17 March: A Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

As ever with our devotional threads to mark a Feast Day, feel free to share your favourite hymns and prayers, stories and experiences. And a few jokes won’t go astray either. Here’s one that made me laugh, albeit having a bit of fun with the (entirely false) claim that our Irish friends are less than bright …

The BBC decided to make a news report on how thick the Irish are,  so they went to Dublin and set out a massive stage in the middle of the city. Cameras lights and everything. Before they started the report, a huge crowd gathered, very excitable.  So the presenter got up on the stage and said down the mic: “I need a volunteer!” and he points to a man in the crowd and says: “What’s your name sir?”

“Sean” the man replied. “OK Sean, come up on stage”.  So he goes up and stands where he is asked to stand. “OK Sean, I’m going to ask you a short easy question, what’s 5+9?” “Oooo,  I know this to be sure I do, that’ll be 7.” “No, that’s wrong Sean.”

The crowd went wild shouting and screaming: “We’re not tick, we’re not tick, give him another chance! “

“OK,  I’ll give him another question: “What’s 5+3?”

“I know this one, that’s simple, that’ll be 9.” 

“Sorry, Sean, wrong..; ”   We’re not tick, we’re not tick, give him another chance!

“OK, one last question:  What’s 2+2?”

“I know this to be sure, I do, that’ll be 4”. 

And the crowd shouts, “Give him another chance!”

Happy St Patrick’s day!

Rocky Road From Dublin: Irish Bishops In Rome – seeking end of celibacy?

The Irish Bishops are in Rome for their ad limina visit

shamrockBelow, report from The Irish Catholic…

The Irish hierarchy will not ask Pope Francis to consider permitting priests who left to get married to return to ministry at a meeting in Rome next week after failing to reach a consensus, The Irish Catholic can reveal.

However, Bishop Leo O’Reilly, who first brought the proposal for discussion with his fellow Irish bishops, said the issue may well come up during a series of meetings the Irish bishops are due to have with the Pontiff and senior Vatican officials in coming days.

The possibility of married men being ordained to the priesthood in Ireland may come up in next week’s meeting between the bishops and Pope Francis, according to the bishop who in 2015 said the idea should be considered.

The bishop’s observation comes against a background of rumours that the Pope is willing to allow married former priests to return to ministry in Brazil on a phased and experimental basis, and as Ireland’s bishops are due to make their first ad limina visit  to Rome in a decade.

In June 2015, Kilmore’s Bishop Leo O’Reilly said he was liaising with other bishops about setting up a commission to discuss the possibilities of ordaining married men and of appointing female deacons, saying that the Pope encouraged individual bishops and bishops’ conferences to be creative in looking at ways to do ministry in the future, and that Ireland bishops must “consider all options”.

Saints are used to handling snakes...

Saints are used to handling snakes…

However, Dr O’Reilly told The Irish Catholic, no decision was made when he raised the matter with his fellow bishops in 2015. 

“There was a discussion about it at the bishops’ conference, and it was inconclusive – there was no decision taken at that point, and that’s where it rested,” he said.

“Where it came from originally was the diocesan pastoral plan,” he said, highlighting how it had arisen following an 18-month listening process in his Kilmore diocese which had led in turn to a diocesan assembly and a new diocesan pastoral plan to tackle such challenges facing the Church as the declining number of priests.

“The request of the plan was that I would bring it to the bishops’ conference, which I have done,” he continued. “I don’t know whether there is anything more that I could do on it.”

At the same time, he said, there was a chance that the proposal could be raised at next week’s ad limina visit of the Irish bishops to Rome. “I’d say it’s possible,” he said, “because I would have sent in the pastoral plan as part of the submission of the report to the Vatican.”  Source

Comment…

Well.. will Catholic Irish eyes be smiling at the end of this ad limina d’ye think, at all, at all? 

17th March… Feast of St Patrick

Click here to read the Catholic Encyclopaedia account of the life of St Patrick.

We’re  launching this thread on St Patrick  – and shortly, a thread to mark the Feast of  St Joseph – ahead of the Feast Days, which are, of course, 17th and 19th March respectively. That is because, in preparation for our usual closure during Holy Week, we’ve closed all the discussion threads early. The atmosphere on the blog has not been good recently, and so we need time to recollect ourselves as the end of Lent approaches, and we enter into the events of Holy Week.  

