Sunday, March 21, 2010

Benedict's Bootcamp

Ten years ago the great discussion was should the emphasis in the Church be on the local Church pushed by Kaspar or on the Universal Church pushed by Ratzinger.

It strikes me that so much of the Irish problem stems from its emphasis on the local Church. Willie Walsh, possibly the most pastoral bishop in Ireland, infamously said he threw everything from Rome into the wastebin. One of the criticism of the bishops in the Pope’s letter is that they didn’t follow canonical procedures, the accusations against the young Cardinal Brady imposing oaths of silence on children seems to suggest law being made up on the hoof by local bishops.

In order to solve the problems of the local Church there is the necessary intervention of the Bishop of Rome, Patriarch of the Universal Church.

Having re-read the Pope’s Letter, what he is actually saying is: without this National Mission, I don’t have confidence in you, not only do I think you are incompetent, unlearned, the fruit of a hermeneutic of rupture, separated from the mainstream Church but also, faithless. He is sending them to boot camp!

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.
In the light of this, the Apostolic Administration seems not just about correcting error but presumably about finding replacements outside of the Irish "magic circle".
The trouble is I don’t think the Irish “magic circle” is the only one.


Dominic Mary said...

To put it even more bluntly, Father, His Holiness is apparently saying that he doesn't believe that at least some of the Irish clergy have a proper 'appreciation of their respective vocations', and that he has no confidence that their 'faith in Jesus Christ' has any real roots !

Has any Pope (certainly in recent years) come out with a more scathing indictment ?

(I should clarify by saying that I know many excellent Irish priests and religious; but from the reports I hear from people well-placed to know, it might be rather harder to find such qualities in the Bishops' Conference : so one suspects that the Holy Father's remarks are probably aimed in that direction.)

shane said...

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is the *most* pastoral bishop. Everyone loves him here.

Bishop Willie Walsh is actually fairly shy and incompetent in public speaking, but he has a lot of friends in the media. A few weeks ago he rang into a discussion on national radio to defend his friend Bishop Drennan of Limerick, suggesting his critics were basing their cricitisms on a 'gross misreading of the Murphy Report'. He then admitted he hadn't read the Report. Thankfully he retires in only a few weeks.

Michael Petek said...

Boot camp's rather an odd one.

When my father was in the German Army the usual practice was a disciplinary posting to the Russian front.

If you were there already (as my father was), you got sent to Stalingrad.

When that was no longer available you'd get sent to a penal battalion.

bernadette said...

On my frequent visits to Ireland, I have found one thing that separates it from the English church at the moment: Eucharistic Adoration is to be found much more easily.

Whether it is in Dublin city centre or in the rural south west, the practice of Adoration is much more part of the routine devotion of the local church than it is in the UK. Tnis could well be the key to the renewal of the Church in Ireland. On the mahy occasions when I have chanced upon the open church with the monstrance on the altar, I have been aware that this would be unusual in England., where scheduled Mass is often cancelled because there are no priests.

I know this might contradict the popular fad for slating Irish Catholicism at the moment. So, sorry to be a fly in the ointment.

Anonymous said...

"Ten years ago the great discussion was should the emphasis in the Church be on the local Church pushed by Kaspar or on the Universal Church pushed by Ratzinger."

There shouldn't be any emphasis on either. Both are equally important features of the Church. Each local Church, gathered around its Bishop (see Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrneans ch. 8), contains the fullness of the Church, but this is only guaranteed if each local Church is itself in Communion with all the other local Churches (the universal aspect).

Ttony said...

You've nor been signing petitions again, Father, have you? :-)

shadrach said...

Well said. A certain type of anti-intellectual Irish clericalism which transferred easily into 'the spirit of VII' has been the bane of Irish Catholicism. Willie Walsh is the worst example of this. THe apotheosis of it.

Anonymous said...

It's been needed for a loooong time. However I wonder who will run the boot camps.
I can think of some excellent English speakers-American such as Fr John Corapi, Fr Benedict Groeschel and bishops like Chaput and Bruskeweiz.
I dare say there are others.

I hesitate to say this (especially in the light of todays Gospel) but some people simply have to go surely. I know it would be a truly serious thing to ask bishops to resign but how can there be renewal with the same old people and their same of attitudes?

I think I need to find some Fri penances to do.

Anonymous said...

PS I've been moaning at God about the weight of my crosses recently. Good heavens they seem like balser wood compared to the Holy Father's. Time I shut up methinks!

