19Jun Caring for our common home

Sean McDonagh tells us that Pope Francis' encyclical is ' one of the most important documents to come from a Pope in the past one hundred-and-twenty years.'
'Pope Francis is the first to acknowledge the magnitude of the ecological crisis, the urgency with which it must be faced and the irreversible nature of ecological damage.'
Sean reminds us though that while 'this is a most exciting document, it is only a beginning. Real efforts and resources have to be placed behind it if this concern is to find its rightful place at the heart of Christian ministry.'

18Jun Re-admitting women to the ordained Diaconate

Phyllis Zagano in an article in the National Catholic Reporter gives a very interesting analysis of recent developments concerning the questions of re-admitting women to the order of deacon and that of ordaining married men to the order of priest.
Could it be that two Irish Bishops may give a lead to the universal church on these issues?

16Jun Does marriage mean exactly what we want it to mean?

Brendan Hoban writing in the Western People wonders if marriage really only means what we want it to mean. Brendan says 'The Catholic Church, it could be argued, has a similar problem. It makes a distinction between two kinds of marriage: ‘sacramental’ and ‘natural’.
However this 'may be an important one to remember when the October Synod reassembles in Rome. In short, marriage doesn’t have to be sacramental to be accepted by the Catholic Church.'

16Jun Listening rather than hearing

Chris McDonnell reminds us that hearing is not listening. 'Listening demands that we pay attention, that we concentrate, that for a while we are silent.' When we really listen the results can be surprising and transforming.

12Jun In times of crisis be creative

Brian Eyre keeps the question of married priests before us for consideration.
His is a timely reminder in a week where we see the appointment of three priests to "united parishes" in Tuam Archdiocese, i.e. they are to assume the responsibility of a neighbouring parish along with their current one due to the retirement of priests who have reached the retirement age of Seventy Five years, even though these men are still to provide sacramental and pastoral ministry. How long is this situation sustainable in dioceses throughout Ireland?
It was also the week when an Irish Bishop put his toe gingerly in the waters stirred up by Pope Francis and called for discussion about the possibility of ordaining married men.

07Jun My father’s death

Bernard Cotter, who supplies the Liturgy Preparation notes on our website, writes of the recent death of his father, Denis Cotter RIP

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?