Four years on no sign of initiative
A major national mission called for by Pope Benedict XVI more than four years ago has still not been set up by the Church here.
Pope Benedict, in his 2010 pastoral letter addressed to the Catholics of Ireland, proposed a nationwide mission be held in Ireland for all bishops, priests and religious, in an attempt to renew the Irish Church.
However, more than four years later, the Church in Ireland has still not established the mission and has apparently no concrete plans to do so.
In his letter, the Pontiff said a nationwide mission for all members of the clergy and religious congregations would lead to an improved understanding of their vocations and a rediscovery of their faith.
The Pope proposed the new mission draw on experienced preachers and retreat givers from Ireland and elsewhere to explore Church documents, the liturgical rites of ordination and profession, and recent pontifical teaching.
However, a spokesman for the Irish Church confirmed to The Irish Catholic this week that the suggested national mission is “yet to take place”.
“A number of initiatives were proposed by Pope Benedict in his letter to the Catholics of Ireland. Some of those have been implemented and some are yet to be implemented. The proposal of a national mission falls into the second category,” the spokesman said.
“All these initiatives are part of and support the ongoing process of renewal of the Church in Ireland,” he said, adding “this particular initiative is yet to take place”.
Pope Benedict’s pastoral letter followed revelations of clerical sex abuse within the Irish Church, which rocked the institution.
Calling on Irish bishops, priests and religious to establish the nationwide mission, Pope Benedict said: “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.”