Fr Ray Blake said...

The Pope makes a great point of the glories of the Irish Church, he sees great hope for it, that is very much part of his letter. His plan seems to a refocussing of it.

One planks of renewal is Eucharistic Adoration, which as you say is a notable feature already of Irish devotional life.
There is such a rich tradition of devotion in Ireland that gives a real impetus for hope. I'd love to see episcopal pilgrimages to St Patrick's Purgatory.

Peter said...

Sounds like a job for P O'D. As a local he would not be an outsider. He would have the confidence of the Vatican that others seem to lack.
Maybe he is needed more on the West of the Irish sea than on the East.
As for the visitation I think, as I suggested in earlier comments, that there should be team regularly inspecting dioceses, not just ad hoc visits.
Thank you, Father, for your posts on these challenging subjects.

gemoftheocean said...

I hope part of the solution won't be for us all to exchange magic circles. Can't the pope himself, start the ball rolling by "retiring" a few of these people a little earlier than expected? "You, you, and YOU, you're out." would do wonders for the morale of the troops.

JARay said...

I see that "Paddy Power" has reduced the odds of Pope Benedict's resignation to 3 to 1.
Personally I hope that the Pope never resigns. I pray for him daily as also I pray for Bishop Willie Walsh...but for a far different outcome.
My own Archdiocese here in Australia has a very large number of parishes with Eucharistic Adoration on at least one day per week. My own parish has it twice a week and there are four parishes with Perpetual Adoration.Our number of seminarians is one of the highest in Australia as is the number of Ordinations.
As they say, time is a great healer, but, unfortunately, this healing is going to take a very long time.

Sharon said...

I'd love to see episcopal pilgrimages to St Patrick's Purgatory.

Father, I agree completely.

The bishops of Ireland, health permitting, should go barefoot to Lough Derg and do the pilgrimage. The public needs to see the bishops 'in sackcloth and ashes' publicly repenting for the wrongs of either themselves or their brother bishops.

Ma Tucker said...

Fr. Ray, your summation is accurate unfortunately. I thank God for this Pope because he gets to the heart of the problem. Many of our Bishops and priests have gone astray. It will be a great day when the scales drop from theirs eyes though. Please God, if we follow the Pope's Instructions, we'll see the light at then end of this horrible tunnel.

Shane Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was a member of the standing commitee of the Irish Bishops conference who issued a letter saying a Catholic could vote yes in good conscience to the Lisbon Constitution ( otherwise miss-known as treaty). A constitution which denies Christ and the FACT of the Christian heritage of Europe. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin proposed giving away up to 40% of Catholic schools to the government for secularisation, despite the fact that parents overwhelmingly desired Catholic education for their children. A rather curious reason stated was that it would allow non-catholic teachers more choice. Sorry, but these two facts alone make him rather undeserving of the title "pastoral" in my view. Furthermore, the way he handled this whole crisis was really poor. I'm here and I do love him but he needs bootcamp bigtime.

Mike said...

bernadette said...
“On my frequent visits to Ireland, I have found one thing that separates it from the English church at the moment: Eucharistic Adoration is to be found much more easily.

Whether it is in Dublin city centre or in the rural south west, the practice of Adoration is much more part of the routine devotion of the local church than it is in the UK.”

I cannot comment on either Ireland or England but I can tell you that there is frequent Eucharistic Adoration in Scotland. In the Glasgow Archdiocese, for example, there is a programme of Forty Hours Adoration involving at least one church every week. This week there are four churches involved.
At my one local church there is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass on Saturdays, at least, and at another church I attend there is daily Exposition and Rosary before the Blessed sacrament immediately before Mass on Mondays to Fridays.

georgem said...

I think you have got to the kernal of the letter, Father. I believe the Pope’s letter to Ireland is for the Catholic Church worldwide, pour encourager les autres.
The collegial model all too often appears to have resulted in self-contained little fiefdoms answerable only to themselves, whilst fobbing off the faithful with platitudinous drivel.
Surely there has to be a middle way. Loyalty to the Pope and acceptance of his guidance would be a start.
I really hope that the E&W bishops do not think that with the current focus on Ireland and other European countries they can rest easy and that it’s business as usual.
If nothing else, they should be aware that with the advent of the internet the laity has found a cohesive voice beyond the boundaries of dioceses and nation states and it will not be silent on those matters which gravely compromise the Catholic Faith.
The first sign that the E&W Bishops Conference has grasped this fact would be the overhaul of the discredited CES.

shane said...

