Friday 18 October 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Church must shoulder blame for first communion ‘day out’'

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Michael Kelly (Irish Independent, May 17) decries the manner in which first communion has more or less lost its religious dimension and become primarily a milestone in a child’s development. However, the Catholic Church must take considerable responsibility for this, due to its dominance of primary education.

The 2016 census shows in Dublin, less than two-thirds of the population is Catholic, but 90pc of primary schools are under Catholic Church control. Michael Kelly forgets that his atheist friends almost certainly had no choice but to send their children to Catholic schools. There, those children, with Muslims, Buddhists and every other religion, in addition to the children of the one-third of Catholics who never attend Mass, are obliged to attend faith-formation classes.

Regardless of the parents’ religion or belief, there is no right for their children to opt out. Very recently, those with a vested interest in religious education (including, to their shame, teachers) resisted an attempt by the Education Minister to introduce an opt-out from religious education for parents.

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By insisting on all children attending faith-formation classes, the Catholic Church shows scant respect for those of other religions, or none. Catholic is as Catholic does. So who can blame those non-religious parents for returning the compliment and treating first communion, and other childhood sacraments, as nothing more than a family day out?

Anthony O’Leary

Portmarnock, Co Dublin

New US laws support stance of anti-abortion groups here

It’s interesting that as Ireland recently voted for abortion, more and more US states are virtually outlawing the procedure. So while Ireland is actually paying (some would suggest bribing) doctors to perform abortions, some US states are suggesting life imprisonment for abortionists.

The difference of course is that the US has had the experience of more than 40 years, and periodically witnessed the horrors that go with a liberal abortion regime. The most dramatically gruesome being the Kermit Gosnell case, and the journalistic exposure of Planned Parenthood executives laughing over the harvesting of the vital organs of partially aborted infants.

It’s quite ironic that Alabama’s (and those of some other states) new laws in this regard mirror in many respects Ireland’s former Eighth Amendment rules. It seems that as the science regarding ultrasound etc has progressed, the appetite for abortion reduces. So despite the accusations from some campaigners that we were backward, regressive etc, the opposite may be the case.

Eric Conway

Navan, Co Meath

Billy’s conviction could not foresee morbid prediction

Billy Keane (‘Keane’s Kingdom’, Irish Independent, May 18) doubts the authenticity of Madame Nora Mary. I don’t know one way or the other. But I was present at Listowel Writers’ Week 1997 when the said clairvoyant told a north Kerry woman, a cash customer, “your husband will meet a violent death”.

The Rathea woman had faith in the prediction. Otherwise why would she have asked: “Will I be convicted?”

Mattie Lennon

Blessington, Co Wicklow

Time for Housing Minister to fade away like ageing actor

The photograph of Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy accompanying your report, (‘Eviction banned for long-term renters’,

Irish Independent, May 18) confirms the adage well known to ageing Hollywood leading stars, “the camera never lies”.

Mr Murphy’s perplexed expression is exactly what one would expect given the hames he is making of the job he is most handsomely paid to do. His obvious state of bewilderment is clearly not helped either by his constant massaging of the statistics around the homelessness crisis.

The piece too confirms Mr Murphy is either out of his depth or is not inclined to do what ought to be done to resolve this most devastating crisis that he is overseeing.

His efforts to hide behind the Constitution will not work. He is quoted as saying: “It is an emergency. But declaring it one does not mean we can just suspend our laws or the Constitution.” Is there someone nearby that can draw his attention to the fact since Fine Gael came to power, we’ve been changing the Constitution for fun, it seems. In fact, it appears to be one of the favoured tools of Government spinners charged with the job of distracting the people’s attention away from its many failures, of which the housing crisis stands out as by far the most diabolical.

Time to do, minister, what ageing Hollywood stars can do so well – fade away and, in your case, make way for a person more committed to serving the people rather than an ideology.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Co Sligo

Irish Independent

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