27May An eccentric in the Algarve

Seamus Ahearne, from his seaside retreat, reflects on recent happenings in Ireland and in Church and is not alarmed.
"Wherever I have worked, the church and the culture were not synonymous. We were never that important in the scheme of things and that was and is much better. I don't think that the coincidence of culture and religion was ever good or right as it has been in Ireland. But the world of God is not shattered when people vote against the view of the Bishops. God and Faith goes on."
"I am blessed. My church is a happy, noisy, argumentative place. No Referendum changes that one."

23May What has happened to the Irish and their Church?

Seamus Ahearne gives his thoughts in the aftermath of the debate, discussion and decision of the marriage referendum.
" The sun still shines. The rain still comes. We all go about our business. We make our arguments and then accept what has happened. No one has died. It isn't the death of life or family or marriage as we know it. "

12May We may not have thought this through

Brendan Hoban in his weekly Western People column questions the wisdom of bishops threatening to have priests withdraw from the civil aspect of Catholic marriages in advance of the marriage referendum.
"Let me say, first of all, that in my opinion (for what it’s worth) Archbishop Martin (and other bishops) are unwise to even suggest that priests solemnising marriages in Catholic Churches would, in the event of a YES vote being carried, no longer agree to act in a civil capacity."

Request: Comments on the substantive issue of the referendum should be directed to the thread 'The Marriage Referendum: Archbishop Diarmuid Martin explains why he is voting No; Fr. Pádraig Standún explains why he will be voting Yes'

01May The Encyclical Ecology and Justice

Sean McDonagh keeps us informed about the forthcoming encyclical that deals with ecological issues. He includes a quote from Neil Thorns, the head of advocacy at England's Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), as saying that “the anticipation around Pope Francis’s forthcoming encyclical is unprecedented. We have seen thousands of our supporters commit to making sure their MPs know climate change is affecting the poorest communities.”
What will be the response of the church in Ireland and its bishops?

28Apr Lay reform groups discuss equality of women, church governance at international meeting

Sarah Mac Donald, a freelance writer based in Dublin, reports for NCR on the recent meeting of Catholic reform groups in Limerick.

28Apr Disaffection with Disconnection

Brendan Hoban in his most recent Western People column wonders when the limits to loyalty will reach breaking point for Irish Catholics. "The Catholic Church, as bishops and sometimes parish priests remind us, is not a democracy but if people are used to their opinions being taken seriously in every other walk of life, they tend to raise a collective eyebrow when the Catholic Church decides that decision-making is confined to a tiny elite."

12Apr Sledge hammered or airbrushed – getting rid of ‘beautiful things’­

Brendan Hoban in his weekly Western People column wonders what we are losing by the ' gradual, insistent airbrushing of religion out of Irish life.'
He says that as a result 'to refer to the challenge and comfort of a lived faith in a God of love and compassion is almost to speak a language that so many now either refuse to speak or don't really understand.'

10Apr Submissions for the Synod

Attached are two submissions to the Synod.
One from ACI and the second from AUSCP.
The Association of Catholics in Ireland have provided a lengthy document and the AUSCP have provide a summary of what they say "U.S. priests with decades of family ministry have presented to the Vatican office for the Synod of Bishops on the family. The survey results, with responses from almost 600 U.S. priests, were presented today (April 10) to Msgr. John Abbruzzese of the Synod office".

07Apr At Easter, Austria’s bishops remembered the “forgotten” women

Maria Teresa Pontara Pedervia reports in the vaticaninsider.lastampa.it website that Austrian bishops reminded us all that despite the crucial role women play in the life of the church it can often be overlooked!
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn commented that 'the Gospel stories are full of female figures that have played important roles, but “none of these women has ever been canonized,” he regretted.'

06Apr The celebration of the Eucharist: Could it become a museum piece?

Brian Eyre wonders if the celebration of the Eucharist could become so rare it could be seen as a museum piece?
He hopes not but suggests the only way "This can be avoided is if the priesthood is opened up to others and not limit it to male celibate candidates only."