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Posts Tagged ‘Bishops’

Bishop Kieran O'ReillyBack in May 2010, Fr Kieran O’Reilly was appointed Bishop of Killaloe, replacing Bishop Willie Walsh. I liked the sound then of a bishop whose whole life experience as a pastor had been in a missionary context.

Now, that missionary approach is even more topical, even more a focus of the Church’s approach to evangelisation, since it is a key theme of Pope Francis pontificate:  the word ‘missionary’ appears 74 times in Evangelii Gaudium, the apostolic exhortation which is really this Pope’s manifesto, the guide to his thinking and his vision. A Church which has moved to missionary mode is central to that vision:

“I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelisation of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” (EG 27)

It isn’t really surprising then that Pope Francis has today appointed a missionary to one of the key roles in Church leadership in Ireland: Bishop Kieran is to be the new Archbishop of Cashel & Emly,  joining Archbishops Eamon Martin, Diarmuid Martin and Michael Neary as one of Ireland’s four Archbishops.

The appointment is another source of hope for the future of the Irish Church:  recent episcopal appointments have added a group of young(ish!), dynamic, courageous – and (hopefully!) holy – people to the Irish Bishops Conference, men such as Bishop Brendan Leahy, Bishop Kevin Doran, Archbishop Eamon Martin among others – people who inspire confidence, who are not shy about speaking in the media, presenting the vision of the Church calmly, compassionately, clearly. Along with the many groups of lay people who are creating pockets of dynamic evangelisation, they seem well prepared to man the missionary field hospital the Pope is calling the Catholic Church to be.

In all this, I think we should be ever grateful to Pope Emeritus Benedict for sending us Archbishop Charles Brown, a truly outstanding Nuncio, at a most opportune moment.

Archbishops Brown Clifford O'Reilly 2014

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I’d like to thank Robert and Catherine (see comments on last post) for drawing my attention to some links that are well worth highlighting (see expanded links list to the left) and in particular for the reminder that just because we don’t always see these statements in the mainstream media, doesn’t always mean that the Church hasn’t been trying to get its message out. I really recommend adding the link Robert suggested to your favourites : catholicbishops.ie press releases.

Even better – subscribe to an RSS feed for updates to this page. “What does that mean – ‘subscribe to an RSS feed’? ” I hear you ask. Well, it’s a really helpful way of getting your computer to let you know every time a website is updated. In this case it lets you know when a new press release is added.

On both the catholicbishops.ie home page and on the press releases page you’ll see a little orange square with the message: “Subscribe to press releases”. Click the orange square.  You have a few options: if you use Firefox (which offers some nice options) you’ll now see at the top of the new window that opens a drop-down menu with the message: “subscribe to this feed using..” You can choose between “Live Bookmarks” which puts a bookmark called ‘Catholic Communications Office’ at the top of your browser window. The other options are good if you have set up your own personalised page in iGoogle or My Yahoo! If you choose these, a new box opens in your personalised page with the headlines of the most recent press releases – you can just glance over every time you open your iGoogle or My Yahoo! page.

If you use Safari, clicking the RSS feed orange square opens a window with summaries of the most recent updates (press releases). In the right margin of the window, you’ll see a blue area with options you can select. The very last option, under Actions, is ‘Add bookmark..’ This adds a bookmark which will open a window with the most recent releases. (Not as neat as Firefox but still handy).

Kildare & Leighlin are online!

If you don’t quite get what I’m saying – just give it a try and see what happens. In his message for World Day of Communications 2010, Pope Benedict challenged priests to “proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelisation and catechesis.”  And when the priests and the Church goes to the effort of doing this, the least we can do is tune in – the Pope himself wants us to  😀

I use a Mac (so cool!) so I’m not sure how the RSS feeds work on a PC – pretty similarly I presume. But if you use a PC and don’t mind admitting it, feel free to add a comment on any differences in how you go about subscribing.  And don’t be put off by the word “subscribe” – it’s free!

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Two interesting articles in yesterday’s Irish Times deal with the recent visit of the Irish Bishops to Rome.

Paddy Agnew, (Rome correspondent) writes that in the wake of the visit “a little explanation might have gone a long way to averting some of the widespread negative Irish reaction to the Rome meeting” http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0220/1224264879783.html He goes on to give step by step what the Vatican might have done to convey the message much more effectively:

“explain beforehand that meetings between the pope and abuse survivors (which have a precedent) are never pre-announced, to avoid them becoming a media scrimmage-cum-photo-op.”

“clarify in advance that the meeting would not be discussing the question of episcopal resignations, something for which the Catholic Church has its own tried and true procedures, involving the Congregation of Bishops.”

“point out that many ambassadors, including those from countries such as the USA and the UK, refuse to appear before foreign affairs committees, or the equivalent thereof.”

Breda O’ Brien makes a similar criticism of the Church here in Ireland:

“The church failed children, especially up until the 1990s, and is now failing to communicate credibly that it has changed.” http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0220/1224264879612.html

After the publication of the Murphy Report, it was important that the Dublin Diocese made it clear that it had fully faced up to what went so wrong in the past – and this it did reasonably well.

But it also needed to make the full picture clear about the present state of play: that major changes have already taken place: some of these  changes are mentioned in the Report and the Diocese could have given more detail on this.

It needed to respond when some commentators exaggerated, misquoted or took mistaken interpretations from the Report – for example, the widespread use of “mentioned in the Report” as being synonymous with “criticised in the Report”.

It needed to clarify and explain the 1962 Vatican document on the crime of using Confession as a means of solicitation: this was widely mis-reported as a Vatican order not to report child abuse to civil authorities.

It needed to get these messages out over and over again – both the genuine sorrow for the past and the positive changes: our Church leaders owe it to the victims, to ordinary Catholics, to the public.

The Church here hasn’t done this – but it really really needs to start doing it now. Maybe the seperate statements issued yesterday by Dr Denis Brennan, Bishop of Ferns and Dr Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Conor are hopeful signs of a change? http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0220/abuse.html

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I commented in a post below (Rome trip should be welcomed) that some elements of the media seemed determined to see only negative in the visit of the Irish Bishops to Rome.  By yesterday the Rome visit had fallen down the headlines as Willie O’Dea came under fire. As I listened to the radio and TV coverage of Willie’s exit (for the moment at any rate!) from the Front Bench, it stuck me that this tendency to see the negative is not confined to coverage of the Church and has become a feature of our culture.

The O’Dea story has been in the public domain since at least November but as soon as it became certain that a resignation was imminent, commentator after commentator spoke about how the whole affair had been badly handled from the start by Willie, by the Taoiseach, by the Greens – and no, the Greens hadn’t redeemed themselves by forcing the issue – it was too late for that. Last week we heard how George Lee had made a fool of himself – but that it was all Enda Kenny’s fault.

Our political system too has negativity built into it.  In my younger days I did briefly consider getting into politics, thinking to change the world while being able to engage endlessly in my favourite pastime of debate and polemic. I now shiver at the thought – the idea that part of my job description would be to ALWAYS criticise and find fault in any and every idea not proposed by my own party. I found it so depressing when the recession first kicked in to hear very bright people use their skills only to pull down each others proposals for recovery, simply because the speakers belonged to different political parties. There has to be a better way!

Aren’t we Christians supposed to be people of the Good News?  This shouldn’t just be some abstract and vaguely Church related aspiration, but a real guiding principle in the way we approach everything in life – looking for the good, the positive, wherever it can be found.

If we did nothing else during Lent but decide to challenge this culture a little and make a determined effort to bring a positive attitude to whatever we’re doing and to our conversations and discussions of events and life in general, who knows what Easter might bring!

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