Happy New Year
In his weekly Western People column Brendan Hoban thanks God for another Christmas season almost done and for being able to face another new year. ‘There’s nothing like a serious illness when the future hangs in the balance to give you a sense of the precious breadth and delicious texture of the ordinary bits and pieces of life.’
On this first Sunday after Christmas, we honour the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We entrust our families to their patronage, and pray for all who have been part of our families, those still alive and those whom we hope have joined the great family of God in heaven.
Wishing you every blessing this Christmas
The official translation is now available at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2014/december/documents/papa-francesco_20141222_curia-romana.html.
The introduction says, “Francis received in audience the Cardinals and the Superiors of the Roman Curia for Christmas greetings.” Francis mentions “brothers and sisters” at the beginning!
Reports from Rome suggest Pope Francis delivered a Christmas message with a bite to the Roman Curia. We carry the report from the National Catholic Reporter by Joshua J McElwee.
Brendan Hoban, in his Western People column, offers a seasonal reflection.
“Christmas is a strange time. It has a funny way of creating an empty space
around us. Despite the hype, Christmas has a way of stripping our lives down
to the essentials. In the midst of Christmas cheer, a small thin voice
insists on posing a series of difficult questions: what does it all mean? Am
I happy? what is my life for? how can I satisfy that itch within me? how can
I satisfy that part of me that nothing seems to satisfy? “
On the dark wet windy shortest day of 2014 Tony Flannery shares some thoughts saying that “Of the three great Christian virtues, faith, hope and love, I have always considered that hope is the most important of all.”
Advent is drawing to a close, so we have just a few days left to prepare for the birth of Christ. On this Sunday, we’re invited to follow Mary’s example and imitate her faith.
Was 25 December chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus in order to “Christianise” a pagan festival, or could it be the other way around?
Tony Conry is a missionary priest working in Brazil. Tony suggests that we can and should be creative in making up our own homespun blessings because ‘the English language robbed us of our Celtic heritage and gave us all a sterile cold communications system bereft of all emotional warmth and spiritual nourishment.’
Sean McDonagh gives his reaction to the report from COP20 in Lima.
The Lima document broke with all previous COPs where the burden of reducing greenhouse gases was placed squarely on the shoulders of rich countries which historically have been emitting carbon dioxide since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In Lima poor countries felt that rich countries were attempting to move the burden of reducing carbon dioxide emissions on to their shoulders.
Brendan Hoban responds to comments made by Senator Rónán Mullen on a live radio programme concerning Fr. Tony Flannery.
On the day when the Vatican’s three-year investigation into US nuns concluded with a call to continued dialogue it seems that the message of openness preached by Pope Francis is still not being heard in some quarters, not least the CDF.
In contrast the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life commenting on those sisters who did not co-operate with the ‘visitation’ says “we use this present opportunity to invite all religious institutes to accept our willingness to engage in respectful and fruitful dialogue with them.”
We look forward to this “willingness to engage in respectful and fruitful dialogue” being put into practice by all in the Curia and all in positions of power or influence.
Reflecting on some of the issues that received intense media coverage in recent times Brendan Hoban in his Western People column concludes that “Sometimes institutions, reluctant to reform, need the shock of public humiliation to get their act together, especially when the vulnerable innocent are at risk.”
The plain truth of the matter is, Brendan states, that “In any institution or system, things go wrong, when those in positions of power are not properly supervised.”
We’re half way through Advent. Traditionally, today is called Gaudete Sunday, which means ‘a day for rejoicing.’ The reason for celebration is that the day of the Lord’s coming is nearer.
Under the roof of your soul, you will witness the sublime intimacy, the divine, the Christ taking birth forever, as Mary grasps your hand for help, for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.
Sean McDonagh reflecting on the recent COP 20 in Lima says that it underlines the sad reality that the majority of religious people have not really taken on board the magnitude of the ecological crisis and the urgency with which it must be addressed.
For your information we publish the New Synod questionnaire on family issues published by the Vatican. It requests episcopal conferences to choose a suitable manner of involving all components of the particular churches and academic institutions, organizations, lay movements and other ecclesial associations.
For innocent people to be accused of horrific abuse of children is a shattering experience. On 4 December, 24 people from the Modena area of Italy were declared innocent – after 16 years: 17 parents and 7 priests. Families were destroyed, and seven were dead.
In recent times the leadership of the ACP, wrote to Pope Francis, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Eamon Martin to express the concern of our association for the plight of Fr Tony Flannery.
We publish the correspondence
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