Archbishop Michael Neary laid out a plan for the future

Archbishop Michael Neary laid out a plan for the future

Dear Editor, It is a pity that your initial coverage (IC 13/11/2014) of Archbishop Michael Neary’s homily to the Association of Papal Knights did not make it past the first half of the sermon, else Deirdre Uí Ghoibín (Letters, IC 04/12/2014) might have been saved from her uncharitable assessment.

The archbishop’s homily was remarkable for its candid and un-sugared presentation of the truth of the situation we now find ourselves in. Society has indeed become largely ‘secularised’ and Christendom, that common civilisation that dominated Europe for so long, has been shattered as the commonly understood way to view reality.

That does not mean that the Church is gone. Indeed, our faith teaches us that the Church will last until the end of days. However, there is no guarantee that it will continue to survive in all areas of the globe as a vibrant believing community.

Take the historic example of North Africa, once the domain of St Augustine of Hippo and almost entirely Christian, which fell to Islam many centuries ago.

Following his frank assessment, in the second half of the homily, the archbishop laid out a possible plan for the future. He avoided the siren call of a smaller purer Church, or of hunkering down, but rather presented a future of evangelisation and issued a call to arms in that respect to Catholics, both cleric and lay.

Far from surrendering, he has, as any good general might, taken account of the resources to hand and the terrain before him, and responded with a strategy appropriate to the challenge ahead.

That Ms Uí Ghoibín would include him in her general denunciation of what she perceives to have been the Irish hierarchy’s lack of action to the recent abortion legislation is unfortunate, given that Dr Neary was one of the more active bishops in that debate.

Finally, I can assure her that Dr Neary needs no lecture on his duty with respect to the cura animarum. This once prodigal son from the Church experienced at first hand the exercise by Dr Neary of his office as the forgiving father and the shepherd who went out to seek the lost sheep.


Yours etc.,

Alan Hynes,

Co. Galway.