Dominican Fathers
Sunday - May 20, 2001
Warts, Blemishes, Pimples and all.
Is the Catholic Church in Ireland dying? Will future generations look back on our times and identify us as the ones who dropped the "Baton" of faith, passed on to us faithfully down the centuries in spite of "dungeon, fire and sword?" We hear talk of young and not so young abandoning the faith of 'our fathers and mothers ' without a hint of a struggle. Are they giving up a faith they know little about and a Church, a caricature of the real thing, that bears little resemblance to the Church founded by Jesus? Is a whole way of life going down the tubes without a second thought? If this is the case, it is a disturbing development, and invites the basic questions, what is going on in my life? and where is it going? Am I doing the wrong thing for the wrong motive? Robert Browning said: "We needs love the highest when we see it." He was young, brash, confident, a recent graduate from college and doing well on his first job. "I don't believe in the Church anymore" he declared. I invited him to describe the Church he no longer believed in. He made a decent enough stab at it. When he finished I said, "That makes two of us, I don't believe in that Church either". I wasn't trying to be clever. His parting shot was to say, "All priests are paedophiles." Mine was to tell the story of Aunty Mary. She knew no theology. In fact, she was a heretic. She couldn't distinguish between the virgin birth and the immaculate conception! When her nephew told her he wasn't going to Mass anymore, her comment was to say, "You don't like Fr. Michael, so you don't go to Mass! But you don't like the bartender in your local pub and that doesn't stop you going in there for your pint!" When I was growing up on Dublin's north side, catholic education was a piece of cake. If you asked the question, "Why are there three persons in one God," the stock answer was, "because the Church says so." That said it all. That was the kind of catechesis we received and it worked at the time. That approach represents a real problem for young people today because when it comes to the Trinity, and the rest of the Creed, we are talking revelation. The Trinity (three Divine Persons in one God) is not something we put under a microscope and analyse its component parts. The Trinity is revealed. It is a mystery of faith. Revelation is God revealing his inner nature. It's God giving us inside information and telling us things about himself that we humans could never stumble on to by our own efforts. I know some of you will have a hard time with this and I understand that . We are not used to anything being revealed. It's not uncommon to hear it said, "I accept only what I can understand." That statement sounds very sophisticated but it doesn't stand up to close examination. Every minute of every day we make acts of faith naturally, instinctively and spontaneously. We cannot cross the road, eat a McDonalds, have a conversation without human faith. On a higher level, when It comes to revelation we have to say, Credo, "I believe." That is what our creed is all about. We say, "I believe in one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church." Right away our instinct is to put that teaching under the microscope and examine it. Revelation doesn't work under that kind of close scrutiny. That is why it is so difficult for our modern generation. Revelation is God inviting us to believe that the Church is both human and divine. Jesus took a tremendous risk when he gave us the Church and promised to be with it until the end of time. It takes a tremendous leap of faith to believe that he gave us a share in his mission on earth. 'Credo' demands that we come to God on his terms, not ours. 'Credo' means, I believe that the Church is God's creation, even though at times I feel I could have done a better job! We priests don't always do a good job showing the face of God. When there are scandals it is difficult to see in that corner of the Church the image of Jesus Christ. But faith in the Church means loving it warts, blemishes, pimples and all. It would be much easier to love a Church that is perfect if you can find one! To love the Church with all it's faults means accepting Christ's risk to hand over the Church to human beings. Once Christ made the decision then, you and I are in trouble, because all our defects and vices are going to be as widely visible as much as our assets and virtues. Coming to terms with life in the Church, when it is difficult to see in it the divine element is, indeed, a great grace, one that we ought to pray continually for, when we ask God to help us in our one and only journey that begins in time and ends in eternity.

Though Provoking

If one wishes to eliminate uncertainty, tension, confusion and disorder from one's life, there is no point in getting mixed up with God or with Jesus of Nazareth. Andrew Greeley. Truth is not in the middle, and not in one extreme, but in both extremes. A man was lost in the desert. Later, when describing his ordeal to his friends, he told him how, in sheer despair, he had knelt down and cried out to God to help him. "And did God answer your prayer?" he was asked. "Oh, no, before he could, on explorer appeared and showed me the way.

Notice Board

Vote: At the open meeting on Wednesday 9th May, a decision was taken to drop one of the the Sunday morning masses. Two proposals will be put before the congregation this weekend to vote on: 1. Drop either the 10.30am mass or 12 noon mass. 2. Drop the 10.30am or/and 12noon masses in favour of mass at 11am. Sunday Morning Ireland: Log in to this religious programme going out to the world website audience from St. Saviour's, Bridget Street, Waterford, every Sunday morning. Sunday Morning Ireland is an attempt to continue ministering to people who have touched and enriched my life at different times and in different places. It is, also, an attempt to reach out to those who have stopped going to mass but are still connected to the Church. Please pass on the word! E-Mail: Note our e-mail address. If you have any comments, criticisms, insights, suggestions, we would be pleased to hear from you. We are grateful and encouraged by the responses we have received. Meeting: We will continue the open meetings, to plan the future of St. Saviours, with another meeting on Wednesday at 7.30pm in the sacristy.

Church Schedule

MASS SATURDAY: 7.30pm Vigil Mass SUNDAY: 7.00am 10.30am 12.00noon & 7.00pm Weekdays : 8.00am & 10.30am CONFESSIONS SATURDAY : 10.10 - 10.25am 11.00 - 12 noon 4.00 - 5.00pm Weekdays : 10.10 - 10.25am All correspondence to: Fr Vincent Travers O.P. Bridge Street, Waterford. Tel: 875061 Fax:858093. Website: E-mail:

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