Bishop of Limerick believes in future of Church but warns some practises will go

Jess Casey

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Jess Casey

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Bishop of Limerick believes in future of Catholic Church but warns some practices will go

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy

THE BISHOP of Limerick believes that despite the “darkness that has engulfed the Catholic church in recent years” including the “horrible revelations” of clerical sex abuse, there is a future for the church in Ireland. 

Speaking at Boston College, Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy acknowledged the Catholic Church in Ireland had been involved with many scandals, including the “horrible revelations of clerical sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience in the Church.”

In his address, made at the Church of the 21st Century Centre, Bishop Leahy pointed out “the importance of acknowledging reality” as the Church moves forward.  

“Calling things as they are and not hiding or concealing,” he said. 

Although the church is experiencing a “dark night of the soul”, there are positives, he believes. 

“There is a future. We are seeing more clearly that certain ways of doing things and practices will have to die.” 

“Church life revolved somewhat passively around the priest,” Bishop Leahy said. 

“But as we look to the future, we now see that in the future it will be lay people assisting in funeral liturgies, lay people taking over the running of parishes, lay people exercising pastoral co-ordinating roles. It’s already in view.” 

Recognising and accepting the reality of past and the present will allow the Church to help and unite, he said. 

In particular, the issue of young people's mental health needs to be tackled together, he added. 

“We can recognise and help others recognise the cry from young people around issues such as mental health issues. We all need to come on board, raising the flag on this issue and tackling it together.

“There is a greater sense of togetherness in mission emerging in this night time of the Church in Ireland. It’s not enough to do works of charity. We need to be charity and love as we do them.”