About those pedophile priests. Really sorry. Sorry for the suffering of your children, which in a way is kinda like the suffering felt by Our Lord Jesus Christ when ya think about it, except for the child molestation part of course. He was violated, and His wounds are still present, just like you and your families have been violated, and you surely haven't completely healed up. Very Christlike, although his violation was foretold, and in fact required so that all of us Catholics, not just you Irish ones, could enter heaven and be seated at the right hand of The Father, while the violation of your children wasn't foretold and has nothing to do with going to Heaven.
What would be great is if you could find it in your hearts to forgive The Church, the pedophile priests, and the Bishops would aided and abetted them in their sinful ways. Could you do that for a Brother?
While I have your attention, maybe consider quitting all the secular stuff so rampant in society, and find your way back to the loving embrace of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church in Ireland. I'd also appreciate it if you would start going to Confession regularly and maybe devote some extra time to praying for God's forgiveness of the pedophile priests who were molesting the children in their care.
Many families in Ireland have sons, daughters, aunts, and uncles who have devoted their lives to The Church. They were always seen as big shooters in the house, and I'd like to see us return to that. It is only through this Spirit of Renewal that we can restock the priesthood with men who aren't pedophiles. I know this is short notice, but the crisis just recently came to our attention in Rome. As soon as we heard about the allegations of child molestation by Irish priests, we were shocked, SHOCKED, and subsequently we prayed and prayed and prayed for God's forgiveness of the pedophiles, as well as a hand in helping us attract more non-pedophile priests. And this is just the first step, as I understand there are a few issues in Germany and the United States as well.
St. John Mary Vianney said "The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of his goods." The Curé d’Ars understood well how greatly blessed a community is when served by a good and holy priest: "A good shepherd, a pastor after God’s heart, is the greatest treasure which the good Lord can grant to a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy."
It is in this John Vianneyish St. spirit that I implore young men of Ireland to consider joining the priesthood, and becoming one of those Good Shepherds. Church attendance has been a bit sluggish lately, and I guess that's somewhat understandable due to the child molestation. and subsequent loss of trust the people of Ireland felt, and so it is incumbent on you, the young men of Ireland, to bring back our sheep while making them feel safe in the knowledge that you won't be raping their lambs. I cannot stress enough that last part, because that is the key to renewing the trust of the good and holy people of Ireland. Assure the people of Ireland that there will be no more child raping.
To those few priests who were raping children, I urge you to pray for God's forgiveness, and I also urge you to cooperate fully with the secular police part of Irish society when they ask you to answer for your sins. It is only through their forgiveness that The Church can put this temporary situation behind us and get back to the business of prayers, guilt and money collection.
During their Ad Limina visit to Rome in 2006, I urged the Irish bishops to "establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justice are fully respected, and above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all those affected by these egregious crimes."
I was serious when I said that, and in the last 4 years we have seen great progress. Very few cases of Bishops sheltering pedophile priests have been reported, and thus we can see the healing already taking place.
"At the conclusion of my meeting with the Irish bishops, I asked that Lent this year be set aside as a time to pray for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church in your country. I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace."
"Furthermore, having consulted and prayed about the matter, I intend to hold an Apostolic Visitation of certain dioceses in Ireland, as well as seminaries and religious congregations. Arrangements for the Visitation, which is intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal, will be made in cooperation with the competent offices of the Roman Curia and the Irish Episcopal Conference. The details will be announced in due course."
I'll give you Irish Bishops a holler when I plan to visit, so you can be sure to have the Irish linens and stuff cleaned up as well as making sure the Holy Waterford Crystal wine decanters are polished. We'll discuss the ongoing progress with the pedophile priests while I'm there.
In closing, I'd again like to tell the fine, holy Catholics of Ireland that we're really very sorry about the child molestation, and assure you that we'll do our best to see that such sins are kept to a minimum in the future.
"I wish to conclude this Letter with a special Prayer for the Church in Ireland, which I send to you with the care of a father for his children and with the affection of a fellow Christian, scandalized and hurt by what has occurred in our beloved Church. As you make use of this prayer in your families, parishes and communities, may the Blessed Virgin Mary protect and guide each of you to a closer union with her Son, crucified and risen. With great affection and unswerving confidence in God’s promises, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord."
BenFor The full Text of Ben's Pastoral Letter, click HERE.
Prayer for the Church in Ireland
God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.
Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.
Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.
May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.
To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.