From Revd W G Bergin Sir, Your recent report concerning a parish priest who has deferred First Communion in his parish due to an apparent lack of practice raise three questions.
Firstly, why do many priests encounter a spirit of resistance whenever they suggest that attendance at Mass is an essential aspect of sacramental preparation? Are they simply being obstructive and unreasonable?
Secondly, are the Sacraments of Initiation being categorised alongside the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, "nice" for the children, valued for the social get-together, but not exactly relevant to real life?
Thirdly, should Sacraments be seen as a right or a gift? If they are rights, then they can be picked and chosen, valued or ignored and we see fit. If they are gifts, then thanksgiving might be a desired response alongside respect and value.
I agree that pastoral sensitivity should be exercised by all priests, but a degree of pastoral responsibility and commitment are desirable on the part of our people.
Yours faithfully, W G BERGIN Barnsley, Yorkshire.