rhetoric.
1. Medical predictions of 'fatal foetal abnormalities incompatible with life' are very frequently flawed, both in their diagnostic correctness and predictive life expectancies.
2. The emotional processing of the life, birth and death of the child is a key journey of wholesome realisation and cathartic release for the mother, father and family alike.
3. The basic human right of the child to have its full-term of life, however medically challenged, will resonate long in the family psyche as a core responsibility that has been addressed.
I know something of these things, because 15 years ago we were advised of a 'fatal-on-birth' condition in our first child.
One month out from the delivery date, she was adjudged, (totally erroneously as it turned out), to have 'thanatophoric dysplasia', and could not live beyond the first few hours after birth.
We were, nonetheless, committed to allowing our child her full life expectancy of whatever duration eventuated.
At delivery date, this assessment was abruptly changed to another related condition, 'osteogenesis imperfecta', a very challenging scenario but not imminently terminal.
Hers was, sadly, to be at the lethal end of that spectrum.
Our little girl lived for seven months. She radiated total love and had a consummately winning personality to melt all hearts.
The impact she had on a circle of friends and family was astounding. We would not have missed it for the world, and are still relentlessly inspired by her doughty spirit and determined radiance in adversity.
It was indeed an intense journey of love and painful challenge in equal measure, but we wouldn't have avoided it for anything.
One of course wouldn't necessarily wish such an experience for others, but we would fully recommend and enthusiastically support the decision allowing the natural course to pertain for all the many lasting transformations it delivers.
Far from issuing a polemic diatribe for pro- or anti- anything, this is a simple entreaty to consider, with total care, the great value to all of us of babies, however challenged or shortened their life might be.
That value is fully patent, especially to the mother and father, but also to a wider circle of family and friends.
We know several friends with their own so-called 'incompatible-with-life' babies, who are still living, and some who have succumbed but who still live so warm in the memory.
Lismore, Co Waterford
St Patrick's Day is commemorated on March 17 with much fanfare and celebration. But I don't know what Patrick himself would make of the day being held in his honour. Patrick is known for introducing Christianity into Ireland and banishing snakes. But we should separate what is legend and what is historical fact.
Patrick was an adherent of Celtic Christianity, which preceded the Roman traditions that followed the Synod of Whitby in 664AD when the Roman observance of 'Easter' was introduced in place of the Biblical Passover, which although observed by Jesus and the Apostles, was deemed as too 'Jewish' to be popular among the increasingly non-Jewish adherents of Christianity.
The writings of the early Church Fathers attest to this paradigm shift in attitude to the Jews, some of which were anti-Semitic in tone and use of language.
The same thing took place concerning the keeping of Sunday as a holy day over the observation of the Saturday Sabbath on the seventh day of the week.
Celtic Christianity is often viewed as a desirable format and style that enriches the way of Christian worship for a large number of Christians today, but certain aspects of that observance are for the most part overlooked. In the case of Patrick and his co-religionists within the Celtic church in the British Isles, the observance of Passover (as opposed to 'Easter') and the adherence to the Fourth Commandment concerning the Sabbath being on the seventh day, Saturday, were the standard practices.
The Celtic monks were allowed to marry and they kept the Jewish/Biblical feasts such as Tabernacles and Shavuot (Pentecost) and did not eat unclean meats.
Patrick didn't wear a mitre or have a need for jewel-encrusted croziers, as he is so often depicted in pictures. He wasn't even Irish. However, his message of the Gospel was of the pure form that emanated from the New Testament Church.
Bangor, Co Down