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Eminence, the emeritis cardinal archbishop of HGN

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Pope in Ireland with the Irish Prime Minister

Homily thoughts for Sunday, August 26th. 2018


Here is my reflection which I shared with the congregation I was with this morning. I did soften the paragraph by the Irish Prime Minister which talked about Ireland's modernization in parliament and by referendum of laws to bring the country into the 21st. century. 

In close to fifty years, I have seldom quoted the pope, but I did so today. I do celebrate Ireland, I honor some of my roots. Perhaps Ireland can lead the church once again as it has done in the past. I am thinking of the Irish Penitentials. I think the Prime Minister's remarks were prophetic. 

I think this Sunday is the final Sunday with these readings from John’s gospel on the Bread of Life and the Words of Ever Lasting Life. I found myself attracted to the words of both the Pope and Prime Minister of Ireland, each in their own way who echoed in their remarks, words of everlasting life. 

The Prime Minister of Ireland “Together we are guided by your words: ‘Make bridges, not walls, because walls fall.’” “The Ireland of the 21st century is a very different place today than it was in the past. Ireland is increasingly diverse. One in six of us were not born here, and there are more and more people who adhere to other faiths, or who are comfortable in declaring that they subscribe to no organised religion. 

We have voted in our parliament and by referendum to modernise our laws – understanding that marriages do not always work, that women should make their own decisions, and that families come in many forms including those headed by a grandparent, lone parent or same-sex parents or parents who are divorced. Holy Father, I believe that the time has now come for us to build a new relationship between church and state in Ireland – a new covenant for the 21st Century. It is my hope that your visit marks the opening of a new chapter in the relationship between Ireland and the Catholic Church. Building on our intertwined history, and learning from our shared mistakes, it can be one in which religion is no longer at the centre of our society, but in which it still has an important place.” 

For his part, this is some of what Pope Francis had to say; “As you know, the reason for my visit is to take part in the World Meeting of Families, held this year in Dublin. 

The Church is, in a real way, a family among families, and senses the need to support families in their efforts to respond faithfully and joyfully to their God-given vocation in society. 

One need not be a prophet to perceive the difficulties faced by our families in today’s rapidly evolving society, or to be troubled by the effects that breakdown in marriage and family life will necessarily entail for the future of our communities at every level. 

Families are the glue of society; their welfare cannot be taken for granted, but must be promoted and protected by every appropriate means. It was in the family that each of us took his or her first steps in life. There we learned to live together in harmony, to master our selfish instincts and reconcile our differences, and above all to discern and seek those values that give authentic meaning and fulfilment to our lives. 

It is my prayer that Ireland, in listening to the polyphony of contemporary political and social discussion, will not be forgetful of the powerful strains of the Christian message that have sustained it in the past, and can continue to do so in the future. With these thoughts, I cordially invoke upon you, and upon all the beloved Irish people, God’s blessings of wisdom, joy and peace. Thank you.”

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