Saturday, 30 July 2011

Is there hope for Catholic Ireland? Here's the answer

The Catholic Herald website has a discussion about the possibilities of healing and reform in the Irish Catholic Church. Some people think there should be something like a completely new beginning with the hierarchy. Others are more hopeful and there is some discussion about whether the Pope should visit or not. To my mind the worst suggestion - and the most dangerous - is that the forthcoming Eucharistic Congress should be cancelled.... NO, NO NO!!!"

I remember in my own diocese some year ago attending a meeting with the then bishop and the other clergy about the needs of the diocese - in other words, what should we be doing; what are our priorities? Someone brought up the question of bad catechesis in schools (or lack of it). This discussion was stopped. One of our priests asked why we were having this discussion without first searching the Scriptures and asking for God's guidance. There was some embarrassed coughing at this. Another priest asked why we had not organised periods of Eucharistic Adoration for the same purpose. This was followed by silence.

Why do we always (seemingly) start off on the wrong foot? It is the Lord's Church, so why don't we ask Him what He wants? Is it because we somehow don't believe He is actually listening? Why do our abuse problems always have to be seen against psychological and sociological theories? How many times have we actually heard the word "sin" used. We have heard the word "crimes", but this is not enough - we are dealing with serious sin. As I have said before we need to recognise the main enemy in all this - Satan. I have yet to hear ANY member of the hierarchy outside the Pope openly acknowledging the enemy by name.

How should we proceed with the renewal of the Church? Here's a suggestion. Take the Rosary - described by St. Pio as a "weapon" and asked for, with insistence, by Our Lady at Fatima, go before the Blessed Sacrament - preferably exposed in the monstrance - and begin with prayers of reparation moving into intercession for the renewal of the Church. If Holy Hours, with the Rosary, were organised all over Ireland on a daily basis (why not) for the renewal of the Catholic Church in Ireland I believe we would see some rapid changes. The Eucharistic Congress must not be cancelled and the bishops of Ireland should begin preparing for it now in the context of all this mess by proclaiming a nationwide prayer campaign with at least one Holy Hour in every Catholic Church every day in Ireland. And if most churches already have a Holy Hour, they should put on an extra one. Ireland has traditionally been a Catholic people that are unafraid of penance - well, now it is needed more than ever. Perhaps what is needed throughout the world is a group of people, clergy and lay, who are willing to give one extra hour of prayer a day or, at least, pray an extra five decades of the Rosary, for the renewal of the Irish Church. Can it be done? Why not?


  1. This is good stuff Father. Or shtuff, as one might say in Ireland!

  2. As an Irish man I must say the first priority before any action must be prayer. The Eucharistic Congress is exactly what WILL unite Eire as a nation. So why cancel it?

    Just my little contribution to your great post.

    Go Raibh Maith Agat

  3. Praying with you Father and with all the people of Ireland.