Belfast Telegraph

Catholics urged to affirm faith

Catholics in Ireland should not be afraid to affirm the elements of their belief which secular society rejects and ridicules, the Pope's Envoy has said.

Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, maintained the International Eucharistic Congress marked a turning point in the life of the Church in Ireland as it revitalised people's faith and exceeded everyone's expectations.

He revealed that within the last month he also witnessed a community marking the ordination of a young priest, thousands of pilgrims climbing Croagh Patrick and hundreds of young people at Clonmacnoise celebrating their religion.

"That, my brothers and sisters, is the future of the Church in Ireland," he told the closing Mass of the National Novena at Our Lady's Shrine in Knock.

Archbishop Brown said the future needs to be authentically Catholic.

"We need to propose the Catholic faith in its fullness, in its beauty and radically, with compassion and with conviction," he continued.

"We need to be unafraid to affirm the elements of the Catholic way which secular society rejects and ridicules."

The Archbishop, who represents Pope Benedict XVI in Ireland, admitted there have been reasons for discouragement with two decades of scandals, crimes and failures.

"Certainly, the road ahead is not an easy one, but the road ahead for Catholics in Ireland did not look very easy in 1879 when Our Lady appeared here on that rainy evening in August," he said.

"And yet her appearance was followed by one of the most fruitful periods in the 15 centuries of Catholicism on this Island."

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