The Immaculate Conception is a living idea in the mind of God
In several previous letters I urged Christians and especially theologians, to think of creation beginning at transcendental level, and not in space-time. Thus we began as one great idea, a union of many ideas, in the mind of God and the fallen idea is actualised in the finite state of space-time. Original sin is then a transcendental rebellion of the original great idea against the divine will. It was/is entirely good, but when tempted by Satan became good mixed wit evil, the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
There is one powerful piece of evidence that his correct. When Our Lady appeared to St Bernadette at Lourdes she said: “I am the Immaculate Conception” and not, “I was immaculately conceived”.
The ‘I am’ name was first used by God in reply to Moses showing that He is a transcendental being, above space-time. Jesus in the Gospels, especially that by St John, often used the “I am” name as well: Before Abraham was I am; I am the living bread; I am the way, the truth and the life etc.
We are not surprised by this because Jesus is the divine human, as the second person in the trinity, but while as one person can He be using the I am name for His divinity but not for His humanity?
Our Lady is entirely human, so if she is using the ‘I am’ name, this means that she is saying that her immaculate humanity is always transcendental.
She is first the only idea in the one great living original idea of creation which, entirely human, resisted Satan’s temptation in Eden. The only other idea which is always immaculate in that of her son, Jesus.
These two freely accepted God’s will to be conceived and live in the fallen space-time world with us in this valley of tears, in order that we be redeemed.
They freely accepted to be emptied of the glory of true transcendental reality but never lost it, as we all did, through original sin. Therefore, they can always us the ‘I am’ name, because all immaculate being is rightfully transcendental, belonging to paradise.
The Immaculate Conception is from all eternity a living idea in the mind of God but then actualised in St Anne’s womb.
Prof JOHN ROONEY
The smart unionist money has already fled Northern Ireland
Brian Feeney’s encomium for Peter Robinson (13 June) doesn’t stand up to even cursory scrutiny.
Brian thinks the ‘British and Irish governments and at least Sinn Féin and the DUP’ must be involved in planning for a ‘united Ireland’ – but why? DUP leader, Arlene Foster, has already indicated she will flee a united Ireland and so her commitment, and that of her fellow fleeing party members, is likely to be less than enthusiastic.
In response to Ms Foster’s admission other unionists let rip with ‘No Surrender’, which would carry more weight had they not already one toe in the water ready for a quick dash across the Irish Sea to safety should the dreaded day occur.
At the time of the 1998 Good Friday or Belfast Agreement David Trimble’s unionism had a solid 60:40 lead and yet the DUP have magically dissipated that overwhelming lead during the intervening years.
As I have observed previously in these pages the smart unionist money has already fled Northern Ireland and British government statistics indicate there is a pipeline of just 30 per cent odd Protestants coming through Northern Ireland schools, which will see a collapse in unionist votes.
Why would unionists trust those in the DUP who had brought about this state of affairs to negotiate on their behalf? It can instead be argued that after a border referendum only those that remain in Northern Ireland should have any say in negotiating the outcome.
Also, the European Union will be the overlords at that point and the views of London or Dublin of little real consequence. The numbers really aren’t there for a united Ireland but an independent Northern Ireland within the EU is more readily achievable with support from both unionists and nationalists, and it is arguably the current default outworking from Brexit given the Northern Ireland electorate voted to remain in the EU but have not at this time voted for a united Ireland. The challenge, if such it be, is for unionists to convert nationalists in Northern Ireland into Northern Ireland nationalists.
The SDLP’s continued refusal to engage in politics south of the border means this might be more achievable than hitherto thought.
BERNARD J MULHOLLAND
Limbo not a doctrine of the Church
‘The history of the Catholic Church and abortion is convoluted’ claims Danny Treacy (June 11). It is nothing of the sort. From the earliest times, based upon the revealed Will of God, abortion has been understood as a violation of the commandment ‘you shall not commit murder’ (Exodus 20:13).
We know today, with scientific advancements, what St Augustine could not possibly have known in the fifth century AD – that human life begins at the moment of conception. To deliberately destroy any life is to sin against our Creator.
Mr Treacy also refers to Limbo. This theory was always only a theological idea. Limbo was never a doctrine of the Church. The Church entrusts infants who die without baptism to the infinite mercy of God.
God’s merciful kindness is beyond all human comprehension and imagining. We have no doubt whatsoever that God, who desires the salvation of everyone He creates (1 Timothy 2:4), has a way to bring such children safely to His presence forever.
The Church’s influence in society may be waning as Mr Treacy opines. Influence or no influence – the Church has a mission from the Lord to which it must be faithful and for which it is answerable to Him finally.
A crucial part of that mission, in modern-day Ireland, is to oppose the injustice of abortion. From that stance we cannot retreat and for it we make no apology.
Fr PATRICK McCAFFERTY
Children in poverty
When Theresa May became prime minister she promised to help the JAMs – the Just About Managing families. Many of these are families, where both parents work but with low wages and high child care and housing costs, are struggling.
It is reckoned that there are three million children in the UK living in poverty. Food banks are overstretched.
Does the general public realise that the government has capped Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit so there is no increase for the third or subsequent child unless it is born as a result of rape?
This means that parents applying for Child Tax Credit are confronted with questions about rape.
When a third child was born recently to members of the Royal Family, there was discussion about the advantages of being in a three-child family.
There was little mention of the financial hardship caused by the government cap on Child Tax Credit.
The one child policy in China caused severe social problems. In the UK there is a growing elderly population who will need support from the working age population.
There will be fewer EU and overseas migrants to fill the gaps in the labour market so we should be encouraging larger families, not penalising them.