Centuries ago as Europe plunged into the Dark Ages, it was the Irish monasteries that preserved the learning and culture of the Roman Empire and the Church...not to mention Sacred Scripture.
Today the Church in Ireland strives to preserve the credibility and integrity of the Church at large. From America Magazine:
A “listening program” has been launched across the 88 parishes of the Diocese of Down and Connor, near Belfast in Northern Ireland, intended to draw the counsel of parishioners in church affairs. Noel Treanor, the diocesan bishop, said, “The history of the church includes moments when the people of God are called to reform and renew the church. This is one such moment.” While the program is seen as a response to the widespread disappointment and anger felt by Irish Catholics in the wake of the scandal of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, Bishop Treanor insisted that “even if the scandals didn’t happen, even if there were just as many priests now as there were 50 years ago, this process would still be necessary.
"We have been grappling since the 1960s with the whole idea of how we make the church more participative,” he said. “This will be a step toward that, a step toward a church that is more open, transparent and where there is accountability.” Bishop Treanor said he wanted 'to live in a church where someone can feel free to say exactly what they think to a bishop and where a bishop can be free to say exactly what he thinks...'"
In a country such as Ireland, where the Catholic Church is intricately woven into the very fabric of day-to-day life, the thoughts and actions of one of its bishops is not insignificant. May more bishops such as Noel Treanor remember to care and minister their flock, rather than simply care and minster solely to the institution. First and foremost, the Church is the People of God.
Memorial of St. Claude de la Columbiere, S.J.
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