The National Catholic Reporter has a story of how the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests is in the final development stages of issuing an urgent “plea” to the U.S. bishops to “formulate a plan now to meet this emerging crisis” of parish closings and consolidations.
In a working draft it calls a “Proposal for Pastoral Care In & Thru Priestless Parishes,” the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests exhorts the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and “dioceses nationwide” to quickly address the issue.
Gerry O Hanlon SJ in an opinion piece in the Irish Times maintains that Pope Francis is quietly revolutionising the Church.
“It seems to me that what is going on here is that Francis is proposing a paradigm shift in our model of church that, in effect, reverses the status quo of the past millennium and returns, with appropriate adjustments for our age, to a first millennium model. This is huge, a ‘quiet revolution’, which, strategically, has the potential to unlock many concrete issues of contention within the Church.”
Gerry maintains that this model of church needs to be adopted at a local level.
Sean McDonagh and Tony Flannery spoke today with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE Radio 1.
Tony said that the Church in Ireland is “in a state of utter collapse”, with people “leaving the Church in droves”, and action is needed to change this. They said the Catholic Church also needs to apologise for how it has treated women and give them more power in the Church.
A reflection by Fr Jim Bacik on the US election. Jim gave a joint diocesan retreat for Tuam and Kilalloe priests in Esker last June. His wisdom and spirituality was well received with Karl Rahner as a ‘giant on his shoulder’.
“it is clear that Pope Francis offers a worldview that challenges the thrust of the Trump movement.”
Interesting editorial comment in the Tablet.
“If there is a future for the Catholic Church in Ireland it will belong to the laity, and especially to Catholic women. “
Updated 26/01/2017 with video link and further media coverage
Tony Flannery shares some thoughts on his Mass of Celebration, marking the occasion of his 70th birthday and 40 years of priesthood.
“The Mass, for me, was emotional, but beautiful. I have celebrated many big Masses over the years, at missions and novenas, but nothing that touched me to the core like this one.”
Also included is some of the press coverage of the celebration.
Catholics gather this Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of the Saviour and to remember his beautiful teachings. In the Beatitudes, which are read at Mass today, Jesus describes the kinds of people who are blessed in God’s eyes. We hope to join the company of all these saints in the heavenly liturgy.
ACP Website – (Information from Google Analytics)
Last Friday Pope Francis also had other matters on his mind along with the ‘Ad limina’ visit of the Irish bishops. He gave hour and a quarter long interview with the Spanish Newspaper El País.
A lot of what he says will sound familiar.
“Talk, please. A fraternal conversation, if you feel up to it, or at least in a civilized way. Don’t throw insults at each other. Don’t condemn before talking.”
“Too much order. When you read the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Paul’s epistles, it was a mess, there were troubles, people moved. There was movement and contact with people. An anesthetized person is not in touch with people. He protects himself against reality.”
This Sunday falls within the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, when the Church prays that all Christians may grow closer together. As we join with Christians all over the world today to honour the death and resurrection of Jesus, we pray that the journey to full unity may soon be complete.
The leadership team of the ACP have issued a strong response to comments made about the state of the catholic church in Ireland by Archbishop Eamon Martin. They say that the Archbishop’s ‘ad limina” comments ‘bear little relationship to the realities of Irish Church life today’.
They have also commented on the letter received from the Irish bishops’ conference. The letter is seen as an attempt to ‘pull the plug’ on engagement with the ACP and ‘to still the voice of an association that represents over a third of Irish priests (1000-plus) who are prepared to name important and difficult truths at a critical time for the Irish Church.’
Seamus Ahearne shares some thoughts on world and local events. Looking at such events Seamus challenges us; “how can we enlarge the discussion and reflection on life? How can we bring the poetry of God to our talk? How can the church move away from the nonsensical distractions and wake people up from the simplistic notions of Facebook and Twitter? I do fear that the world of politics is getting very small. We have also made God’s world small.”
Seamus reminds us of the accusation that has been levelled against us;’ “Your God is too small.” Small minds. Small people. Small faith has led us to this. I have a little theory.
A celibate bachelor clergy can become very linear in its outlook. The awkwardness of family life smashes all simple conclusions to problems. Acceptance of helplessness is the norm. I know that a celibate clergy gives us the chance to be very much family on a 24/7 schedule but something is still missing. The humour and humility of humanity can get diluted. We need chaos. The tidy and clear solutions to life are totally unreal.’
Brian Eyre encourages the Irish bishops on their visit to Rome to face the realities about the shortage of priests, about the benefits of having married priests. “Today after 34 years of married life I still feel and know that I have been faithful to the calling of Our Lord and that my marriage has helped me be a better priest.”
Kevin Hayes offer some wisdom to Archbishop Brown, Papal Nuncio; as he says “At seventy-seven I feel entitled to lecture even Papal Nuncios!”
“I still have warm regard and concern for our Christian people, in Irish, Pobal Dé. I use that term rather than Church. I am not a great admirer of the institutional Catholic church. I believe the institution has become more important than the Christian message, the Word of God. The institution has become more important than the individual person and so many times its interests have been placed before the good of the person.”
The National Catholic Reporter has a story about an open letter on the state of the church and priestly ministry in Germany that a group of 11 German priests from the Cologne archdiocese have written urging the church to open the priesthood to both men and women and to make priestly celibacy voluntary.
Meanwhile Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, writes about his visit to Rome, “No doubt Pope Francis and the other curial officials will be interested to learn how we are facing the current challenges of a decline in Mass attendance in Ireland and in the number of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.
I, and my fellow bishops, will be able to share with them the resilience of our priests and religious under increased pressure and workload, as well as the tremendous generosity and kindness of the faithful towards us.
We will be able to discuss the seeds of renewal and new growth in catechesis, lay involvement, intentional discipleship and pastoral outreach that are emerging all over the country.
The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI) expresses deep disappointment that the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference (ICBC) has been unable to agree to bring proposals on ending the celibacy requirement for priestly ministry in Ireland to Pope Francis for their Ad Limina visit to Rome.
The Christmas Season ended last Sunday, and we have entered Ordinary Time, moving slowly from winter to spring. The season of Lent begins on the first day of March: between now and then, we learn a little more each Sunday about the life and techings of Jesus.
Today is World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which this year focuses especially on children who migrate, vulnerable and voiceless.
RTE is carrying a report that the Irish bishops’ conference failed to reach consensus on proposals by the Bishop of Kilmore, Leo O’Reilly, to allow priests who left ministry to get married to return to priestly work and to consider lifting the bans on ordaining married men and female deacons.
Bishop O Reilly is to be commended for actually listening to the outcome of a ‘listening process” he started with the people of Kilmore diocese.
An interesting report by Sandro Magister is being carried at Settimo Cielo, that ‘Liturgiam authenticam’ is to be revisited by Pope Francis. ‘Liturgiam authenticam’ was the criteria for the translation of liturgical texts from Latin into modern languages which led to the “new missal” with its beauties like ‘prevenient grace’, ‘consubstantial’, and had us praying for ‘the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds’ at the start of Advent.
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) has produced the first edition of their new newsletter, ‘Leading’.
Mary Bergan Blanchard , editor, says that the newsletter “discusses who we are, why we’re here, and what we do…..
We are a prophetic movement. Organized religion needs to be reorganized. Millions of Catholics have given up their faith in disgust. If we do not regenerate the interest in the simplicity of Christ’s message, who will? It is buried in over 1,750 man-made Canon Laws. Women and all their contributions have been ignored for nearly two thousand years. Enough!………………… We are trying our best to inform all curious people exactly what we are about.”
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