Sunday 20 August 2017

In defence of Catholics and also of Catholicism

With liberalism the new dominant ideology, maybe we need to change the tone slightly when we talk about Catholics

Traditional: Despite the best efforts of internet and cable TV, 78.6pc of Irish people identify as Catholics
Traditional: Despite the best efforts of internet and cable TV, 78.6pc of Irish people identify as Catholics
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

At Mass last week the priest made an interesting point. He was saying that people have to have a reason for their faith now, an explanation for it, a story of why, if you will. What was interesting was his reasoning as to why the congregation needed a reason, a story to tell. It is, he said, because Catholicism is no longer the dominant ideology in Ireland. It didn't sound like he was saying it with regret. He was just stating a fact. It sounded like he had adjusted to this new reality and he was telling us, the congregation, that we needed to adjust to it too.

Indeed, Father Criostoir sounded buoyant last Sunday about the state of the Church. He pointed out that he had had packed houses on Good Friday despite there being no obligation on Catholics to attend church on Good Friday, and he had been busy all weekend. And there were lots of young families there too, he said.

A cynic might have countered that the young families were there for many reasons, not all of them to do with devotion. But they were there. Father Criostoir reckons the foundations are solid. And he wants the congregation to have a reason for their faith, even to communicate it to others, a bit of old-fashioned evangelism.

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