This thread is a purely devotional and fun thread.  As with all Feast Day threads, we may post favourite prayers, hymns litanies, etc. And a few good clean fun jokes will also be welcome.  This is not the place for controversy – it is a Feast Day thread to learn more about the saint of the day and to share favourite prayers and jokes.  Enjoy!

Saints are used to handling snakes...

Saints are used to handling snakes…

 

Pope Francis: Dublin Next To Host World Meeting of Families – Joke, Right?

Pope-Francis-and-Archbishop-Diarmuid-MartinPope Francis has announced that the next World Meeting of Families will take place in 2018 in Dublin. 

He made the announcement at the concluding Mass of the World Meeting of Families which ended in Philadelphia this evening. It was the final stage of Pope Francis’ historic trip to United States. Tonight’s Mass in Philadelphia was attended by almost one million people. Before Mass, the Pope greeted Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.

Held every three years and sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family, the World Meeting of Families is the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families. It has been described as a celebration of family life and of the Catholic Church’s commitment to support families.

Throughout his visit to the United States this week Pope Francis spoke on the theme of the family in a broad manner referring to issues of education, child parent relationships, employment and poverty. Speaking on the family at the prayer vigil for the World Meeting in Philadelphia on Saturday night Pope Francis said:

            “I think of all those families which lack access to basic health services.  Families which, when faced with medical problems, especially those of their younger or older members, are dependent on a system which fails to meet their needs, is insensitive to their pain, and forces them to make great sacrifices to receive adequate treatment.

            We cannot call any society healthy when it does not leave real room for family life.  We cannot think that a society has a future when it fails to pass laws capable of protecting families and ensuring their basic needs, especially those of families just starting out.  How many problems would be solved if our societies protected families and provided households, especially those of recently married couples, with the possibility of dignified work, housing and healthcare services to accompany them throughout life? 

            God’s dream does not change; it remains intact and it invites us to work for a society which supports families.  A society where bread, “fruit of the earth and the work of human hands” continues to be put on the table of every home, to nourish the hope of its children.”

Previous Meetings have been held Rome in 1994, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1997, Rome again in 2000, Manila in the Philippines in 2003, Valencia, Spain, in 2006, Mexico City, in 2009, Milan in 2012, and Philadelphia 2015.

Pope Francis, speaking of the World Congress, stressed that “the family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally. That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world; it is the leaven of society”.

The announcement comes just days before the inauguration of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly World Synod of Bishops which will take place in the Vatican from 5th to 26th October on the theme: “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World”.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that he hoped the holding of the Meeting in Ireland would be an occasion to take up the programme of the Synod to strengthen the place of the family in handing on the faith in the face of many new challenges.  He said, the family in Ireland is strong and the Church is called to take up the challenge of ensuring that future Catholic generations are prepared to live their marriage as an itinerary of faith.

The date and the programme of the 2018 Meeting  will be decided at a later stage in consultation with the Pontifical Council for the Family.  The 2018 World Meeting is expected to  extend to various parts of Ireland and given the size of the country, the event will take on different dimensions to that of the Philadelphia event which concluded tonight.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has welcomed the announcement saying, “I am delighted to hear that Pope Francis has announced that the 9th World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin, and that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is in Philadelphia with our delegation to hear the news directly from the Holy Father.  Three years ago the 50th International Eucharistic Congress was a great celebration of faith for Ireland, and it attracted pilgrims from all around the world.  I am confident that the World Meeting of Families in 2018 will also be an uplifting event for all of us.

“Despite many challenges, the family remains at the heart of faith and of so much that we hold important in this country.  Our preparations for the World Meeting of Families will inspire us as we implement, over the next few years, the recommendations which will emerge from the Synod on the Family in Rome next month.

