Saturday 24 August 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Church should cast off those who want cultural sacraments'

'Christianity cannot be taught through sterile doctrines; rather it is taught through the example of a Church willing to jettison so much baggage accumulated over the centuries and return to the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth' (stock photo)
'Christianity cannot be taught through sterile doctrines; rather it is taught through the example of a Church willing to jettison so much baggage accumulated over the centuries and return to the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth' (stock photo)
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

It is ironic that the divestment primary school project of the Archdiocese of Dublin is running into trouble not from the Catholic clergy, but from entrenched ultra-conservative lay elements.

Hopefully the scare tactics used by these people will be resisted by reasonable Catholics who will vote for divestment.

The use of State schooling by Catholics and Protestants to inculcate Christianity in successive generations has clearly failed.

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The churches are thronged with pre-first communion and pre-confirmation classes, but as soon as these ceremonies are over, church numbers continue their downward spiral.

These sacraments have become largely cultural and ceremonial events that have little to do with the practice of Christianity.

They are seen by children as social events when themselves, their parents, friends and relations have a good day out and their memories are consigned to photograph albums.

Christianity cannot be taught through sterile doctrines; rather it is taught through the example of a Church willing to jettison so much baggage accumulated over the centuries and return to the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth.

Brendan Butler

Malahide, Co Dublin

Meat message only serves to deflect from existential threat

Margaret Donnelly writes "I won't apologise for my burger" (Irish Independent, April 5) and proceeds to engage in whataboutery and deflection, classic tactics of someone who cannot deal with the substantive argument they are faced with and/or has an ulterior motive.

Climate breakdown is the greatest existential threat to continued human and other animal existence on this, the only home we have. The highly respected journal 'Science' revealed that avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way you can reduce your environmental impact on the planet.

The analysis revealed the impact of livestock, which takes up 83pc of farmland and produces 60pc of agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions, while providing only 18pc of calories. It said the elimination of meat and dairy consumption would result in a reduction of more than 75pc of global farmland - an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined. A World Wildlife Fund report found that 60pc of global biodiversity loss is down to meat-based diets.

Our worst-offending sector when it comes to greenhouse emissions is agriculture, which is responsible for around a third of them.

She also conveniently ignores the compelling ethical argument against eating meat. As Paul McCartney said: "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian."

We don't need to torture and kill animals to survive. It's a case of pleasure and vested interests on the one hand versus the planet, future generations and needless animal slaughter and suffering on the other.

Albert Einstein's quote has never been more apt: "Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

Rob Sadlier

Dublin 16

Wasting grain so we can eat burgers is unconscionable

Meat may be the best source of protein in one's diet, but times are changing and now over 21pc of the world is vegetarian and vegans now make up 6pc of the US population.

There are plenty of protein products that can be substituted for meat - soya, chickpeas, lentils... and they have the added bonus of less problems of cholesterol.

Yes, our beef or pork may be locally grown, but what about the animals' feed? Vegetarians and vegans aren't gobbling up all the grains and soybeans - cattle are. A staggering 97pc of the world's soya crop is fed to livestock. It would take 40 million tons of food to eliminate the most extreme cases of world hunger, yet nearly 20 times that amount of grain is fed to farmed animals every year in order to produce meat. In a world where an estimated 850 million people do not have enough to eat, it is criminally wasteful to feed perfectly edible food to animals on farms in order to produce a burger rather than feeding it directly to people, especially when you consider that it takes roughly six pounds of grain to produce one pound of pork. As long as a single child goes hungry, this kind of waste is unconscionable.

Yes, of course we have a worse problem with our emissions - agriculture accounts for the majority of methane emissions in Ireland: 85pc of that is due to the dominance of cattle and sheep production in our agricultural output.

The UN said Ireland is failing in its duty to reduce emissions. The CSO report, meanwhile, shows the share of emissions from agriculture, forestry, and fishing in 2016 was 32.5pc. Emissions from households was 21.9pc and the services sector 11.1pc of the total greenhouse gas emissions. I think the agricultural sector must do something to solve this problem.

Gemma Hensey

Westport, Co Mayo

Something must be done to cut speech therapy waiting times

I think that we should all protest the fact that there are 34,000 people on speech therapy waiting lists.

Harry O'Sullivan

Mount Merrion, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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