Ok – I’ve finally finished putting the Pope’s letter into a mindmap format. I’ve included it as an image below, or you can access it directly HERE in a much more flexible format – you can close down and open up visible levels by clicking the + or – symbol at the edge of a text box you can decide to just show chapter headings or open more boxes to show key headings in each chapter etc. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.
Why did I bother? The letter has dropped off the media headlines at the moment. It could easily be pushed into a shelf and forgotten about. But this isn’t just a quickly scribbled letter from a German cleric. This is a pastoral message to Catholics here in Ireland from the man who represents Christ for us. We should study it very closely both individually and as a community and make real concrete steps to put it into practice, not because he is Joseph Ratzinger but because we believe that through his words, the Holy Spirit is really offering us an opportunity and a path to renewal.
That means each one of us reading it over and over and making personal resolutions about what we will do for example: offer Friday penance for the Church, get involved in Eucharistic Adoration, decide to start getting to Confession more often.
It means meeting together in parishes to tease out the issues and see what we can do together to act on it. That will means having committees or little groups who’ll take on the implementation of whatever initiatives are decided. Maybe group opportunities to do Friday Penances together? Perhaps more Penance Services and opportunities to avail of Confession including opportunities for school children? Maybe organising Eucharistic Adoration at times that allow everyone a chance to take part? Or whatever each Parish community decides.
This is a very serious issue. It’s important that we continue work to ensure proper guidelines for Child Protection are in place in the Church in Ireland. And it’s equally important that we take seriously the spiritual pathway outlined for us here by the leader of our Church.