“At the ‘Festival of Families’ on Saturday night in Philadelphia, Pope Francis said: “What God most wants from us is to knock on the doors of families and to find people who love each other, who bring up their children with love and who contribute to a society of truth, goodness and beauty.”  I look forward to sharing the joy of this announcement with Archbishop Diarmuid, my fellow bishops and with people from all around the country as we begin thinking about how, together,  we can best plan to make this significant international event a success.”  Source

Comment

Lots of references to “family” and “marriage” in there, but in a formerly Catholic land where the Bishops (especially Archbishop Diarmuid Martin) did nothing to discourage Catholics from voting for same-sex “marriage” and, in fact, gave their tacit, some of us think open support to the YES campaign, this announcement comes as yet one more scandal.  Pope Francis, remember, to this day has remained silent on the pro-same-sex “marriage” vote in Ireland. It is curious, then,  to say the least, that he has chosen Ireland as the host country for the next meeting on “the family” in 2018.  What’s going on?  Precisely how will “marriage” and “the family” be defined by the Irish authorities charged with preparing this World Meeting of “Families”? I’m already seeing rainbow flags and “pride” marches celebrating the event. St Patrick, pray for us!

Irish Bishops Embarrassingly Weak…

Below is the statement issued by the Irish Bishops ahead of the referendum in May on same-sex marriage.  It is truly cringeworthy stuff.  Editorial comment has been inserted, briefly, to highlight some of the key weaknesses.

‘Marriage is important – Reflect before you change it’ – Statement of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference 10 March 2015  referendum

Within weeks the people of Ireland will be asked to vote in a referendum that will change the meaning of marriage in the Constitution of Ireland.

Marriage is of fundamental importance for children, mothers and fathers, and society – all of us need to reflect deeply before changing it.  We ask the people of Ireland to consider very carefully the profound implications which this constitutional amendment would have on the family environment and on our understanding of parenthood.
Ed: we “ask” the people of Ireland to “consider carefully”… ?  Shouldn’t that be “we warn the people of Ireland of the consequences, both here and in eternity, of voting  for this immoral legislation?

We respect the views of people who think differently to us (Ed: do we?  I don’t)  trusting that our sincerely held views, grounded in faith, will also be heard and respected.
Ed: it’s not “our views” that matter.  It’s God’s moral law that the Irish Government seeks to overturn. That’s a heck of a lot more important than any human viewpoint.

We come to this debate believing that the union of a man and a woman in marriage, open to the procreation of children, is a gift from God who created us ‘male and female’.  Reason also points to the truth about human sexuality that makes the relationship between a man and a woman unique.  Mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a child’s life.

We cannot support* an amendment to the Constitution which redefines marriage and effectively places the union of two men, or two women, on a par with the marriage relationship between a husband and wife which is open to the procreation of children.
* Ed: nor may any Catholic support this amendment to the Constitution, without incurring the wrath of God – you forgot that bit, Bishops.

We are concerned that, should the amendment be passed, it will become increasingly difficult to speak any longer in public about marriage as being between a man and a woman.  What will we be expected to teach children in school about marriage?  Will those who sincerely continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman be forced to act against their conscience?  Can a way be found to protect the civil rights of gay people without undermining the fundamental meaning of marriage as commonly understood across cultures, faiths and down the ages?
Ed: yet again we find this fundamental error, of accepting the legitimacy of homosexual behaviour, in the first place, instead of condemning it as unnatural and gravely sinful. They leave themselves open to the obvious criticism that they are objecting only to the use of the M word – call it something else, not marriage, and we’re fine with it. What a ridiculous and ignorant position to hold.

Already, in The Children and Family Relationships Bill, it is proposed to remove mention of mothers and fathers from a whole raft of previous legislation.
Ed: and precisely where is the episcopal outrage at this proposal?

We encourage everyone to think about these issues and to vote on May 22nd.
Ed: excuse me?  You “encourage” the souls in your care to “think about these issues” and to vote… eh… how? on May 22nd? What’s to think about? There’s only one way for any Catholic to vote – isn’t there?  Why not say so? What is WRONG with you men? Are you faithless? Cowards? What then?

The effects of this proposed amendment will be far-reaching for this and for future generations.
Ed: the effects of this proposed amendment will be far reaching in eternity!  Or don’t you believe that?

We say to all voters: Marriage is important – Reflect before you change it.
Ed:  unbelievable.  What the Irish Bishops SHOULD be saying to all voters is: do NOT change the Constitution on marriage and if you vote to do so, be prepared to, literally, take the heat in eternity.  Afraid this would be counter productive? You forget about the grace of God and anyway, that’s not your concern. Your duty is to proclaim the truth, to warn of the consequences of defying God’s law, and then be at peace. How you can sleep at night having published such a wimpish statement on such a crucial issue, is a mystery to beat any Mystery of Faith.

