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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Report from Irish Bishops December meeting
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¬†The December General Meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference concluded its three day meeting in Maynooth yesterday The Bishops remembered in their prayers the late Bishop James McLoughlin who died on 25 November At the press conference after the meeting, attended by the Archbishop of Cashel & Emly, Dr Dermot Clifford, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin Dr Raymond Field and Sr Anne Codd, Resource Person, Commission for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development, the following issues were addressed: Christmas Message The Bishops will send a Christmas message of support, in the week commencing 19 December, to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah in support of Christians in the Holy Land. Child Protection Following on the publication of the Ferns Inquiry Report the Bishops expressed their commitment to implementing its recommendations. The Bishops individually have engaged with the HSE regarding the child protection procedures and resources that operate and exist in each diocese. A representative group led by Archbishop Brady, met with the Minister for Children Brian Lenihan and members of his Department on 30 November last, to progress the recommendations of the report. The Conference was advised that the discussion at this meeting was very useful and constructive. The Training of Trainers Programme to implement child protection codes of conduct in each parish is well advanced. 19 graduates were presented with their certificates by Archbishop Brady last Sunday a ceremony in Maynooth. The new national child protection policies and procedures, Our Children: Our Church will be launched on 19 December. Our Children, Our Church expresses the commitment of the Catholic Church in Ireland to the consistent and determined implementation of up-to-date policies and procedures which reflect best practice in the area of child protection. Launch of the Bishops' Commission for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development A new Commission for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development, and its Advisory Board, were launched during the Bishops' Conference meeting. The Commission and its Advisory Board aims to support diocesan personnel in developing and sustaining programmes of adult faith development. The Chairperson of the Commission is Dr Jim Moriarty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. Speaking at the launch Archbishop SeŠn Brady said: "This launch is taking place in a particular historic and social context. Our societies in Ireland, North and South, have experienced in the last 25 years or so rapid economic, social, political, cultural and religious transformations. We find ourselves, as church, in radically new environments, facing the new challenges. We live, for example, in new multi-racial, multi-cultural communities. "An inherited faith is no longer adequate in itself to meet the demands of being a Christian in the world of today. We need to generate far more opportunities than those which exist at present. All members of our Church, especially adults, need to explore what they believe and what they commit themselves to. The materials and methodologies which are now available in schools need to be developed for adult education, for sacramental reparation and for training for ministries in parish and dioceses. There is a challenge in this for parishes and dioceses, not least the challenge of generating the funds that this work will require. There is crying need for localised opportunities for lay people to access education and training, in preparation for this and many more areas of pastoral ministry." Bishop Moriarty emphasised the Commission's strong connections with each diocese as well as with the Conference of Religious of Ireland, the Irish Missionary Union and the National Conference of Priests of Ireland. Bishop Moriarty also acknowledged the support of the Knights of Columbanus in making it possible to establish an office for the Commission and Advisory Board with Resource Person Sr Anne Codd and with administrative back-up from Ms Sandra Garry. The Irish Ferries Dispute: Social Solidarity and Economic Efficiency- A statement from the Irish Commission for Justice and Social Affairs The moral dimension of the economy shows that economic efficiency and the promotion of human development in solidarity are not two separate or alternative aims but one indivisible goal. (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, section 332) Recognising that morality and economics must go hand in hand for any society that wishes to foster human development, the Irish Commission for Justice and Social Affairs (ICJSA) adds its voice to those who call on all parties in the Irish Ferries dispute to work towards a resolution that respects the rights of all involved. In this regard, it welcomes the talks currently taking place at the Labour Relations Commission. This dispute raises complex issues that affect Irish Ferries and its workers, Irish exporters and, possibly most importantly, the prospect of a continuation of social partnership. In addition, it draws attention to the way in which we in Ireland treat migrant workers. In responding to this dispute none of these issues can be avoided. In addressing this first issue, it must be acknowledged that labour costs are a legitimate concern for any industry. Nevertheless, Irish Ferries is a profitable company and the desire to maximize return on capital employed ought not be pursued at the expense of the workers employed and in a manner that could undermine societal acceptance of appropriate standards of employment and rates of pay. Furthermore, in this context, the ICJSA notes with concern the potential of this dispute to undermine the social partnership model of society. There are many who would hold that the economic prosperity of Irish society has been built upon, and depends upon, social partnership. However, its importance for Ireland transcends the parameters of economic considerations. As a model for the organisation of society, social partnership promotes an ideal of equity or fairness, and it is at least arguable that this model of social partnership has in recent years gone some way towards countering inequities in Irish society. In this light, and conscious of the potential of the dispute to undermine societal acceptance of the ideal of social solidarity, the ICJSA offers its support for the day of protest on 9 December that is being organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. The occasion of this dispute also raises the larger issue of the type of welcome that we in Ireland offer to migrant workers. Ireland has had its share of emigration over the past one hundred and fifty years. More than most countries, it knows only too well how indiscriminate employers can exploit migrant workers. It also knows at first hand the suffering that xenophobia and racism can cause to immigrants and their families. In the past five years Ireland has witnessed unprecedented levels of immigration. The question is whether we can learn from our own history. Society should take care to ensure that immigrants to Ireland are not exploited but are rather treated with a respect for their rights and are paid a just wage. Apart altogether from any consideration of the moral correctness of such a position, one would be foolish to ignore the danger that the exploitation of low paid immigrants could lead to a large scale displacement of indigenous workers. History has shown that over tine, this generates a misplaced popular resentment against foreign workers that in turn fuels racism. If this were allowed to happen in Ireland, the very foundations of a stable and civilised society would be undermined. At a time of economic prosperity when forced emigration is hopefully a thing of the past, it would be a pity if Ireland was no longer perceived to be a welcoming nation. Today, we have an opportunity to re-commit ourselves to that Christian ideal which welcomes the stranger while ensuring moral equity for all citizens. Synod of Bishops in Rome Archbishop Brady and Archbishop Martin reported on their participation at the 11th Ordinary session of the Synod of Bishops (October 2005) on "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church". The propositiones or recommendations presented by the Synod to Pope Benedict XVI were inspired by the reform of the liturgy inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council 40 years ago. The Synod stressed the centrality of the Eucharist in all aspects of Christian life, particularly with regard to the other sacraments, but also with regard to the place of Christians in society. The Synod stressed the need to examine the manner in which the liturgy was celebrated, looking at the single elements of the Eucharist (Liturgy of the Word, Homily etc). Eucharistic Adoration was encouraged. Among the specific issues addressed were the pastoral care of migrants, of the sick, and of the divorced who have remarried civilly. The Synod noted the need to respond to the lack of priestly vocations in some parts of the world, asking that the question of more adequate distribution of priests be examined. The Synod also referred to the need for coherence on the part of Catholic politicians and legislators and their responsibility not to foster or support laws not in conformity with the moral law. It is hoped that Pope Benedict XVI will take up the propositiones in a Pontifical Document during the coming year. Source: Irish Catholic Media Office
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