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Irish society has lost its heart and soul
SIR – Tears filled my eyes as I prayed the rosary during the result of the Irish referendum. Ireland has made its choice and voted to reject the fundamental right to life of the youngest and most vulnerable human beings. When a society decides to allow the killing of its children for the convenience of adults, it loses its very heart and soul. Ireland was once a world leader in recognising the fundamental right to life of the preborn child and a country with one of the lowest maternal mortality rates. All of this will change now.
In the years to come when abortion statistics are released for Ireland and we see that thousands of preborn children have been needlessly killed, will those who voted Yes hold their heads high and proudly say “I helped to make this happen”? When women die from complications from the abortion procedure will Yes voters hold their heads high and proudly say “I helped to make this happen”? When post-abortive women are suffering from the heartbreaking and horrific impact of abortion on their mental and physical health will Yes voters hold their heads high and say “I helped to make this happen”?
This may sound like scaremongering, but it’s not. All of this is already happening, as we speak, in every other country that has legalised abortion. Ireland is just the latest nation to embrace the culture of death.
As the Save the 8th campaign said in its statement, “What Irish voters did … is a tragedy of historic proportions. However, a wrong does not become right simply because a majority support it.” Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his or her existence, a human being must be recognised as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
Protecting this life is one of the noblest tasks of the state. If a state evades its responsibility, it undermines the foundations of a rule of law, and that is the situation now in Ireland. During Ireland’s last referendum campaign for so-called same-sex marriage the oft-used slogan was “equality for all”. Not now it seems. Where is the equality for Ireland’s preborn children?
Comfort in death from a kind nurse
SIR – Five months ago, my beloved father went to be with God. He succumbed to Parkinson’s and in his final days in hospital, I, marooned 200 miles away, felt utterly helpless to minister to his soul. Sadly he died before the chaplaincy team was able to visit.
It was therefore poignant to read Sohrab Ahmari’s moving, insightful tale of how the power of both the Blessed Mother and Pope Benedict comforted his dying grandmother (Cover story, May 25).
My father was a devout High Anglican for whom the rosary was an essential part of his daily devotions. I draw comfort from knowing that, in his final hours, before I arrived, an Indian Catholic nurse on duty that night silently recited the rosary and broke NHS rules by making a Sign of the Cross on his forehead – a man whom she didn’t know and knew wasn’t a Roman Catholic.
A few minutes before his breathing finally stopped, in the stillness of a hospital room, both she and I felt the gentle flutter of angels’ wings bearing him home.
My legendary father
SIR – It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the death of my father, Kevin Heneghan.
Dad was a frequent contributor to several publications, not least the Herald, and would offer his views, knowledge and advice on a wide range of matters, from the Turin Shroud to online Masses. He was always thrilled to see his letter or article included in any publication and would await the responses and reactions from other readers.
Dad’s incredible breadth of knowledge, particularly in matters pertaining to the Catholic Church, was legendary and respected far and wide. Over these last few days, while informing people and organisations of his truly peaceful death, members of our family have listened with gratitude to anecdotes of the effect Dad had on so many lives. His reach has been quite remarkable.
Dad’s writings and commentary have been a support to so many, encouraging those who felt as though they were losing their understanding and commitment to their faith, challenging those who were in danger of leading the faithful along a treacherous path, uplifting those who needed to hear that their thoughts were indeed the right thoughts to have regarding the true faith, and showing humility, insofar as he did not recognise just how much people listened to his view.
Deacon Peter Heneghan
St Helens, Lancashire
SIR – It is true that boring preaching does not attract people to Mass, as Peter Regelous says (Letter, May 25). However, I wonder whether the time of the midweek Mass that Mr Regelous attended might have more convincingly explained why, at 71, he was the youngest member of the congregation.
Outside London, it is extremely rare for people in full-time employment to be able to get to daily Mass, because appropriately timed Masses simply don’t exist. In the whole of Greater Manchester I know of only once place that reliably has Mass before work: in the Oratory at Cheetham Hill, at 7am. Yet if you are a pensioner, you have a good array of choices every day.
A similar attenuation of provision increasingly affects Confession. I know of one parish, which the Year of Mercy evidently passed by, which offers 20 minutes of Confession once a month on a Sunday. For a parish of 250 people, that equates to an average of about a minute of confessional time per person per annum.
As the laws and practices that govern society become increasingly hostile to the common good, we might ask ourselves why we should expect anything more from such a spiritually starved population.
Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire
A poor example
SIR – In an age when respect for the full dignity of human life has been on the decline for years, a vote to legitimise the killing of the unborn is hardly surprising.
We say we cannot understand it when teenagers carry knives and use them to murder those they don’t like, but how can we convince them that human life is sacred and to be treasured when they know of the daily product of the abortion clinics, or they hear those notables who want to end the lives of the old and sick in the name of humanity?
It is not hard to link the beginning of the regular carnage in American schools with the changing attitudes to life in that country. It never happened before. If our society wants its young to grow up respecting the right of others to life then it is society itself that needs to lead by example.