Tuesday 26 March 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Church should go back to the spiritualism of its past'

At the 1850 Synod of Thurles, called by Archbishop Paul Cullen, he ordered: “That priests were to wear black, or dark clothes; keep their distance from the people, and declared ‘war’ on all Pagan and Celtic religious (spiritual) practices.” Stock image
At the 1850 Synod of Thurles, called by Archbishop Paul Cullen, he ordered: “That priests were to wear black, or dark clothes; keep their distance from the people, and declared ‘war’ on all Pagan and Celtic religious (spiritual) practices.” Stock image
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Thanks to all for the important discussion on spirituality. At the 1850 Synod of Thurles, called by Archbishop Paul Cullen, he ordered: “That priests were to wear black, or dark clothes; keep their distance from the people, and declared ‘war’ on all Pagan and Celtic religious (spiritual) practices.”

More than likely this instruction to the clergy, to keep distant from the people, led to the dilemma in which the Catholic Church found itself embroiled in recent times.

Spirituality is not one thing alone, but in essence is the entire body and soul reaching out and seeking a godhead, to which each of us is fully entitled to participate in through faith, hope and charity.

That we have free will to accept or reject God is for me not treated with the importance it should be, by the Catholic Church. For this is the beginning of the acceptance of the spirit into the body and soul.

The recent New York trial of drug “lord” Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, with his quest for power, sex, and money, illustrates a person empty of spirituality; his sole focus, seeking material things. Things that, like a heroin addict, only provide momentary enjoyment and an insatiable desire; a desire that will never bring contentment.

For those, who are spiritual, and those who seek it, a good and important book is the recently re-issued ‘The Mystical Imagination of Patrick Kavanagh: A Buttonhole in Heaven’ by Sister Una Agnew SSL.

Written in plain English, Una Agnew leads the reader on a most enjoyable and learning journey. Una’s personal philosophy illustrates clearly why the Roman Catholic Church needs female priests and married clergy in its ranks.

The above book will also endorse Sean O’Brien’s idea of the importance of literature in the main to spirituality. Another great writer on spirituality was the late John O’Donoghue, in particular his book ‘Anam Cara/Soul Friend’.

The day Rome left the Orthodoxy of the Eastern Church was the day clericalism began displacing spirituality in the Roman Catholic Church. When the Irish Hierarchy set up Maynooth Seminary, it dived headlong into clericalism by separating from the European Seminaries.

Spirituality is akin to reading Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ – you allow it “to swim over you”. Sometimes, we do need to visit spiritual places, not for renewal but to remind ourselves of the wondrous thing it is to be a human being, replete with faults, failings, and human error, allied to the important need to forgive and be forgiven. But also that we must never stop seeking, nor using, the talents God gave each of us.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Heard the one about the Irish lad who chose to be English?

Regarding the Declan Rice row: So we won’t see Rice in Paddy fields!

Ted Cronin

Tralee, Co Kerry

You may need treatment after final cost of hospital is shown

The Sydney Opera House cost $102m, 15 times the original estimate.

When it was revealed the final bill for Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall was €866m, 11 times the original estimate, waves of schadenfreude swept across Europe.

Doctors have an even greater ability to extract money from the public purse. The cost of Vienna General Hospital rose 60-fold from a projected €72m to €4.5bn by the time the first patient was admitted.

The final bill for the National Children’s Hospital may cause nervous shock.

Dr John Doherty

Vienna, Austria

Only answer we can give the UK on Brexit backstop is ‘No’

Brexit is one of the most significant political declarations made in Europe since WWII. One of the members of the EU, one of the most powerful and richest countries in the world, has declared economic war on nearly 30 other democracies with which it had signed a treaty to co-operate in matters of mutual interest.

From an Irish point of view Brexit is significant since, in addition to its economic costs, it virtually tore up an international agreement – the Good Friday Agreement – the UK signed with this country to draw a line under both of our colonial pasts.

When Ireland states these facts it gets the riposte from political and media circles in London that Paddy should know his place and should shut his gob.

Given the significance of Brexit in European and Irish terms the answer to that has to be ‘No’.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Irish Independent

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