We invite people of faith to bring this decision to prayer.  In the coming weeks, and particularly in May, the month of Mary, we call for prayer for Marriage and the Family.  END.
Ed: O, give it a rest. Throwing in a mention of prayer at the end, doesn’t fool anyone of even average intelligence.  It’s a very true saying that when the Faith goes, the Morals quickly follow.  We’ve known for a long time now that the Bishops of Ireland, like the Bishops of the UK have long since lost the Catholic Faith if ever they truly held to it. 

In conclusion…

Catholics of Ireland – there is only ONE way for you to vote in the forthcoming referendum on same-sex “marriage” and you have a duty to cast that vote – NO! NO! NO!  

Comments invited…

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

St PatrickSNAKESHail, Glorious St Patrick

Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, dear saint of our Isle,   On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile;   And now thou art high in the mansions above,  On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.

On Erin’s green valleys, on Erin’s green valleys,   On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.

Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, thy words were once strong  Against Satan’s wiles and an infidel throng;   Not less is thy might where in heaven thou art;   O, come to our aid, in our battle take part.

O come to our aid, O come to our aid, O come to our aid, in our battle take part.

In the war against sin, in the fight for the faith,   Dear saint, may thy children resist unto death;   May their strength be in meekness, in penance, their prayer,   Their banner the cross which they glory to bear.

Their banner the cross, their banner the cross, their banner the cross which they glory to bear.

Thy people, now exiles on many a shore,   Shall love and revere thee till time be no more;   And the fire thou hast kindled shall ever burn bright,   Its warmth undiminished, undying its light.

Its warmth undiminished, its warmth undiminished, its warmth undiminished, undying its light.

Ever bless and defend the sweet land of our birth,   Where the shamrock still blooms as when thou wert on earth,   And our hearts shall yet burn, wherever we roam,   For God and Saint Patrick, and our native home.

For God and Saint Patrick,   for God and Saint Patrick, for God and Saint Patrick, and our native home. shamrock

Comment

Ireland is in a terrible state these days, in terms of the Faith. They have a referendum on same-sex marriage  looming, with all the polls showing a likely victory for its proponents.  Yet, Irish missionaries have spread the Faith worldwide and the faithful persevered (think “Mass rocks”) during times of persecution.   Little wonder, then, that Satan is working his diabolical disorientation on them big time and with bells on, during this dreadful crisis in the Church.

This thread, then, is to allow us to remember to pray for Ireland on this national Feast Day, but also to  share our favourite prayers, hymns, memories and – yes, we MUST have some – jokes!  I’m not sure this will be generally known outside of Ireland, but, as we (in the UK) prepare for a General Election, it might be helpful to our politicians to know that unemployment has been virtually wiped out in Ireland because they have raised the school leaving age to 65…

Ireland: is Catholic Education Finished?

schoolgirlCatholic and Protestant teachers will train alongside each other in a new institute announced by the Irish Government last week.

The Institute of Education will replace the Catholic St Patrick’s College and Mater Dei Institute as well as the Church of Ireland College of Education and operate under Dublin City University.

The move was announced by the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn last week in a document “A New Vision of Education for all the Children of Ireland.”

Speaking at the launch the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin said the new institute reflected something of how the future of education in Ireland is progressing and how people wish it to progress in a pluralist society.

“Pluralism should not produce negative rivalry or antagonism or give rise to elitism or social division, or a culture which seeks to maintain positions based on narrow ideologies,” he said.

The multidenominational institute will train teachers for the Catholic Church, Church of Ireland and other Christian traditions and will provide ongoing development for teachers and educators.

The move has not been welcomed by everyone, with Dr Ciarán Ó Coigligh, at St Patrick’s, describing it as “a takeover” and giving into those who “promote a secularist agenda.”

He said: “It is stated that the core curriculum will be ‘denominationally neutral’. This is a blatant contradiction of the essence of Christian education which requires that the denominational ethos permeates the whole teaching and learning experience.”   Source

Comment

Clearly, Catholic education is set to become a thing of the past in Ireland, with no plans to train Catholic teachers to pass on the Catholic religion. A “denominationally neutral” curriculum just doesn’t cut it. But is this really any different from what has been going on in so called Catholic education in the UK for years now? Is the question “is Catholic education finished in Ireland” OR – perhaps more  accurately – “is Catholic education finished?” End of.  Tell  us your thoughts.