If the Irish Church was anti-intellectual in the pre-conciliar era (I have seen no evidence of it...but anyway), then the blame must surely fall on the French Church. Maynooth was little more than a transplant of the ancien regime Sorbonne; most of its professors were emigrés from the Revolution and the curriculum was the French standard. Even to this day, the Maynooth gown is an adaptation of that worn by clergy professors in the pre-Revolution Sorbonne.

I think it's too easy to scapegoat the Irish Church. Like flogging a dead horse.

shane said...

Ma Tucker, opinion polls on school preference differ sharply depending on the way the question is constructed.

A Irish Times /Ipsos/MRBI poll in January found that:

"61 per cent of people said the church should give up control of the school system, 28 per cent said it should maintain its position and 11 per cent had no opinion on the matter"
Irish Times /Ipsos, MRBI poll.

90%+ of primary schools are under the patronage of a Catholic bishop. That is ridiculous and unsustainable. Almost everyone accepts the need for reform in this area. The Archbishop knows full well that if he takes a reactionary stance and refuses to give up schools, the government would take matters into their own hands and that would be a much worse prospect. Archbishop Ryan, one of Martin's predecessors, bears much blame for the post-conciliar catechetical disaster, but we must face facts. A smaller number of Catholic schools, and consequently greater school choice, will allow a more authentically Catholic ethos to develop.

The Lisbon Treaty is a controversial issue and I don't want to open a rabbit hole. But I'd imagine all bishops supported it. I certainly did. The Treaty does not 'deny' the Christian heritage of Europe, it just doesn't recognize it, which is a bit different. Treaties rarely give recognition to historic facts. But let's not get bogged down in this.

GOR said...

While the Holy Father’s letter is directed to the Irish Church and the present circumstances, I think it is clearly a message to the Universal Church. The way he crafted the letter was very well done. He called to people’s minds the great missionary history of Ireland and the fact that most Irish families can – and always did – boast of members in the priesthood and religious life. This is probably truer in Ireland than in say, a Germany, an Austria or other European countries.

It is a reminder to people of a glorious past history and also the fact that this scandal hits close to home for most families in Ireland. The way some people in Ireland speak of and relate to this is almost as if it all happened in a vacuum. The men and women in clerical and religious life - both guilty and innocent - come from Irish families. They are the brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts of much of the population - not outsiders who came from somewhere else. And that includes the hierarchy!

The Holy Father’s reminder of the tradition of popular devotions, missions and attendance at the Sacraments that we grew up with in earlier times is a wake-up call to people that everyone needs to get on board with their Faith once again. As others have pointed out, Eucharistic Adoration is still very much in evidence in Ireland. In my old parish there is Perpetual Adoration in a hospital chapel – not just weekly or for Forty Hours, but 365 days a year. It is not a cloistered community but ordinary laypeople who keep vigil there and have done so for years.

As to the bishops, Pope Benedict has long been critical of Episcopal Conferences and how they often muddy the waters, give cover to individual bishops and allow them to shirk their responsibilities. He is not one to knock heads and act precipitously. Rather, like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, he would like to draw them to repentance, see the error of their ways, and reform themselves. He doesn’t “desire the death of the sinner”, but that he repent. And that message is not just for them but for us all!

Banshee said...

Why is it a problem if 90% of the schools are Catholic? As long as there's no law stopping the building of private schools run by other people, or government schools run with public money, that's entirely a matter of what the people want, surely? If the government wants to run schools, don't they have the power to ask for funding and build them?

I mean, do people really complain if 90% of houses are owned by families instead of the government? Does the government go in and take house deeds away from Catholics, because too many Catholics own houses?

Now, if you're questioning the competence of the bishops to run a school system, that's a matter of encouraging the bishops to hire people who can run it.

shane said...

It's a problem because the Constitution guarantees school choice, but the government fully funds these schools. There are virtually no 'state' schools in Ireland. The current system is a relic of a long gone Ireland. Everyone accepts the need for reform here. If the Archbishop doesn't voluntarily give up schools, the next government will do the job for him. And they'll confiscate all his schools, not just the superfluous ones.

Sadie Vacantist said...

