Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why I think it is still a possibility that the Holy Father will visit Ireland next June and why I am praying that it will happen

There is no doubt that last year, with his hot-headed and ill-considered s(cr)peech in response to the Cloyne Report, that Enda Kenny did himself and his country no favours. Even after it was shown that the letter he quoted as being written by Pope Benedict was not in fact applicable to the case he was raging about, he has not had the grace to apologise. Whilst the fat was still in the fire the Irish Government closed its embassy to the Holy See in Rome for reasons that were difficult to take seriously. Next, Gilmore announced that an invitation to Pope Benedict to visit Ireland for the the forthcoming Eucharistic Congress in June was definitely not under consideration. Even the mainstream media, and that is saying something made little attempt to justify the Irish governmentt's behaviour.

But then, over the past week or so the tune has been changing. Last week Gilmore did a u-turn and reversed his statement saying that the Pope would be welcome, without of course any reference to the original announcement. Today the Mayo news reports that Kenny has welcomed the Holy Father's message for the 45th World day of Peace, with its main theme of the importance of training the young in Justice and Peace. I'm sorry, but this looks very much like a desperate attempt at damage limitation. Someone must have drawn their attention to all those Euros that accrued to the Madrid coffers in the wake of last year's WYD. There is the feeling that they are kicking themselves at having almost missed a golden opportunity. Hence they are secretly desperate to get the Pope to the Dublin Congress, whatever happens. It would serve them right of course if Pope Benedict refused to have any truck with the idea. But is that how our dear and truly holy Pope will see things? I think not.

Eucharistic Adoration is key to his pontificate. The Vigils in Hyde Park and at WYD were the high points of his visits to both UK and Spain and he mentioned both during recent seasonal homilies. I think his deep desire to encourage the Irish faithful will weigh most favourably in his decision whether to come or not. His shepherd's heart will put the welfare of his beleaguered sheep before any offence that was given him by their politicians. It is not a long journey and he knows that Ireland is in desperate need of a considerable financial injection. If he is at all able I think he will do it. I shall be praying for it in any case.

Our Lady of Knock, pray for Ireland and for Pope Benedict.

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