We have reached the midway point of the season of Lent. The joy of Easter is within our reach and the parent of the prodigal son encourages us to rely on divine mercy.
Sean McDonagh argues that Ireland’s Draft National Energy and Climate Plan require major revisions.
Jo O’Sullivan writes about her experience of her struggle “with being a Catholic since the publication of the Murphy Report, when I first became aware of the total betrayal by the leaders of my church.”
Brendan Hoban writes in his Western People column about the murder of worshippers in a Christchurch mosque and how social media meant “the world wide web was bringing live to the eyes of the world the personal holocaust he [the murderer] was inflicting on his victims.”
“Uncontrolled and, it would seem, uncontrollable media have added to the effectiveness of those who can – apparently with impunity – inflict their warped ideologies on the public by perpetrating indefensible outrages, in an effort to publicise their malign philosophies.”
Today, as we gather to listen to the Lenten call to repentance, we worship our God of kindness who, like a patient gardener, always gives people a second chance.
Words spoken by Pádraig McCarthy in St Patrick’s Cathedral on St Patrick’s Day 2019, at an Ecumenical Celebration of St Patrick’s Legacy, organised by the Dublin Council of Churches
We do not lose heart:
The life and Faith of St Patrick bridging 1500 years
Seamus Ahearne begins to cast his mind to the coming Easter. “Easter calls on us to accept the wonder and the challenge of today.”
Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin, spoke recently at Saint Michael’s Church of Ireland, Limerick, on the ‘The Church of the Future’. His words have been widely reported and are on the Dublin Diocese’s website.
“My hope is that the future of the Church in Ireland will be one where we truly learn from the arrogance of our past and find anew a fragility which will allow the mercy and the compassion of Jesus to give us a change of heart and allow others through a very different Church to encounter something of that compassion and faith for their lives.”
Sean McDonagh reports on the International Conference on Religions and Sustainable Development Goals that was held from 07 March to 09 March in the Vatican.
Regional meetings in support of the well-being of priests were held during February in Kilkenny, Tuam, Cork, Letterkenny, Dublin, Limerick and Armagh.
In his Catholic Times column Chris McDonnell reflects on Lent.
“Too often we are quick with our answers on matters of faith and morality when really we should look more at the options and context……….Maybe that is what Lent gives us, more time than usual to ask the difficult questions, not of others but of ourselves. And if the answers are not immediate, then we should not worry.”
Jo O’Sullivan gives an account of her experience of a Deanery meeting.
“My experience at the Deanery meeting has me wondering if, …….. It is all only window-dressing – a pretence that the members of Parish Pastoral Councils are involved in decision-making.
As the second week of Lent begins in other countries, we pause from our lenten penances to honour Patrick, the apostle of the Irish. In our celebration of this solemn feast, we worship God, creator, redeemer and sanctifier, who brought our ancestors into the Christian fold through the preaching of St Patrick.
Paddy Ferry reminds all readers in Scotland that Tony Flannery will be there on Thursday evening, 21 March, at Edinburgh University talking about “Celibacy, Sexuality and the Crisis in the Priesthood”.
“A Conversation with Fr. Tony Flannery”, 6th Floor Common Room, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LD. 7.00pm to 9.00pm.
Paddy also draws our attention to the fact that the German bishops have started “a binding synodal process”, as Cardinal Marx has called it, to discuss much the same topic. It has been reported in many outlets including the Catholic Herald.
For those who find the “new missal” prayers unwieldy and cumbersome to say aloud there is an alternative ‘approved by English speaking Bishops’ Conferences if unapproved by curia’ option in the ICEl 1998 Missal.
Roy Donovan reflects on the discussion evening on the themes of the book, Elephant in the Church, on Women’s International Day, March 8th, in the Avila Centre in Donnybrook
The 40-day pilgrimage to Easter that began on Ash Wednesday is just a few days old. We pray that God, who sustained Jesus in his 40 days of temptations and suffering, will support us on our journey also.
Seamus Ahearne writes against the backdrop of current experience where “We can feel got at … we feel accused of sexual chaos …. we are deflated … the Church is battered. …. the priesthood is in a mess.” and states that we still need to be “people who have a view of a bigger picture and can give a real context to every day and always have a broader outlook. We can’t be a slave to the News or to the Moment.” We can’t let life get us down.
Christa Pongratz-Lippitt reports in La Croix International on a press conference given by Father Helmut Schüller of Austria where he said that the sex abuse crisis shows an urgent need to ‘desacralize’ the Catholic priesthood and empower the laity. Time, he warned “is running out for the Church to make major structural changes if its leaders want to save it from collapse.”
Chris McDonnell writing in the Catholic Times about the crisis in which the church is mired states “First of all, we cannot expect, nor should we presume, that the bishops can achieve change by carefully chosen phrases and pious pleasantries. There must be deep and meaningful exchange with the laity, using the latter’s experience and expertise to inform and develop a satisfactory strategy. Ownership by all achieves more than the instruction from a selected group.
Secondly, we must ensure that women are allowed and encouraged to participate fully in such developments……….The singular male voice has dominated for too long and the story that has been told has been incomplete. Maybe now, at long last, change will be forced upon us and we will recognise that appreciation of the broader picture will only come when the response is from both men and women.”
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