In my parish in England during Lent we had Stations of the Cross followed by a "communion service" this conducted by the PP! In other words no Mass. This strikes me as crazy. "Communion services" are becoming more and more the norm and these fools wonder there is an identity crisis in the priesthood? It´s all self-inflicted with help from the mafia of lay people who haunt parish life.

Ma Tucker said...

I really thing your position is quite unreasonable.
The Catholic school system is not national property simply managed by the Catholic Church. The schools were built by Catholics and mantained by Catholics. Catholic taxpayers pay for teachers and school buildings and maintenance. The government may be obliged to offer diversity but not at the expense of the bulk of the population. In fact they are obliged to support parents in their primary duty (parents have the primary duty under that Irish constitution) to educate their children. Yes, their are parents who wish a secular education sytem. "Educate Together" is a group set up and funded to provide this.

What I and all the Catholic parents I know desire is a good and proper Catholic education for our children. What many non-religious parents (I know of) desire is also a good Catholic education for their children. It is the gold standard when done properly and parents know it.

As regard your poll from the Irish times issued at the height of the controversy, well I think I would be sorely tempted to discard it. It does not state that parents do not want a Catholic education for their children. It was carried out it at the height of the scandal and lets face it the Irish times is hardly a credible purveyor of truth. The Iona institue is a lot more reliable.

You are quite right to state that many constitutions (in this case mis-named as Treaty) do not recognise Christ and the role of the Catholic Church but you will find that the Irish constitution does. Not only that, it recognises the role of the family and the legitimate right of the people to be governed by laws agreeable to them. This, you may sign away unknowingly and with good intentions but not "in good conscience". While many of our Bishops supported the Lisbon Constitution I would hope that not all. However, I would not take any moral guidance in their position of support given that the Pope recognises their need for conversion. A case of the blind leading the blind.

You are quite right to point out the serious failings of Catholic education in many of our schools but surely this can change. By handing them over to the State the challenge of re-evangelisation becomes more difficult. Not only that, you also expose children to poor moral direction guided by perverse notions of humanity. The State is a poor educator and a notoriously negligent parent. Look to the UK to see this.

You were also quite right to state that the Lisbon Constitution did not deny Christ. It simply sidelined the Christian heritage of Europe as one among many religions that have played a "role" in the formation of European culture. The Lisbon Constitution gave the major credit for this formation to the Endarkenment (otherwise known as the Enlightenment by those in the dark). Now, any person taking a trip around Europe can plainly see its cultural heritage written in it's buildings. It is overwhemingly Christian. In fact, the majority of European citizens are Christian. To sideline this fact of heritage is to deny your roots. It is a lie to do so. So, no the Lisbon Constitutions did not explicitly deny Christ, it simply brushed him aside with a lie which, according to the Standing committee of the Irish Bishops conference, you can sign up to "in good conscience".

Annoyed in Ireland said...

'On my frequent visits to Ireland, I have found one thing that separates it from the English church at the moment: Eucharistic Adoration is to be found much more easily.'

Yes this is true... BUT I am not sure the Holy Father would agree with the way it is done right now.

Not in accordance with correct practice or proper reverence I would think.

To often one sees the Blessed Sacrament alone in the churches here in Ireland and if you are lucky two candles (there should be more), or a corporal. Often the Sacrament is exposed by a lay person, who I have even witnessed just walking up to the altar and giving a 'benediction' at the end. Even the clergy do not observe the correct rites. One church near here has exposition every week. Never a priest in sight and the monstrance with Our Lord is placed on a small plastic topped table to the side of the altar.

The cathedral here exposes the Blessed Sacrament from inside a glass fronted 'tabernacle' (forbidden so far as I was aware), no candles, no 'watchers' and even witnessed people practising 'liturgy' chatting away, not a genuflection in sight, as though this was normal.

Not sure this displays externally what the belief should be interiorly (which I cannot judge).

Surely we shouldn't treat God this way?

Symptomatic of the problems the Holy Father refers to I suspect.

shane said...

Ma Tucker, it is your position that is unreasonable. 90%+ of primary schools are under the patronage of Catholic bishops. That does not nearly reflect the proportion of the population who want Catholic education. Yes Catholic taxpayers fund them, as do all other taxpayers; and most Catholic taxpayers would support patronage reform. Educate Together schools, in their current format, are already often a wasteful duplication of resources. Whatever capital invested to buy the site (and often that was provided by the state anyway), the government has more than amply remunerated by paying their total running costs since the foundation of the state. Pat Rabbitte, the leader of the Labour party, demanded the total nationalization of primary schools as a means of recompense for the taxpayers bailing out the religious orders. Holding onto such vast swathes of education infrastructure is both unnecessary and counter-productive - it forces bishops to take account of the sensitivities of parents who do not want a Catholic education for their child, but have no other option.

