Haven’t been thinking of the Pope’s letter to the Church in Ireland regarding the sexual abuse problems in a while? Let’s start thinking anew: the year of prayer that the Pope asked for is coming to an with Easter. I’d like to know what’s different.
O holy Brigid, you became sublime through your humility, and flew on the wings of your longing for God. When you arrived in the eternal City and appeared before your Divine Spouse, wearing the crown of virginity, you kept your promise to remember those who have recourse to you. You shower grace upon the world, and multiply miracles. Intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls. (Troparian, tone 1)
inspired in Saint Brigid such whole-hearted dedication to your work that she is
known as Mary of the Gael; through her intercession bless our country; may we
follow the example of her life and be united with her and the Virgin Mary in
More on Saint Brigid here.
The Catholic Church in Ireland is facing what we in the USA continue to face and the Church in parts of the world also face or will face: sin. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, is working overtime to renew himself and the Church he leads to a deeper contrition and to a renewed sense of mission as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Like Saint John the Baptist, Archbishop Martin tells us clearly that self-centeredness and arrogance are not legitimate virtues for Catholics to allow to dwell in the heart and in the way one acts. What the Archbishop says about his Church can be said of us personally, and the Church in the USA. Time to change!!!! As the Baptist says, “I must decrease and He –Jesus– must increase.
The Gospel of this morning’s
Mass recalls that great figure: John the Baptist. John’s task was to announce
the coming of Jesus. He was called to reawaken a sense of expectation among a
people that had grown tired and distant from God. He was called to bring
renewal to institutional expressions of religion which, at the time, had so
often become fossilised into mere formulae or external ritual. John’s work was
extraordinary. He attracted thousands to come out into the desert to see
him. He wrought conversion on a vast scale.
John was a man who stood out.
His strange dress – the wild camel hair and the leather girdle – was not chosen
as a publicity gimmick or a trademark. His message was one that spoke of
rising above conventional ways of thinking, conventional expectations and
attitudes. He shunned the external amenities of a comfortable life
because he wanted to show his absolute dependence on God. His detachment
from life’s comforts gave him the freedom to truly recognise the message of
The figure of John serves as a warning to us today, to all believers, to
the Church and to Church organizations of every age of our need to draw our
strength from Christ alone, rather than from identifying with the cultural
patterns and fashions of the day, which in any case come and go.
No Catholic should be surprised that there is filth in the
Church for Our Lord Himself told us that this would be so in the parable of the
weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). AND it’s no surprise that the
Church is full of sinners, sinners who commit grave sin. And yes, some
who claim to follow Christ commit evil and everything possible must be done to
stem the evil and to make amends for that pain generated by that evil.
no Catholic should be surprised that the Faith should once again be attacked
during Easter because this is an annual event. However, this year’s
annual Easter attack on the Faith has taken the form of one upon the person of
the Pope, Benedict XVI, himself.
What truly saddens me, however, is that there
are many within the Church herself, those who should know better, that are once
again attempting to create a Christianity without Christ. But if we
forget Christ, if we do away with the wholly different measure that He
introduces into the world now, through the Church, then we no longer have the
terms on which to judge the Church.