Letters to the Editor

Problem with Original Sin becoming more and more acute

Fr Patrick McCafferty (May 16) states that Our Lord gave His Church authority to act and teach in His name, and He guaranteed that teaching would be preserved from error. How far does the idea of infallibility extend? I accept the doctrine of Original Sin, but not the way in which it is explained in the Catechism.

Cardinal Ratzinger, when head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), admitted in 1985 that the inability to understand Original Sin is really one of the most difficult problems of present day theology, yet he made no concession in respect of this conclusion when the Catechism (new) was published by the CDF in 1994.

The problem with Original Sin is becoming more and more acute as our knowledge of cosmological and biological evolution increases. The Catechism (CCC 390) states that the Fall (Genesis 3) took place in Eden at the beginning of the history of man. However, we now know that homo sapiens only emerged from animal precursors during the last two million years, yet life has evolved over some five billion years and everything laminate and animate is flawed by natural evil, disorder and pain with death from the beginning. If humanity is not responsible did God create a flawed universe? This is called the theodicy problem of justification of God.
In 2009 at the conference in Rome on Evolution in honour of Darwin the scholars who study the theology of the evolutionary process concluded that instead of looking to the part, an historical Eden, for an answer to the theodicy problem, we should look to the future, eschatology and our transcendental destiny. Many of the process theologians especially in the US, and Jack Malloney SJ in London, discard Original Sin altogether, whereas the late Fr Eamon McMullin, a famous priest-scientist, reared in Donegal, concluded also that a dramatic misinterpretation of Genesis 3 is required but did not attempt an answer. 

It is intriguing that Pope Benedict XVI after his election, stated that each human person begins as an idea in the Divine mind but does not seem to have developed this theologically.  
In 2001 I wrote to him, while still a cardinal to suggest that Adam and Eve are originally universal and personal humanity, many-in-one, with the whole universe as one totally alive immortal body for all.  They are generated as transcendental living knowledge which is non-divine within the divine living knowledge, which is The Word the second person in the Trinity. As one great idea in complete freedom, and tempted by Satan, creation brought knowledge of evil into itself whereas God had willed it to be only good.

Having sinned the fallen idea or knowledge was exiled out of paradise into limit space-time, with disorder, pain and death. There was darnel among the wheat of the good creation from the Big Bang beginning.  Evolution is simply the story of the actualisation of God’s idea of creation from it’s lowest level at the Big Bang.

Theologions in the Church now accept that all doctrine and dogma, while true, require development, as our understanding of the universe, life and evolution, develop. If our young people in this age of rapidly increasing scientific knowledge are not taught this, the tension between faith and reason and the gulf which has opened up between nature and grace will increase even more rapidly, resulting in atheism instead of Christianity among the majority especially in the West.

Prof JOHN ROONEY
Belfast BT9

 

Rosy picture of corporation tax has its flaws

As our political parties start to develop a Programme for Government I cannot but hope that we will start to see a move away from the fantasy and delusion, pedalled by both sides, before we all suffer real damage. On the unionist side we have the ridiculous posturing by the DUP in support of Brexit. Interestingly the recently published NI Labour Force survey noted “the sector with the highest proportion of workers from a Protestant background was agriculture, forestry and fishing”. Most normal political parties try to at least appear to be looking after their own base. In the light of the above it is hard to avoid the image of an idiot sawing away at a tree branch upon which he is sitting. Both main parties appear to view the ability to cut corporation tax like some sort of golden lottery ticket. Apart from the obvious stupidity of buying a lottery ticket I struggle to see how this works. If we lose £200m in the block grant to have this right then to just stand still in revenue terms we need these non-existent businesses to pay tax at 12.5 per cent on profits they earn, and crucially declare, of £1.6bn. The figures get worse when one thinks of sales or turnover. Assuming these mega competitive businesses earn a generous profit margin of 50 per cent it suggests sales of £3.2bn. Who, what and where are these businesses? Other problems arise with this rosy picture, even if some businesses do relocate the only jobs likely to be created will be for rubbing a brass plate in some solicitor’s office. Secondly, the whole notion seems based on the naive belief that other countries such as the Republic will just sit back and do nothing so simple as undercutting either our tax rate or otherwise unrivalled package of incentives. Of course not, but then we, or rather our politicians can dream.

FRANK HENNESSEY
Belfast BT9

 

Amused by response to Carson mural

I was amused by Tomas O Dubhagain’s response (May 16) to my letter regarding the mural of Edward Carson on the Falls Road. I don’t know if he is a member or supporter of Sinn Féin, if not he certainly has their attitude.
He starts off, like them, by accusing anyone who disagrees with him of living in the past. Well I’d rather be a dinosaur than a fool.
He goes on to ask me if I took up the artist Danny Devenney’s offer to explain the reasons behind the mural. Well that answer is no. Why would I do that? His role in all this is to paint a mural on a wall for anyone who pays him and I can assure people they would be shocked how expensive these murals actually are. Finally this man tells us how his (imaginary) unionist friend can’t understand why members of the nationalist community object to a Gaelic-speaking Irishman on the Falls Road.
I don’t care what language Carson spoke, I and others object to this mural because it depicts Carson and his fellow members of a murder gang that slaughtered hundreds of innocent Catholics.  
Maybe he should go up the Shankill Road with his unionist friend and ask them why they haven’t reciprocated.

S CASKEY
Belfast BT5

 

Dismal performance

The performance of the SDLP in the recent elections, can only be described as dismal. To lose one of your big players is bad enough, but to lose your deputy leader is nothing short of a disaster. Then to be in denial, as to why your vote slumped, was just pathetic. They know full well that their policy of promoting homosexuality and gay marriage was the reason that voters deserted them in their thousands. There wasn’t much sympathy in the press either. The two-faced columnists who agreed with the SDLP’s strategy of gay marriage, then proceeded to pour scorn on their epic downfall. Colum Eastwood must take full responsibility as leader for taking the party towards the abyss, and unless someone can reverse the direction this once descent institution is heading, then it will end up like the TUV and UKIP – a total irrelevance.

J DIAMOND
Coleraine, Co Derry 

 

Disaffected Catholics

With regard to Martin O’Brien’ column (May 13) drawing attention to the fact that the combined nationalist vote has fallen from 42 per cent to 38.7 in the Westminster election one year ago with SF and SDLP both supporting redefining of marriage to include same-sex couples and abortion reform. Many Catholics have shown their disaffection by staying at home as neither of these parties represented their views. Nowadays with the word partner being used to describe all sorts of co-habitation these two parties would be advised to take note of the views of Catholics on these important issues – like how best to represent those who voted for them in the past.

WILLIAM AUSTIN
Craigavon, Co Armagh

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