Dec. 7, 2011 —During his homily at the Mass pro eligendo Romano Pontifice (for the election of the Roman Pontiff) on April 18, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger cautioned his fellow-cardinals that John Paul II’s successor would have to deal with an emerging “dictatorship of relativism” throughout the western world: the use of coercive state power to impose an agenda of dramatic moral deconstruction on all of society. ... [read more]
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Letters to Editor:
Thoughts on the Irish and the English
As a native Irishman, long-settled in Denver, I broadly agree with George Weigel’s (“Downsizing-to-grow in Ireland,” Nov. 23 Denver Catholic Register ) prescriptions for the Church in Ireland. For too long the Irish Church has been spoiled and indulged, has been too close to, and cozy with, native political power and so top-heavy with privilege as to lose sight of needed reforms. Not to mention the other scandals. The hierarchy was also spoiled by being cut off from the Church outside Ireland. The old joke, cherished by the Irish, that the Irish Catholic Church was the “One, True Church,” and that all the other (Catholic) churches were necessarily suspect, has recoiled on them.
I have an additional suggestion which may not have occurred to Weigel. Unlike Americans, British Catholics, long outnumbered and living in an overwhelmingly secular—albeit mostly humane—culture, cannot take for granted that their faith will be understood and respected either by politicians, newspapers or people of other faiths. They, therefore, know what it means to be a struggling minority in a secular, skeptical age. For this reason British bishops are arguably in a better position than their spoiled Irish counterparts: sharp, attentive, taking little for granted, grounded in a perpetual uphill struggle.
Side-by-side with possible American appointees to Irish episcopal sees, it would be no bad thing if some senior English clergy could be sent to Ireland to tide the old place over its present implosion. Such an arrangement could also further the continuing work of reconciliation between native Gael and neighboring Anglo-Saxon, a missionary labor which itself received a memorable boost with the recent visit to Ireland of the British monarch and her consort. If modern Irish Catholics were able to welcome a Protestant, English head of state, then surely they—and their rattled bishops—can get around to accepting and learning from the pressing realism of American and British senior clergy.
I would like to thank you for “The Saints” article every week. It really helps me to reflect on the saints every week. One of my favorite saints is St. Andre Besette (feast Jan. 6). He’s my patron saint. Thank you for your articles.