The state of the Church in Ireland is certainly a cause for concern, but Mark Lambert has written an article that made me feel a bit better about the situation. For example, I did not know that people are still attending Mass in large numbers.
Yet Ireland IS Catholic. I went to Mass last Sunday and there were literally thousands of people in St. Mary’s Church, Westport. Thousands! It’s awesome! Irish people ARE Catholic—it’s in their nature, their bones, it oozes out of their pores, it is their way. It is manifest in the importance of community, of caring for others, their friendliness, it is part of the make up of this place.
This next part, I did know,but of course, the bishops in communion with the Vatican are the only ones who can remedy this.
But it is under threat. People still go to Mass, but what do they get there? Last Sunday’s (really quite good, by and large) homily contained a sad admission from a priest who found, at the grave of two little boys who had been killed last week, that he had no answer to the question “where is God in this?” He actually announced to the congregation that he had no answer. Frankly I was shocked by this admission.
There is no catechesis, no solid spiritual food. No answers to difficult questions. They put statues and rosary beads on their gravestones, they go to Mass, but I worry that this is becoming merely habitual, a superstition rather than the Catholic faith.
Read the whole thing. Lots of great insight there. My thoughts are that with God’s help Ireland will be as strong as ever in her Catholicism. And certainly, God will help.