Archbishop Martin's approach is prudent. He knows this is the only way to save Catholic education. When the post-conciliar catechetical disaster is resolved, and a Catholic ethos is once more enforced, Catholic schools may possibly recover lost territory simply by Darwinistic means. The reactionary position you suggest would result in every single Catholic school being expropriated to the state. Either way reform of the education system to take account of demographic changes is inevitable - Archbishop Martin has got there first so as to get it on the Church's terms.

Regardless, this does not directly concern the topic at hand. It is a rabbit hole and I shan't be responding to any more comments on it.

Fr Ray Blake said...

NO MORE on schools!

GOR said...

Annoyed: I take your point about the lack of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. While I have not witnessed some of the things you noted, here in the US, there is a definite lack of respect and realization of the Real Presence when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed. At my parish we have Adoration on Tuesday mornings after the 8:30 Mass. But I see people chatting at the back of the church with backs to the Blessed Sacrament even after Exposition has started.

I don’t believe it is intentional disrespect - rather “they know not what they do”. This comes, I believe, from a general lack of decorum and respect in church at all times. Even if the Blessed Sacrament is not exposed, Our Lord is still present in the Tabernacle and we should show proper respect for Him at all times.

People have not been adequately catechized on the Real Presence for a generation or more. And this is not helped by the example of some – clerical and lay – during the Liturgy. If Father or the other ministers at the altar pass the Tabernacle without as much as a bow (it should be a genuflection, except at rare times during Mass) people copy what they see.

When people are taught that the Mass is just a ‘meal’ and the House of God is merely a ‘meeting place’ like the parish hall, and when the Tabernacle is hidden away out of sight or not even present in the Church proper, people never develop a sense of respect and awe for the Blessed Sacrament.

We have lost much in the past 40 years. We have much to re-gain.

shane said...

"Jansenism". The Oxford Companion to Irish History. 2007.

"Jansenism was viewed with great suspicion by Rome, and 17th‐century Irish synods toed the Roman line. Indeed, while its moral rigorism made it attractive to elements of the Counter‐Reformation church, Jansenism's theological and political radicalism alienated both local hierarchies and Catholic monarchs. This was especially the case in France and most Irish clerical students there associated with milieux hostile to the movement. Indeed their anti‐Jansenist opinions were singled out for criticism by the pro‐Jansenist journal Nouvelles ecclésiastiques, Irish clerics, in general, being more attracted to Jesuit‐style humanism. The success of the anti‐Jansenist bull Unigenitus (1713) marginalized the movement but it survived as a popular millenarian‐cum‐miracle cult. Neither as a theology nor as a political attitude did Jansenism recommend itself to the Irish Catholic community, either at home or abroad. The frequent claim that Irish Catholicism was Jansenist‐influenced springs from the tendency to confuse Jansenism with mere moral rigorism."

Dr Thomas O'Connor. Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer - Department of History, National University of Ireland, Maynooth faculty

author of:

_Irish Jansenists 1600-1670: politics and religion in Flanders, France, Ireland and Rome (Dublin, 2008)
_Strangers to Citizens: the Irish in Europe 1600-1800 (Dublin, 2008)
_An Irish Jansenist in seventeenth-century France: John Callaghan 1605-54 (Dublin, 2005)
_An Irish Theologian in Enlightenment Europe: Luke Joseph Hooke 1714-96 (Dublin, 1995)

Healy, John. Maynooth College : its centenary history (1895). Dublin : Browne & Nolan, 1895.

"During the eighteenth century many of the most eminent Churchmen in France were, to some extent, tinctured with these Jansenistic views, even when repudiating the Jansenistic errors regarding the operation of grace and free will. But although so many of our Irish ecclesiastics were educated in France during the eighteenth century, none of those who came to Ireland ever showed the slightest trace of this Jansenistic influence, either in their writings or their sermons. Nor has any respectable authority asserted, so far as we know, that the French Professors of Maynooth were in any way tinged with the spirit of Jansenism."

Most Rev. John Healy, D.D., LL.D., M.R.I.A.

Joan said...

