Comment Opinion & Features

Letters: The best argument for large families

Mother Deng Qin and her one-month-old quadruplets (Getty Images)

The best argument for large families

SIR – It is always encouraging to see Colin Brazier waxing lyrical and logical in defence of larger families (Cover story, August 16).

In speculating that above-average fecundity may soon be stigmatised and penalised for “environmental reasons”, he suggests employing sound arguments to justify our position and counter the attack. But he must surely be aware that “over-population” rhetoric and hostile anti-natalist propaganda in media and medical circles have been endemic in Britain for at least 60 years, as any grand-multiparous mother alive today can testify. Against such entrenched prejudice even the most golden-tongued and enlightened arguments cannot hope to cut any ice.

No; the best and only argument that will prevail over this degenerative, nihilistic mentality is to have children oneself, as many as one can afford. Actions speak louder than words; and our children are justification in themselves.

As for predictions, here is one that only numbskull demographers cannot see coming down the track: far fewer of today’s under-60s are going to make old bones like their parents and grandparents have done. In our opulent, infertile, drug-dependent Western world, declining longevity will begin to register noticeably within the next two decades. Just wait and see.
Victoria Gillick

Hong Kong revolts, then and now

SIR – Lucien de Guise (Feature, August 9) cites the 1967 Hong Kong disturbances as an example of “really extreme treatment of Hong Kong demonstrators” and adds that the death toll “was more than 50”.

In fact, 51 people were killed. Of these, 15, including two children (one of whom was killed by a bomb hidden in a doll), died during an indiscriminate bombing campaign waged against the people of Hong Kong by pro-Maoist activists. In addition,10 police officers were killed.

Throughout, the people of Hong Kong gave their support to and expressed their appreciation of the police. They set up and donated generously to a fund to provide for the higher education of the children of police officers.

Mr de Guise claims that the British Adminstration ensured that the people of Hong Kong were not made fully aware of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Hong Kong’s free and very vocal media fully reported the events. I do not recall “heavy-handed” policing at the time. I lived and worked in Hong Kong from 1965 to 1997.
EJ Stevenson
Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire

SIR – The current troubles in Hong Kong remind me of the Hungarian Revolt in the 1950s. The Hungarians were crushed by the Soviet Army, and many died. I was a teenager at the time and remember listening to shortwave calls for help from Hungary.

The British abandonment of Hong Kong was criminal at best, given the nature of communist China and its bloody past.

The Hong Kong people are an industrious, freedom-loving people. The city is beautiful. The people there know what hell the communists have given the Chinese of the mainland. They know a bloodbath is coming if the Chinese army steps in.

We’ve heard nothing from the Vatican about this situation, knowing of the possible bloodbath. The Pope has recently allowed the communist government of the mainland to choose bishops. Poor Joseph Cardinal Zen has spoken out about the

Every Catholic should be praying the rosary for the people of Hong Kong, over and over, until this situation is resolved.
Charles Curry
Mechanicsville, Virginia

How to love Mass

SIR – From my experience of both forms of the Mass, it has to be said that being drawn into the sacredness of the liturgy depends on the priest.

Whichever way the Mass is celebrated, be it in Latin or the vernacular, with great attention to the beauty of the rubrics or with exceptional music, it is still the priest through his own holiness who enables the individual to enter into the mystery of the
Eucharist in a profound way.

Over many decades I have been present at Mass celebrated in Latin and in the vernacular, and my experience of the liturgy as a moment of grace and a deepening of my faith has depended on the priest being present to what he is doing.

In both celebrations I have seen concern over the priest’s regimented adherence to the rubrics, or drawing attention to his own person. Neither of these speak of genuine participation in the sacred mysteries, but take away the full opportunity for grace which should be a natural consequence of being at Mass.

One way to take the Mass seriously, fall in love with it and “enjoy” it, is to have a Missal. The antiphons, Collect, prayers, professions of faith, preface, Eucharistic prayers (especially Prayer IV in the Ordinary Form) tell us everything we need to know about salvation history and consequently our own salvation. Having a Missal also directs our attention fully to what the Mass is all about, rather than depending on the spiritual frame of mind of the priest.

That said, I am fully aware and appreciative of the demands made on our priests to be fully present to what they are doing in the sacred liturgy, especially since they have this responsibility daily and over many years.
Monica Greaves
Carlisle, Cumbria

Hark the angels

SIR – Most letters and news items to Catholic magazines nowadays are either full of complaints or are records of sad events which tend to make for very unhappy reading. I would like to cheer things up a bit by mentioning one of the most comforting aspects of our faith, namely the angels.

I do this because I am reading a marvellous book by Fr John Horgan entitled His Angels at Our Side. I can promise that anybody who reads this book will be cheered up and spiritually encouraged in Holy Church, in their personal lives and in their relations with Christ. It is a pure joy.

The book is a very solid work of theology as Fr Horgan is a graduate of the Angelicum University in Rome.
Fr Damian Grimes, MHM

Texting alone

SIR – Zac Mabry offers a helpful guide to making a “digital retreat” (Comment, US edition, August 23). I would like to do this, but worry that I lack the resolve to do so on my own.

Perhaps the Church could help millennials like me who struggle with this technological addiction by offering digital retreats for groups. These could take place in parishes, as well as retreat centres, and provide encourage to those of us without the willpower to go it alone.
Steven Winters
Canton, Ohio

God will sort it

SIR – As a Catholic to a fellow Catholic-at-heart, my advice to Peter Couch (Letter, August 23) regarding his reasons for not wanting to take the RCIA course, is a very Catholic “offer it up”.

God will sort the rest.
Maura Coyle
Stockport, Greater Manchester