Tuesday 24 October 2017

Catholic Bishops: 'We are deeply sorry that so people have felt hurt, betrayed and shaken in their faith'

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord." [Luke 2:10-11]

Christmas, in many homes, is the highlight of the year. It can be a time to get together with family and friends, to share food and exchange gifts. For many children it is a time of great wonder and joy, and the most treasured memories of many adults come from the family Christmas experience of their childhood. It is a moment of great significance for our lives as Christians, where we come together to celebrate the joy of ‘God-with-us’ in the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Christmas is also a time when we reflect on the Holy Family, a family whose love for each other and faith in God helped them to overcome great trials and suffering. This year we are conscious of the many homes across Ireland where pressures on family life have never been greater because of worries about debt, financial insecurity, unemployment and heavy workloads just to make ends meet. All of these can easily become sources of tension and conflict, putting new strains on relationships within the home, even on otherwise stable relationships between parents. It is no coincidence that from the very beginning of the current economic crisis organisations such as ACCORD have reported significant increases in the number of couples coming to them for help. We would encourage any couple, experiencing pain or difficulties in their relationship at this time, to avail of the safe and confidential space offered by organisations such as ACCORD, where they can share their experiences with people who understand the joys and challenges of marriage. As pressures on families increase, it is important that all couples take time to think about how much of themselves and their time they give to nurturing their relationship, which is at the heart of family life.

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