Many of us who struggle with the Christian message were uplifted by a recent RTE/BBCNI production on the topic of Confession. We were puzzled that a program was to be aired on a Sacrament known for its confidentiality. However the program turned out to be a Confiteor on the struggles of the Priests themselves, young and old. The difficulties of Ministering in a modern world and the severe loneliness suffered by them spoke volumes, as their exclusion has been worsened by the Pandemic.
No doubt some will say that the program itself was biased in a Liberal direction but a number of standout statements by the clerics made for riveting viewing and subsequent consideration. The value of listening and forgiveness was well evaluated.
That Pope Francis wants a more open, tolerant, inclusive, and forgiving Church is now evident to all. Less Religion by tick boxing and more humanity, humility and awareness of all our frailties has at last come to the fore. There are forces opposed to this but we now can have an open debate; some Catholic Media and some groups, especially in the USA seem less than Christian in their political friends and supporters. That attempts were made to stifle even the debate leads us to wonder just which planet some of these opposers inhabit.
There were a number of standout moments in the Broadcast. One older priest in his loneliness described a time when Bishops only admonished and never praised. Some younger priests displayed a revealing normality. The highlight for me was a comment by Fr Iggy O'Donovan. Fr lggy has been carpeted in the past for a number of ecumenical events both personal and ecclesiastical. Had he lived in Lucan no one would have noticed as these events have gone on quietly here for over 20 years. He said "Certainty is the enemy of Faith". Many of us who grew up in the sixties and demanded change will celebrate this gem, all humankind is on a journey.
With pitfalls and frailties and we all need loving and caring. He also calls for a feminization of the Church which is now badly needed to heal and develop in a less legalistic and more caring and Christ like way.
The opposers and conservatives are people, and our siblings too. But their method has failed, and miserably in many cases. We can hopefully bring them along.
Renewal will mean more humility and less Princes of the Church. In the dark clouds of the Pandemic maybe we are going to see some light.