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Dear Sir....Readers' views (04/6/2016)

Your letters, your views.

High time for TP O’Mahony to look again at Humanae Vitae

I read with interest TP O’Mahony’s article concerning the Catholic Church and contraception (Irish Examiner, May 30).

Humanae Vitae is an old chestnut of his, occurring in various articles over the decades as he castigated the Church or offers her advice. I think that the following three points would be helpful to his deliberations on the matter.

Firstly, Catholics are a people who have answered Jesus Christ’s calling to “Repent and believe the Good News” (Mark 1;15).

Hence, to be a Catholic is to have personally discovered through experience that following one’s own plan in life or one advocated by the world inevitably brings abject dissatisfaction, just as is so excellently portrayed in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15). Only following God’s plan brings happiness, (John 14;27) and we love him by keeping his commandments (1 John 5;3).

To know his commandments, we turn to his people, and it has been emphatically, definitively, and consistently taught over the past 3,000 years by the people of God that it is immoral to inhibit the total self-giving involved in the marital (sexual) act. To do so is to dissociate oneself from participating fully in God’s plan for oneself, one’s family and society in general; it is to doubt God’s love.

Secondly, faith rests upon agreement between what we consider revelation and what is known through reason (Acts 26;25).

Accordingly, we ought to be able to verify the truth of various predictions made in that document for, as Jesus put it, “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7;16).

How correctly Pope Paul IV’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae says, “the natural law declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary” (Section 5).

Is it not high time that commentators who were so forceful in lambasting, dismissing and ridiculing it, (Luke 10;16; John 17;14) admit that they got things terribly wrong, and that Humanae Vitae is the most important Christian document since the New Testament?

Thirdly, It is practical, eminently doable. As Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matthew 11;30).

For those who are in dire situations, of exhaustion, medical complication, poverty, etc. there is available to them fertility monitoring techniques which enhance the sense of togetherness for the married couple, as they postpone conceiving in a natural way until circumstances are more favourable (Section 16). Many couple-to-couple based organisations have grown up to offer support and all the information necessary to successfully live in harmony with the natural rhythm of one’s body and the demands of one’s circumstances.

Humanae Vitae is totally Christian in character, prophetic and the source of extraordinary joy for all who place their trust in our heavenly father. And he always surpasses our deepest longings.

Gearóid Duffy
Caretaker’s House
Lee Road

We need to work at preventing addiction

The drugs problem is a cancer eating away at the very heart of our society and destroying the lives of thousands of our young people.

Those who push drugs on them are the greatest scourge in our communities and deserve nothing but the appropriate punishment to meet the crimes they are committing against society.

They are destroying the lives of many of our young people.

There is a close correlation between drug use and crime. The fact that heroin users in this country are three times more likely than non-users to have been arrested for robbery or assault speaks volumes.

While rehabilitation clinics and centres for recovering addicts, etc. have a vital role to play, greater emphasis must be placed on preventive measures. Surely, it would be more effective to prevent young people becoming hooked on drugs rather than having to treat them afterwards with all the associated problems such as drug related crime. National guidelines similar to those for the juvenile liaison system would be especially effective in this regard. We need to adopt a special approach to prevent young people from developing a drug habit.

In addition, we need to provide more specialist facilities separate from adult facilities. It is not helpful if young people experimenting with drugs or addicted to them end up in the same treatment facilities as adults. It is important that we have coordination between all forces, the Garda, the Navy, Army and Customs. We have not been giving this problem the priority it deserves and unless we do so, lives will continue to be destroyed. If we put our minds to tackling this problem, there is no reason we cannot succeed in turning the tide against this terrible trade.

Cllr Noel Collins
St Jude’s
Co Cork

Central Bank should stand up to vultures

One of our major banks ( Ulster Bank) has said it is selling on mortgages that are in arrears to foreign vulture funds. The bank has claimed that mortgages affected are still protected by the Central Banks Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears. This is not so. There is no such protection as these vulture funds do not have the approval of the Central Bank.

The banks are selling on these loans at a discount of 60% to 70%. So if one has a mortgage of €200,000, this will be sold for approximately €60,000. However, the vulture funds will still hound the unfortunate mortgage holder for the full amount. The Central Bank could stop this in the morning, but refuses to do so. I innocently thought that the Central Bank was there to regulate the banks and protect our citizens from from the insatiable greed of the bankers, but the exact opposite is the case.

Mike Mahon
45 Kilvere Park
Dublin 6

Zoos capture and kill wild animals

Yet again, captivity has taken an animal’s life. The latest victim is a 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe, gunned down after a young boy managed to crawl through a fence before falling into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Of course, we’ll never know what would have happened if the zoo hadn’t shot Harambe, but we do know that if he hadn’t been locked up to serve as a high-earning living exhibit, this incident would never have occurred. We also know that most zoos don’t have reintroduction programmes – which means that if Harambe had not been gunned down on Saturday, he would eventually have died in his cell in Ohio, thousands of miles from where he belonged. Zoos put the con in “conservation” by hoodwinking the public into believing that something meaningful is being done for these animals, when the salvation of endangered species lies in habitat conservation, not a life spent behind bars. The message everyone should take away from this story is simple — don’t give zoos your money, and eventually, they’ll have to stop imprisoning, and killing, animals.

Jennifer White
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Society
Building 8 All Saints St
London N1 9RL

Beard rash

A recent report from a university in Sweden stated that men without beards carry more infections than those who do. Ladies please take note.

Tony Moriarty
6 Shanid Road
Harold’s Cross
Dublin 6

Question marks over water exemption

There were shades of ‘Roma locuta causa finita’ — Rome has spoken, the matter is finished — in the editorial ‘Reality check — EU rules on water charges’ (June 1).

It gives the impression that because the European Commission has declared Ireland ‘does not enjoy an exemption from EU obligations to establish a system of water charges’ that that is the end of the matter.

This, however, is far from the full picture. Ireland was not obliged to introduce water charges because the relevant European law gave us a derogation to do so as such charges were not established practice.

Given that the EU put great pressure on Ireland to introduce water charges, it is not surprising that it would now try to assert that the establishment of Irish Water brought that derogation to an end. But Europe’s assertion that it does far from finishes the matter.

Various questions still arise. Can our recently set up and fitfully applied system be considered established practice under any reasonable definition of the term?

Does the manner in which Ireland operated the system — a notional bill by way of metering, offset by way of a grant, and limited by way of a cap — actually fall under what was envisaged by water charges under EU law?

And can the establishment of any system, long after the relevant EU legislation came into effect, act to remove our derogation under that law?

These questions and more are still to be answered.

Until they are, the EU can say all it wants. The matter is far from finished.

Revd Patrick G Burke
Co Kilkenny

Hospital needs space to grow in future

The question of relocation of Children’s Hospital has been an ongoing topic for many years.

While I am not qualified to comment on the medical requirements I do have significant experience in identifying locations and establishing mission headquarters in various countries throughout the world.

Two things in particular I would look for — space and access, bearing in mind evacuation.

Experience has shown me more and more space is needed as time goes by, so expansion must be provided for.

A case in point is Cork Regional Hospital.

When originally opened, there appeared to be lots of spare space. The hospital even had a helicopter landing facility. Look at the area now and the expansion that has taken place, resulting in loss of helicopter landing pad.

In my opinion, building a hospital in a city centre area is not practical, primarily due to lack of space for expansion and difficulties relating to access.

Michael A. Moriarty


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