Letters to the Editor

Transubstantiation is entirely accepted by faith alone

The dispute between Fr McCafferty (May 2) and Rev Peter McIntyre (May 7) about the Mass is of great interest to me both as a Catholic and as a scientist.

I believe in the real presence of Jesus in transubstantiated bread and wine, but have always thought about the nature of the change since the whole of the bread becomes the living body of Christ and the whole of the wine is living blood. I also believe that Jesus is again present with us in multi-location in space-time as the whole of His person, so that we literally eat and drink Him. However, the change is invisible to all scientific tests. Furthermore, when the appearances and scientific properties of bread and wine disappear the body and blood of Jesus also depart and the atoms and molecules remaining go back into the common pool of matter in the universe. Thus transubstantiation is entirely accepted by faith alone, but the scientist in me still ponders about the words of Jesus in St John’s Gospel (6:51-59): “I am the living bread come down from heaven.” This living bread is His flesh and the living wine is His blood which give us and the world eternal life.

After many years thinking about original sin (Genesis 3), which is now a huge problem in theology in the light of evolution, I arrived at a novel answer to the theology problem which also answers my difficulty about the invisible change in transubstantiation. The whole of creation is permeated by natural evil right back to the big bang, the beginning of space-time and then by moral evil also, when rational homo sapiens emerged. Everything, emanates matter-energy, then life form and finally bodies and souls in humanity, seems to be blemished by original sin, so how could a historical Adam and Eve be responsible (CCC 390)? Justifying God for a blemished creation is the theology problem which was greatly discussed at a Vatican conference on evolution in 2009.

The only two persons in humanity who are always immaculate in souls and bodies are Jesus and Mary.  
All others in humanity committed original sin and are blemished, as is all matter-energy which we dynamically share with each other in the whole universe. This is only possible if original sin happened in the transcendental realm of God, so Eden is a state of being, not a place on earth. The transcendental state is above space-time but space-time is the fallen state of distorted reality due to sin. Ordinary bread is blemished by original sin, but in transubstantiation the blemish is removed and the living bread is immediately the living flesh of Jesus. All immaculate matter-energy is rightfully alive with immortal life, so in the Eucharist Jesus is simultaneously present in heaven and on earth.

The “I am” description of being, used by God to reply to Moses, is evidence for me of the true transcendental nature of humanity never lost by them but it’s glory freely given up to live on earth with us.

Belfast BT9


Alex Kane wide of Brexit mark but not by much

Alex Kane (May 18) thinks that because the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland refuses to impose direct rule we have: ‘Not poor government. Not weak government. Not even pretend government. Just a massively subsidised farce which makes a banana republic look like a model of stability and democracy’.

However, modern historians will recognise a common thread being played out in Northern Ireland that is all too commonplace among post-colonial states.

Again and again we have seen governments overthrown and their leaders seek refuge overseas in a safe haven from whence they can agitate to be reinstated.

Having apparently abandoned all hope of preserving unionist hegemony in the Northern Ireland Assembly the DUP appears to be desperately trying to establish a unionist government-in-exile in London.

It can easily be argued that Conservatives are strenuously trying to stop the DUP’s leader-in-exile, Nigel Dodds, from establishing his proxy government in Westminster.

Alex made an astute observation that Theresa May’s statement that a border poll held in NI might not be won by unionists was targeted at NI unionists and not Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The Brexiteers referred to by Alex campaigned to leave the EU so that the £10 billion annual membership fee could instead be spent on the NHS.

That £10b provided access to a market of 500 million consumers, which works out at £20 per consumer.

In contrast the £11bn annual subvention paid by Westminster to Northern Ireland buys access to only 1.8 million consumers, or £6,112 each per annum.

It seems unlikely then that Brexiteers would campaign to keep the more expensive ‘union’ with Northern Ireland when they had already ditched the more lucrative European Union, don’t you think?

It’s almost as if the British government are preparing us for some bad news.

Belfast BT9


United Ireland will be with us eventually

As a lover of myths and legends and often seeing their parallels in modern life, I am increasingly reminded each time I hear from the present DUP hierarchy, of the legend of ‘King Canute and the tide’ – that is the story of him futilely trying to resist change by holding back the sea.

In the DUP’s case  such resistance seems to consist of an increasingly loud denial of the impending Catholic majority – as if shouting ‘No’ loudly enough will suddenly make it disappear. It won’t, therefore I expect to be treated to similar performances over the coming years each time a united Ireland is mooted, as if by the DUP shouting even louder the rising Catholic population will suddenly diminish and/or we will all miraculously decide to support remaining in the union that is the UK, as believers of another myth, that of the mysterious ‘unicorn’ – the Catholic who would prefer to remain within the UK, would also like us to believe.

At the risk of stating the obvious, real life has a habit of dealing sharply with such myths and legends. A nationalist voting majority will be here within years  and there are few if any unicorns around other than in anecdotes, therefore a united Ireland will be with us eventually and no amount of shouting by the DUP will make it go away.

All that their shouting and threats of emigration (Arlene Foster) will serve to do is make their voter base unnecessarily and wrongly worried about their future in a united Ireland – a future in which they will most certainly have nothing to fear and in which they will play a large and important part.

Belfast BT7


Defining ‘culture’

According to the Oxford Dictionary culture means;

1) The arts, customs and institutions of a nation, people, or group.

2) The arts and intellectual achievements regarded as a whole.

3) A refined understanding or appreciation of culture.

Could someone please tell me how setting fire to a pile of wood and tyres is deemed by some people as ‘culture’?

Newry, Co Down


Health now a commodity

What has become clear that the commodification of our health care system has brought about its poor performances in the various crisis which have engulfed it lately and over many years. Thankfully we have wonderful nurses and other professionals who mind us daily.  Can we now discuss how health is now a commodity to be traded and all that is rotten with that?

Clondalkin, Dublin 22

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Letters to the Editor