This story which has shocked and shaken the world is a tragic example of the domination of the Catholic Church in Irish society that endured until recent times.
I was born in Ireland and lived in a quiet, rural area in County Laois in a close-knit family. My Dad, Jack, who is now in the company of the angels and saints had a sister Mary, who became pregnant, left Ireland and never returned. This is a sad story that continues to wrench the heart of many Irish families. May we never forget and hold these women and their children in our hearts forever. May we, as Catholics, change the teachings of our church to reflect the loving, compassionate heart of God, embracing and healing, loving and transforming us.
As for who can be buried in Catholic cemeteries, church officials should not use burial in blessed ground as a reward or punishment for following church teachings. In the United States, this is Catholic Church practice. The excommunicated, for example, can be denied burial in a Catholic cemetery.
When one is baptized, one becomes a member of the church. We are the beloved of God and should be treated as such by our religious leaders. While all ground is sacred, this practice of denying burial in a Catholic cemetery by the hierarchy is a spiritual abuse of power that would make Jesus weep.
Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp, www.arcwp.org