Dear Father, i read your blog with great interest. it is apparent from the comments that you are held with enormous respect within your Parish, and i thank you for the debate you encourage.
Returning to the original subject, i have 2 great concerns for the future:
Firstly: that our beautiful Church, that gives me great love, comfort and joy represents a place of threat, distaste, distrust and pain to so many victims. This is hard to reconcile.
Secondly: last week saw a landmark decision made in the Court of Appeal, where a Roman Catholic charity was permitted to override common law and continue its practice of embracing one of doctrines of our Faith. Whether one agrees with the principles of this decision, what it demonstrates is the ability for the Church to have its beliefs recognised over and above common law. Sadly the example of past decades in relation to abuse could damage and challenge such recognition in the future, leaving the Church no option but to wholly abide by the law of the land. Respect can only be given when it is earnt.

GOR said...

Father, an FYI - you have arrived!

In addition to being quoted in USA Today and The Argus, you have now been linked to by Paolo Rodari - the Italian Vaticanista - on his blog Palazzo Apostolico!

Good for you - and good that the voices of orthodoxy are being recognized!

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gosh! I have arrived!

Crux Fidelis said...

A few inaccuracies and more than a little hyperbole in today's Grauniad:

The bit about the Austrian prelate and injudicious comments re Hurricane Katrina puzzled me. IIRC it was the CofE Bishop of Carlisle who made those remarks. If I'm wrong I'm sure someone will correct me.

shane said...

The Catholic Communications Office has issued this press release to correct media lying about the wording and nature administered:

Catholic Communications Office concerning Irish Independent published article of 18 March 2010
19 March 2010

Correction note from the Catholic Communications Office concerning Irish Independent published article of 18 March 2010
The following is a correction note from the Catholic Communications Office regarding the Irish Indepedent article "Revealed: Oath taken by Smyth, children, and Brady" by Breda Heffernan published yesterday, 18 March 2010.

In relation to the wording of the oath involved in the 1975 enquiry involving the then Fr Seán Brady and concerning Fr Brendan Smyth, the published words used in yesterday’s Irish Independent (18 March 2010) were incorrect. The wording of the oath is as follows:

“I [name] hereby swear that I have told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and that I will talk to no-one about this interview except authorised priests.”

In addition, the following sentence was included in the second oath:

“So help me God and these holy Gospels which I touch.”

Authorised priests in this case refers to the personnel who were taking evidence. The intention of the oaths was to avoid potential collusion in the gathering of the enquiry’s evidence and to ensure that the process was robust enough to withstand challenge by the perpetrator, Fr Brendan Smyth. It was understood by canonical personnel in Ireland that the oaths were no longer binding when the taking of evidence from all witnesses was complete.

Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678

shane said...

nature of the oath administered*

shane said...

'Priests seek atonement at Lough Derg''

bernadette said...

I am sure it is far too late to add anything useful to an already eloquent post from Fr Ray and comments - however.. just in case...

There is absolutely no doubt that Scotland's Catholics are blazing a trail. I often look for news of the Catholic Church in Scotland because it gives hope for the rest of us ! Keep strong and keep faithful because we need you.

That you are pioneering Eucharistic Adoration in these times is a Prophetic witness in itself.

We know that Jesus Himself promised that The Church would always survive. Our role is to stand in that gap and to be able to say, when we stand before Him, "yes, Lord, I did plant that insignificant tiny seed. I said that word, I did my small bit" ...

And, from what you say, it sounds as though you have/and are doing so. The Church in Scotland is a Gold Standard for the Church in England and Wales in my personal opinion.

You need to pray for the Bishops in England and Wales. God will use them.

"annoyed in Ireland" - you are, of course, right to be annoyed. The extraordinary thing is, that, out of all the hundreds of people who might have noticed this sacrilege, God has given that discernment to you.

You can either choose to get more annoyed, or to understand that God needs his people to continue to adore Him at the moment, until sufficient numbers come forward.

John the Baptist frequently wondered what on earth his role was. He preached, he witnessed, he prepared the way to the point where most ordinary folks dismissed him as a nutter.

I sometimes wonder whether God is rasing up many, many John the Baptists in the 21st Century.

We won't really ever see the fruits of our work, we will be utterly ridiculed and demised and we will be preaching a very unpopular message.

I don't see any alternative option than: "Keep going, because the Lord, your God, is with you."

Although, I do wish that Eucharistic Adoration in E and W was more routinely practised. I was told by one priest, recently, that it was "Bad Theology".

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