Catholic bishops speak of ‘hostility’ and ‘persecution’ of church

‘In every age people have written obituary of the church and our age is no exception’

Bishop Denis Brennan is the second Catholic bishop in recent days to address the issue of increased hostility towards the church in Ireland.  Photograph: Istock

Bishop Denis Brennan is the second Catholic bishop in recent days to address the issue of increased hostility towards the church in Ireland. Photograph: Istock

 

A newly ordained Catholic priest has been warned about the hostility he will face in a changed Ireland.

Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan told Fr Billy Caulfield how at times “you will feel the anger/hostility people have for the church in general directed at you.”

The ordination was at St James’s church in Horeswood, Co Wexford.

“There is a lot of concern in church circles these days about the future. This is understandable given the volume of criticism and negativity directed at the church over recent times,” Bishop Brennan said.

“In these Pentecost days we need to cast off our fears too, we are not the first generation of Christians to worry and wonder about the future. In every age people have written the obituary of the church and our age is no exception.”

Bishop Brennan is the second Catholic bishop in recent days to address the issue of increased hostility towards the church in Ireland.

Antipathy

In Drogheda last week Bishop of Kilmore Leo O’Reilly spoke of a “hostility to the church that is now a settled part of our society’s culture. People from abroad are often astonished at the antipathy to the church displayed in our country.”

Bishop O’Reilly said “I don’t think you have to be paranoid” to believe that there is a kind of persecution of the church taking place in Ireland.

“It is not physical persecution but it is no less real for that. It is more subtle. It takes the form of gradual exclusion of church people or activities from the public space,” he said.

“There is denigration of religious beliefs, practices and institutions on radio, television and on social and other media. There is often a focus on bad news about the church to the almost total exclusion of any good news.”