BY Ian Dunn | August 22 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Ireland’s future ‘needs to be authentically Catholic’

Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal nuncio to Ireland, makes historic address today at Knock

The Papal nuncio to Ireland has said the Faith’s future on the island must be ‘authentically Catholic’ in an historic address today at the shrine of Knock.

Archbishop Charles Brown (above) was speaking at a Mass to mark the closing day of the annual Novena at the Marian shrine.

The archbishop, from the US, said the road ahead for the Faith in Ireland would not be an easy one but the Church would endure.

“The road ahead for Catholics in Ireland did not look very easy in 1879 when Our Lady appeared here on that rainy evening in August,” he said. “And yet her appearance was followed by one of the most fruitful periods in the 15 centuries of Catholicism on this island.”

The archbishop acknowledged that the Church had faced tough times in Ireland of late.

“It seems as if every few months, a new survey is released showing, or purporting to show, that the Catholic faith is disappearing in Ireland,” he said. “We have had two decades of scandals, crimes and failures. ‘The Church is finished!’ seems to be the cry heard everywhere.”

In response he said he believes the Church had to embrace unity and the beauty of Faith.

“As the Church in Ireland moves into the future, we need to recognise that everything the Church does is somehow related to the reality of salvation,” he said. “Before all else, I would say that the future needs to be authentically Catholic if there is to be a future. We need to propose the Catholic faith in its fullness, in its beauty and in its radicality, with compassion and with conviction. We need to be unafraid to affirm the elements of the Catholic way which secular society rejects and ridicules.”

The archbishop also said he had no doubt the Church would grasp that future as he had seen many signs of hope since being appointed Papal nuncio earlier this year.

“Two months ago, I saw the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin exceed everyone’s expectations, with tens of thousands of people coming to learn more about the central mystery of our faith— the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist,” he said.

“One month ago today, I was in Ballyvourney in County Cork, where I had the joy of ordaining a young man to the priesthood. The small country church was filled with people young and old; the liturgy was celebrated in a beautiful way, with music and hymns in the Irish language. Three weeks ago, in County Mayo, I saw thousands of pilgrims climbing Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday. Many young people. Many men. Some climbing in bare feet. I saw hundreds of people that day going to Confession to the priests on the top of the mountain.

“Ten days ago, I was at Clonmacnoise and I saw literally hundreds of young people kneeling in adoration in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Rosary, confessing their sins, rejoicing in the liberating love of God, and sharing the joy and excitement of being Catholic with their peers. That, my brothers and sisters, is the future of the Church in Ireland.”



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