Church can learn from Br Kevin
Madam – I listened to a radio discussion the other day about the challenges facing the Catholic Church in the wake of the shameful abuse scandals and the enormous reputational damage these and the accompanying pointless cover-ups have done to the church, and by extension to its members and followers.
If the church wants to really get back to its core principles and true purpose, it should take inspiration from the work of Dublin's Capuchin Day Centre. It is a shining light in a world that too often gives short shrift to compassion and traditional human values.
At the centre, Brother Kevin Crowley and his volunteers offer a perfect example of what basic Christianity, and indeed humanitarianism, should be all about. For years they quietly helped the homeless, but since the recession began to bite, they have been extending a helping hand also to people who have lost their jobs or who find themselves on the brink of losing the very roofs over their heads due to the savage economic downturn. Thousands each week call there for meals or food parcels to tide them over tough times.
Brother Kevin could serve as a model of all that is best and decent about those who opt for the religious life, whatever one's personal belief or lack of belief in a church, religion, or a god.
Surely what the Capuchin Day Centre is doing is more relevant to the original teachings of Christ than the sumptuous treasures of the Vatican or any of the lavish bishops' palaces or the residences of cardinals where lofty high level decisions are taken within the church? It has made "loving thy neighbour" a reality for countless people.
If the church wants to ensure its place in Irish society, to survive and find new strength, it could do worse than follow in the footsteps of Brother Kevin.
Callan, Co Kilkenny