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Due to space constraints, please keep correspondence below 250 words, longer letters may be published online
Passing on the faith has just got harder
SIR – I was a little heartened to read Tim Stanley’s article, “When Catholics feel betrayed” (July 27). It has become extremely difficult, as a practising Catholic mother of adult children, to defend the Church teachings in the light of the seemingly never-ending catalogue of clerical abuse against young children and students.
My granddaughter made her first Holy Communion in June, dressed in white on a beautiful sunny day. Her father is not a Catholic and my daughter has been practising again since the children were born. The family recently visited Ampleforth Abbey on the day prior to the news release of the horrendous crimes committed there, and they were all shocked.
As well as the dreadful crimes to those children in the care of the priests and brothers, there has been unimaginable abuse to the souls of the Catholic community, particularly to those whose faith is fragile and those returning to the Church.
My faith is my life and I wanted nothing more than for my family to enjoy that gift. In the present climate it is harder than ever to hand the faith on.
Stockport, Greater Manchester
Even some doctors don’t grasp diabetes
SIR – With reference to Mary Kenny’s piece about Theresa May and her diabetes (July 20), I would like to correct the assumptions made by the doctor to whom she spoke.
One of my sons was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was a little boy, nearly 30 years ago. What surprised us then, and continues to do so, is the lack of knowledge about the disease and its treatment among so many people, particularly doctors.
Type 1 diabetics usually have four injections a day, three of which provide insulin to cope with their meals and one enabling low, 24-hour background cover. With so many injections, patients have to vary the site of the jabs and thus the doctor’s assertion that jabs would be in just one place is incorrect.
The white patch is in fact the Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System. This wonderful new invention obviates the need for “pin-cushion” fingers: pin-pricking for blood testing a number of times a day.
The patch is worn all the time to monitor blood sugar levels and, by passing one’s mobile phone across it at regular intervals, blood sugar results are stored for the patient to keep a check and are also transmitted to their specialist diabetic units. Unfortunately, the new system is very expensive and so currently only available to a few people.
Lastly, and most importantly, there is ignorance about treatment for low blood sugar levels. Some people think that if a diabetic collapses they need insulin. It is not then insulin they require but sugar as putting more insulin into the system could be extremely damaging. It is right to say that increased activity can cause low blood sugar but it can also be the result of too much insulin. Getting the balance of insulin, food and activity levels right is tricky.
I hope you will not mind my bringing all this to your attention but it is important for as many people as possible to understand this very serious disease.
Grace changed us
SIR – Following Patrick Mitchell’s letter (August 17), I write of our experience in all humility.
My husband and I married in 1964 and, like him, he had just begun his studies. By the end of his degree in 1968, just as Humanae Vitae was published, we had four children under two and a half. We read it and pondered it and, like him, decided with a clear conscience that the Church was perhaps right but could not possibly understand our situation in our precariousness of career and money, and we also decided to practise artificial birth control.
For a variety of reasons, which I will not now go into, but essentially through the promptings of the Holy Spirit, nine years later, we resumed marital relations according to the teaching of the Church with fear and trepidation. What followed this risk in faith is something that I feel was never taught or emphasised when the encyclical was published: that in the difficulties of trying to be faithful to the teaching of the Church God would come to meet us, make himself known to us and provide for us in all our needs and problems through the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage.
No thunderbolt hit us in the first half of our marriage: we coped well and lived happily, but the second half was unimaginably enriched by God’s presence, grace and munificence. He became for us in all the joys and difficulties of further pregnancies and larger family life a real, tangible and loving Father.
How I wish that the encyclical had been presented not in terms of rules to be obeyed or not, but as an opportunity to partake of the mysteries of grace which God has prepared and has ready to give to those who allow Him.
A man of our time
SIR – This week we went to see the film Pope Francis: A Man of His Word and, on returning home, read again KV Turley’s critique of the film (Cinema,
August 10). We see Pope Francis as very much our spiritual leader, yet at the same time he is a very influential world leader. He is a global humanitarian, and director Wim Wenders illustrates this role throughout the film with great effect. Pope Francis’s meetings with world leaders, both spiritual and political, were well reported. His visit to the US Congress was highlighted to such a degree that in response to his address he
received a standing ovation.
Further, the filming of the refugee crisis, the seriousness of climate change, the environment and other world problems all emphasise the need for us to pray for a better world – a world of hope and love, to quote Pope Francis.
Yes, Pope Francis has a dual role as spiritual leader and a world leader. And he is setting the pace for other world leaders to follow. He is a man of our time. We hope and pray that his words will not fall on stony ground.
Anthony and Tina Belderbos
SIR – This bold mission to develop the national shrine at Walsingham is welcome (Cover story, August 10). Its importance during the Tudor reign is celebrated in the work of William Byrd (c 1540-1623). This greatest of Elizabethan composers wrote one of his most outstanding keyboard works, titled Walsingham. Byrd was organist and master of the choristers at Lincoln Cathedral from 1563 to 1570.
It is thought the the original ballade was written earlier than 1538 before the Priory was destroyed. John Bull (1562-1628), another famous Elizabethan
composer, taught by Byrd, wrote his version of the Walsingham ballade. Both Bull and Byrd’s works are in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book in Cambridge.