- Exodus of biblical proportions
Hounded out of their homes by Islamist violence, Iraqi Christians face what many fear may be their final festive season in the land of their fathers as many prepare for exile
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- Why priests are under pressure on Christmas Eve Fr Mark Minihane OSA
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- Francis’ US-Cuba coup demonstrates the Church’s soft power Christopher Lamb
It was with great sadness that I read Christopher David’s letter (The Tablet, 29 March) recounting the effects on the Catholics of Lanzarote of their dire local shortage of priests.
It is painful to hear his lament that “there is an apathy affecting the Church”. It may not be that: it may simply be a sense of helplessness in such unfamiliar circumstances.
But the lack of regular Mass provision, as much of a deprivation as that is, does not have to mean “a slow spiritual starvation and death”. I know I am speaking from the comfort of a part of the world where we have yet to experience (in modern times, at least) such radical loss, but surely we should urge Christopher and others to gather together in Christ’s name, to read the Scriptures, to sing hymns, to pray and support one another in their faith. The Lord will honour his promise and be with them, providing all the graces they need. He does not abandon his faithful so readily.
Deacon Paul Russell, Birmingham
I fully agree with Cardinal Vincent Nichols (The Tablet, 1 March) that the Eucharist is not the sum total of Christian life. Nowhere in the whole New Testament do we find an invitation to celebrate the Eucharist. Scripture scholars draw our attention to the fact that "Do this is memory of me" was most likely added by early Christians to the words of Jesus, and it was done not so much to invite people but to explain to them why the Christians met to break bread. In contrast to the silence of the New Testament on participation in the Eucharist, it repeatedly reminds us that love of neighbour is all that is needed, and that it becomes a sacrament of the real presence of the Risen Lord in the world, a proclamation that those who love one another, even if they hate Jesus, are in fact his disciples.
Subhash Anand, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India