No Political Party in Ireland Promotes Catholic Values

Ben Conroy – The Irish Catholic

I currently find myself politically homeless. And I think I’m not the only one.

As a politically engaged Catholic, there isn’t a party in the country that can command my unqualified support. I had high hopes for the Green Party, (and before you laugh, I suggest that anyone uncomfortable with supporting groups that have suffered huge declines in public support should re-consider their membership of the Catholic Church) with its focus on care for the enivorment and social justice and its abortion policy that allowed each individual member to vote with their conscience. But their new support for X case legislation has made it impossible for me to support the party platform.

We Need to Talk about Priests

Michael Kelly in The Irish Catholic

The death by suicide of Belfast-based Fr Matt Wallace has stunned many people. He is the third Irish priest to take his own life in the last 18 months. People are understandably shocked by the particular circumstances of each tragedy. But when the dust settles around the death of Fr Wallace, and his brother-priests and parishioners begin to pick up the pieces, it’s vital that some good can be brought out of this tragedy. There is a danger that when the shock dies down, we all get back to business as usual and there is no discussion about the wider questions.

For a start, we need to talk about the pressures facing priests in ministry today. Parishioners and bishops need to think seriously about expectations. Many priests are at breaking-point simply keeping the show on the road and there is little or no thought about realistic reform of parish life. While the number of priests serving in many parishes has fallen sharply in recent years, the expectations largely remain the same. In most dioceses, the (usually unsaid) advice is simply to keep one’s head down and get on with things. A culture of deference means that most priests won’t tell the bishop when they’re in trouble and need more support. There’s also a culture of not wanting to bother those in authority. Where problems arise, the solution is often short-term or little more than a sticking-plaster.

Conscience, Catholics and the Church

Sarah Carey – The Irish Catholic

JFK is popular these days. The Kennedy family visit to New Ross created great warmth, while the Taoiseach’s speech to the Dáil about Catholic leaders, created multiple quotations from the President’s famous speech to Protestant ministers of the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September 1960. Kennedy said, “I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me.”

He also said, “I believe in an America where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote.”

He didn’t confine his remarks to Catholicism and he wasn’t anti-religion, but spoke directly on the issue of the separation of Church and State, saying, “I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish – where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope…and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

A Recipe for Overinterpreting the Pope

The Irish Catholic

Here’s a recipe for overinterpretation: start with intense public fascination with a new Pope and add a basic lack of substantive movement on matters of policy and personnel. Sprinkle in the coincidence of the new regime reaching its 100-day mark and mix with a slow news cycle.

Two stories in the Italian press over the weekend nicely illustrate the resulting soufflé of hype.

On Saturday evening, Francis decided at the last minute to skip a Vatican musical concert, leaving the papal throne empty. Pictures of the ‘empty chair’ were swiftly splashed across Italy’s major news outlets, with pundits such as famed Church historian Alberto Melloni styling it as a metaphor for a rejection of imperial pomp. Some even termed it a deliberate ‘snub’ of the Roman Curia.

Lebanon: Fears of Descent into Civil War as Syria Fighting Continues

(Vatican Radio) The Syrian conflict continues to make itself felt in Lebanon. Gun battles involving the Lebanese army and Sunni Muslim radical groups in the southern port of Sidon erupted early this week after Lebanese soldiers stormed a complex holding fighter loyal to a radical Islamist cleric, killing more than 20 people and arresting dozens of the cleric’s supporters. The cleric, Ahmed al-Assir, remains at large. Violence also spread to the city of Tripoli in the north.

Pope Francis recalls Paul VI

“Dear friends,” asked Pope Francis. “Do we have the same love for Christ? Is He the center of our lives? Do we witness this in our everyday actions?” Turning to Pope Paul VI’s love of the Church, Pope Francis said his predecessor had a “clear vision that the Church is a Mother who carries Christ and leads to Christ.”

He quoted the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi:“After the Council and thanks to the Council, which was a time given her by God, at this turning-point of history, does the Church or does she not find herself better equipped to proclaim the Gospel and to put it into people’s hearts with conviction, freedom of spirit and effectiveness?… Is she firmly established in the midst of the world and yet free and independent enough to call for the world’s attention? Does she testify to solidarity with people and at the same time to the divine Absolute? Is she more ardent in contemplation and adoration and more zealous in missionary, charitable and liberating action? Is she ever more committed to the effort to search for the restoration of the complete unity of Christians, a unity that makes more effective the common witness?”

The On the Side of the Victims

The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, is at the centre of the debate about abortion legislation. In a decade that has also seen furores over clerical abuse, economic crisis and gang violence, he tells Sarah Mac Donald about his approach to such issues

US Bishops Tackle Obama over Morality of Use of Drones

Tablet – 19 June 2013

Bishop Richard Pates, chairman of the US bishops’ International Justice and Peace Committee, has questioned the morality of using drones to target suspected terrorists. In an article in The Des Moines Register and a Washington Post blog, he wrote: “This policy perpetuates violence, radicalising people who otherwise wouldn’t be hostile toward the United States.”

Questions of Faith: What is the Sunday Angelus?

2013-06-18 Vatican Radio         (Vatican Radio) Accompanying visitors to Rome through St Peter’s Square one Sunday, our very own official from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Monsignor John Kennedy, was startled by the simple question from one of his party. What is the Sunday Angelus? Many may have heard of the … Read moreQuestions of Faith: What is the Sunday Angelus?