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St Patrick's way of life a lesson amid church crisis

From about AD432 to AD464 (over 30 years) St Patrick devoted his life in bringing God to the Irish people.

Conversions did take place, in spite of the pagan culture that existed there.

Following the introduction of the new faith, the followers of St Patrick became victims of a severe persecution from the rulers of that time.

Twenty first century followers of Patrick are now facing a different kind of apostasy.

Because of church scandals, the perception is that the whole of the Irish Catholic faith is under attack.

The evidence is there to show the fall-off in Mass attendance - especially on Sundays.

The current group of bishops that constitute the Irish hierarchy (and the institutional church) do not appear to have the spiritual or the moral courage of St Patrick. They must face up to their responsibilities and conscientiously address all the issues before them.

The Irish people of faith with their belief in God should relish the challenges to their faith, despite the changing and turbulent times in which we all live.

St Patrick, for his part, was a very intense and human person; and certainly not at all like a plaster saint - to be admired from afar. In this regard, I wish religious leaders in Ireland could unite the people to prevent this evident onslaught on the Faith.

Indeed, Catholic apologists should have the courage to stand up for 'God and St Patrick'.

NOEL O'SHAUGHNESSY

Co Cork

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