Letters to the Editor

Remember the door of the Catholic Church swings both way

The result of the recent referendum has caused a stir in relation to Catholic voters’ relationship with the Catholic Church. So, what does it mean to be a Catholic? It means that I have been baptised into the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. With St Paul I can say ‘I live, now not I but Christ living in me.’ (Gal.2:20).
The teaching of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of all human life is not some arbitrarily-concocted idea. Through baptism my life is no longer my life solely. I no longer live for myself but for Christ and for others.  

All human life is eternal. There was never a moment when any of us didn’t exist – we are eternally all part of God’s eternal loving plan. So, the argument about when life begins in the womb is, for a Catholic, totally irrelevant. For a Catholic, all human life is not only sacred but eternal. 

The other cornerstone tenet in teaching of the Catholic Church is the call of Christ to love God and love my neighbour as I love myself.

To love God means I love all that God loves. God creates all He loves, He loves eternally all He creates. So, as a Catholic, my fundamental call is to love all life (including life in the womb) because, in so doing, I love God. To exclude anyone– especially in the context of abortion – raises serious issues. 

The Catholic Church’s teaching on ‘neighbour’ includes everyone. In the parable of The Final Judgment, Christ makes it abundantly clear who my neighbour is –  the hungry, naked, imprisoned etc.– i.e. the marginalised.

In this case, the marginalised is the unborn baby. So, Christ and the Catholic Church teach that all life is Christ-filled. Thus, to vote for or to deliberately involve myself, in full knowledge and full consent, in abortion poses serious questions for me and my relationship with Christ and the Catholic Church.

So, where do I stand if I am to be true to myself, respectful of the fundamental teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church, and not be a source of scandal. The honest thing for me is to walk quietly away. I shouldn’t look upon it as something the Church is forcing me do – it is the natural outworking of a personal fundamental option on a fundamental

issue. I use my God-given freedom to move on.

Christ, in His lifetime, experienced people walking away. He loves us so much He let’s us move on.

However, the door of the Catholic Church swings both ways reflecting the great mercy parables. I may return, I may not. But, the door will swing the other way if I do return – or I may be met halfway. 

Randalstown, Co Antrim


Campaign to save lives will continue as vigorously as ever

I agree wholeheartedly with views expressed by Gerard Herdman –’Ashamed to Irish after result of referendum’ (May 31) – on the shameful outcome of the recent abortion referendum in the Republic and the obscenity of the street celebrations which followed. 
How could Irish people stoop so low? Ireland has indeed lost her moral compass judging by the sheer scale of the electorate who voted away all human rights for the unborn child.

No sooner were the results of the referendum declared than we had the clamour to legalise abortion in the north. Why are so many political leaders and representatives of the media so intent on facilitating something which is so intrinsically cruel, damaging for the mother and fatal for the infant? They must stop interfering with our laws in the north which offer best possible protection for mother and baby.

Having watched many pre-referendum debates I was impressed by the integrity of the many medical people who vowed to use their services and expertise to protect both mother and unborn child. One doctor put it succinctly by simply saying that when a pregnant woman comes to see her, she is dealing with two [or more] patients. I also admire the courage of those brave women who came forward to tell the world how much they regretted their abortions.

Other powerful human stories of precious moments, hours or days spent by parents with their very ill babies, born with life-limiting conditions, failed to convince the public that it can be rewarding to let nature take its course and have these babies acknowledged as citizens.

For the 30 per cent who voted to retain the Eighth Amendment and their pro-life supporters in the north the campaign to save lives will continue as vigorously as ever.

Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh


Not a good enough reason to vote DUP

While I understand the strong feelings of Gerard Herdman (May 31) regarding the outcome of the Abortion Referendum in the Republic, and I share his pro-life beliefs and his revulsion at the future deaths of unborn children, I cannot believe that he could consider ever voting with the DUP simply because of their religious objections to abortion.

He claims to be Irish so how can he forget the constant ridiculing of his language by the DUP, with their cries of ‘curry my yoghurt’ and ‘crocodiles’? How can he forget the oppression of Catholics and denial of their rights in this generation and previous generations by political unionism?

The DUP  will always consider nationalists as ‘other’ and less than them in so many ways.
So, while I also share their distaste for abortion, a view shared not only by religious Catholics, to suggest that it alone is a good enough reason to vote for the DUP, a party that would perpetuate inequality for many including those in the north professing to be Irish, and supported the denial of their right to be Irish in their own country for many decades, is an abhorrent idea and I would urge Mr Herdman to reconsider.

A valid stance by the DUP on one issue cannot redress their invalid stances on very many more.

Belfast BT9


Volunteers key to Oxfam success

I would like to take this opportunity during Volunteers’ Week (June to 7)) to recognise the personal contribution made to Oxfam Ireland by our wonderful volunteers and, on behalf of the organisation, to say thank you.

Their valuable time and expertise gives us the opportunity and resource to continue to deliver support to those in greatest need across the world. Their effort here in Northern Ireland has an enormous impact on countless lives, families and communities fleeing conflict or trying to lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

Right now, the world is facing unprecedented levels of hunger as drought, disaster, famine and conflict threaten the lives of millions of people. 20 million people across East Africa – more than three times the population of the island of Ireland – are facing severe hunger, surviving only on what they can find to eat.

Oxfam is on the ground, providing those suffering with life-saving aid including clean water, food and other essentials.

Our response is only made possible because of the fantastic support of Oxfam Ireland volunteers, in our shops, offices and at events. That is why we in Oxfam Ireland recognise volunteers are the key to our success and why we are committed to ensuring the volunteer experience is positive and enjoyable.

Any readers who can help by volunteering please email volunteer@oxfamireland or call (028) 9023 0220Yours

Chief Executive, Oxfam Ireland

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