Dear Friend of Redemptorist Communications
Welcome back after our summer break!
GLIMPSES OF REALITY
In his September editorial, Fr Gerard Moloney reflects if the Church has a ‘Welcome for All’.
“A new hymn that has become increasingly popular is Marty Haugen’s “All are welcome.” “Let us build a house where all can dwell and all can safely live,” goes the first verse, “a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace; here the love of Christ shall end divisions: All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.”
It makes a wonderful gathering hymn, and its sentiments are those we hold dear. We are
the ‘catholic’ church, after all – big, broad, inclusive, all-embracing. Or so we hope.
And at our best we demonstrate those values clearly. Last June’s Eucharistic Congress brought together Catholics from Ireland and beyond, representing a wide cross-section of church life and opinion. It was most obvious in the exhibition hall where all sorts gathered to show their wares. Whether collared or uncollared, religious or lay, on the left(ish) or on the right, congress participants felt welcome and included and were offered a clear sense of the catholicity of the Catholic Church.
It is a characteristic of the annual solemn novenas in our Redemptorist churches. Many attend who are not regular church-goers. More twenty- and thirty-somethings attend than you would find at Mass on a typical Sunday. A conscious effort is made in the preaching and in the liturgies to create an atmosphere that is warm, inclusive, and welcoming of all.
In the day-to-day pastoral reality of parish life, most priests and ministers go out of their way to be accommodating towards all-comers. Think of those who want to get married in church, or who seek a Christian burial for a loved one, whose links with the church may be tenuous at best, but who are made to feel at home, no uncomfortable questions asked.
Yet it is clear too that not every Catholic feels welcome in the church, and that not all Catholics are welcoming, or accommodating, of each other.
There is a growing chasm in the church between those who are more traditional or conservative and those labelled more liberal or progressive. The traditional point of view states ever more stridently that if a Catholic has a difficulty with or publicly criticises any aspect of church teaching, he or she should go elsewhere. And so they have no tolerance of groups like the Association of Catholic Priests or of clergy whose views have landed them in hot water with the Vatican. Letters to the papers as well as vicious anonymous letters make that quite clear. It would appear that, contrary to the sentiments of that lovely hymn, as far as some Catholics are concerned, all are not welcome.
People in difficult personal circumstances can find themselves unwelcome also. Those who through no major fault of their own are now in a second relationship can feel isolated from fellow Catholics, categorised by their church as public sinners, not worthy to receive the Body of Christ. The advice to worship in a parish where they are not known and therefore will not give scandal only adds to the feeling of exclusion. It must be hard for them to subscribe to the sentiments of Marty Haugen’s hymn.
And then there are Catholics who are gay and lesbian. The Catholic Church is clear that gays and lesbians must be respected and accepted, but when they are referred to in a Vatican teaching as “objectively disordered,” it is difficult for gays and lesbians to believe they are accepted and respected. It is hard enough to be gay or lesbian in a society where homophobia and homophobic bullying remain so strong that they drive people to suicide without also feeling unwanted by one’s own church.
The first response of most priests to specific issues regarding gays and lesbians is invariably pastoral, but this contrasts sharply with the church’s official language on gay rights issues which comes across as harsh and hurtful, not only to gays and lesbians, but also to their families. Here again, it would appear that all are not welcome.
If any word summed up the attitude and ministry of the historical Jesus, it was compassion. All were welcome round his table. He used a ministry of inclusion to encourage people to be their best selves. It’s a lesson many of his followers could take on board.”
The September issue is packed with a wide range of articles to inform, inspire and challenge. Here’s just a flavour:
RITE ON MORE THAN JUST A MOVIE OBSESSION
Interest in the rite of exorcism seems to be on the increase
CANCER’S UNEXPECTED BLESSINGS
Blessings in the midst of such a dreadful illness seem amazing
GREEN IS FOR HOPE
The Eucharistic Congress in Dublin was an experience of hope for the People of God
LET’S HAVE NO RELIGIOUS DIVISIONS IN THE CLASSROOM
Is the tradition of sacramental preparation in primary schools sending out a damaging message?
LESSONS IN RAW HUMANITY
There’s no shortage of good samaritans in our schools and among our young people
CUP OR CHALICE?
The large implications of a small change
THE PARADOXICAL COMMANDMENTS
When Keith Kent wrote his Commandments in 1968, little did he know the impact they would have
THAT’S THE TEEN (HOLY) SPIRIT
The good news is that many young people do have a sense of God
Click here to order your copy of Reality or to subscribe for the year. You can also subscribe to a download version of Reality – only €15 for the year.
WHAT’S UP IN ‘FACE UP’?
The September issue of Face Up welcomes students and teachers back to the new school year. There are lots of features for all:
IT’S TIME FOR... A HATE CRIME CRACKDOWN
Homophobic bullying makes life a living hell for too many gay and straight teenagers – but what can we do to end it – now!?
WARNING: DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
Charting the rise of the toxic Twitter tormentors who get a kick from intimidating the innocent.
Meet the students from Co Cork who’ve made it their business to keep the plight of Missing Persons at the top of the news agenda.
“I WAS CAUGHT IN A CULT”
John Duignan describes the 23 years he spent living and working with Scientologists.
“MY SOUTH AFRICAN ADVENTURE”
Evie McCullough describes an amazing and memorable experience 10,000km from home.
GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!
Help Trocaire break a toe-tapping record, and raise some serious cash, by getting in sync with your musical side.
CHILD SOLDIERS: TRAINED TO KILL
A shocking report on the children being turned into mini-soldiers in the name of greed.
SPIRIT & SOUL:
CAN YOU BE HARD-UP BUT HAPPY?
Shape up your spiritual life by checking out the relevance of The Beatitudes for the 21st century.
“WHEN I SING I FORGET MY WORRIES”
How shy student John Ivory transformed himself into a solo star on the stage.
Get your copy of Face Up now. A subscription also makes a perfect gift for a teenager in your family. Click here for more details.
SUPPORT FACE UP
Would you be interested in helping a secondary school get Face up magazine this year? You can sponsor a school (maybe one near you) and help it receive a supply of magazines every month. It’s a great way of helping ensure our young people receive a publication with a positive, faith-based message. Email us to find out more about how you can help.
TO END WITH: A REFLECTION!
“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from you action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”