Cloyne’s Bishop William Crean has praised Irish missionaries for having raised awareness of the plight of people around the world affected by climate change.
Speaking at a Mass to mark the centenary of St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh, Bishop Crean said it was important to “remember with gratitude to God the outstanding contribution of the Irish Church to the work of evangelisation across so many countries”.
“Priests, religious and lay people of immense faith, courage and generosity gave of themselves in service of the peoples to whom they were sent,” he continued, noting that “before their time they conscientised and developed awareness of the plight of people impacted by climate change”. By doing so, he said, they had “helped to bring it centre stage in the life of the Church culminating in the prophetic document Laudato Si’ – from Pope Francis, where he invites us to conversion in the service of an integral human ecology”.
Dr Crean also said it was important to take credit for the goodness, kindness, mercy and compassion of so many in the Church who had nurtured a society “where humour and neighbourliness lifted the heart through life’s trial”.
Rejecting predictions of the Church’s demise, Dr Crean said Irish Catholics go forward in joy and hope, insisting that “we will not be cowed by those who seek to denigrate faith as a form of ignorance, delusion or extremism”. The challenge for the Church, he said, is to offer to a new generation a vision of life “that goes deeper and is more wholesome than ‘Because I am worth it’”.