Cardinal: Irish church 'needs a good week'


CATHOLIC PRIMATE Cardinal Seán Brady has said the Catholic Church in Ireland needs a good week after previous church scandals, ahead of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress next week.

Speaking at a theology symposium at NUI Maynooth yesterday, Cardinal Brady said he hoped Irish Catholics would come out next week and celebrate during the congress. “I hope it will be a great event and I have a feeling it will. This is a big showcase for Catholic life,” he said.

“The expectation is that it will be an occasion of renewal and deepening of faith for those who attend the event.”

The Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey, said the church in Ireland faced a challenge and much work needed to be done.

“It is not an attempt to run away from what is happening in the Irish church. We all know what we have been through and we know the challenges that face us. That challenge is at the level of faith. There is the child abuse scandals and the impact of that: there is a huge job of work to be done there,” he said.

“A lot of people have a poor understanding of their faith and I am not saying that as a judgment on them. As a church we have often taken the faith of the people for granted.”

The symposium aimed to bring major figures from the church all over the world together to discuss promoting Christian unity and the meaning of communion in the church.

Fr Tim Bartlett of the diocese of Down and Connor said the church had gone through a tough time in recent years.

“There is no doubt that we have gone through a very traumatic time in terms of the church. My experience is that there is a faith in people that is still very real and very important to them and is very alive in their own lives,” he said.

The church was not above criticism but that some of that criticism was exaggerated or ill-informed, he added.

“Nobody is above criticism and the church itself has to be open and its leadership to listening to other views. The event next week will be more generally accessible. There are approximately 21,000 who have registered and that is a very encouraging number of people for the congress,” he said.