Prominent theologian Fr Vincent Twomey SVD has said that the Church in Ireland must go farther to atone for the crimes of abuse and cover-up by Church leaders.
He warned that “repentance begins with the courageous facing-up to the past and the frank acknowledgment of wrongdoing”.
One way of doing this, he said, “would be an annual day of public fast and abstinence on the part of us priests and religious in reparation for both clerical and institutional abuse”.
Speaking during a talk at Newman’s University Church in Dublin last night (Wednesday) the professor emeritus of moral theology at Maynooth insisted that “it should be a cry from the heart for God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness, and include prayers for the inner healing of the victims, for the damage done to their faith and to the credibility of the Church, but also prayers for the conversion of the perpetrators”.
At the same time, he said that he believes that “the past achievements of Irish Christianity, above all, but not only, the saints, have to be recognised as sources of pride and inspiration
“Pilgrimages on foot to the holy wells and other sacred sites, such as Clonmacnoise and Clonfert need greater attention, especially for the youth,” he said.
Fr Twomey called on Church leaders to embrace events like ‘Culture Night’ as a way of showcasing the Church’s great legacy in the arts particularly “reminding us of the wonders of 19th- and 20th-Centuary Catholic architecture and sacred music”.
This could be achieved, for example, by illuminating the churches from the outside, guided tours within, and by holding recitals of sacred music on Culture Night.
“We need desperately to revive, in a suitably modern way, prayer services and devotions – or create new Church services which appeal to the heart as well as the mind,” he said.