Mary Kenny: Faith or no faith, pilgrim journeys restore our soul
Every now and then -- indeed, at regular intervals -- the demise of the Catholic Church is announced in Ireland. But those leading the funerary rites often fail to distinguish between "the church" and "the faith".
The "church" is the ecclesiastical structure of a formalised religion, and the bishops are akin to its management, which, like all managements, can vary between the heroic and the hopeless. The "faith" is what the people feel and experience, bred in the bone.
The annual pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick yesterday, although led by an ecclesiastical figure -- Bishop Michael Neary of Tuam -- is far more about the traditions of the people's faith.