Monday, February 28, 2011

Healing the Church

Fr. Mark discusses the Irish debacle, which is a microcosm of what has gone on everywhere else.
Sociological analysis can help to identify systemic weaknesses and uncover certain wounds, but healing and new life can come only through the Precious Blood of the Lamb, who manifested himself at Knock, between the altar and the cross, and through Our Blessed Lady's renewal of the priesthood in holiness. In appearing in the company of Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist, the two men who, after Jesus, shared her life most intimately, Our Lady of Knock presented to all priests the secret of true renewal: a life shared with her at every moment. This is not pietism; it is realism of the most effective kind.

The Holy Father's Letter
 It's a pity that Archbishop Martin made no reference to the salient proposals of the Holy Father's remarkable Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, a document that is both inspired and inspiring, shot through with a spiritual vision for reform and renewal. We do well to recall the Holy Father's plan for the renewal of Catholic life in Ireland.

Reference and Recourse to Ireland's Saints
• It is my prayer that, assisted by the intercession of her many saints and purified through penance, the Church in Ireland will overcome the present crisis and become once more a convincing witness to the truth and the goodness of Almighty God, made manifest in his Son Jesus Christ.

Friday Penance and Confession
• I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace.

Eucharistic Adoration
• Particular attention should also be given to Eucharistic adoration, and in every diocese there should be churches or chapels specifically devoted to this purpose. I ask parishes, seminaries, religious houses and monasteries to organize periods of Eucharistic adoration, so that all have an opportunity to take part. Through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.

Nationwide Mission
•I also propose that a nationwide Mission be held for all bishops, priests and religious. It is my hope that, by drawing on the expertise of experienced preachers and retreat-givers from Ireland and from elsewhere, and by exploring anew the conciliar documents, the liturgical rites of ordination and profession, and recent pontifical teaching, you will come to a more profound appreciation of your respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of your faith in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water that he offers you through his Church.

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