Church Leaders Lament “Two of the Worst Years Ever” in Christmas Message


Many people have lived through two of their worst years because of Covid-19 and are facing a second Christmas bitter with disease, leaders of Ireland’s two main churches have said.

In a joint Christmas message, Primate Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin and his Church of Ireland counterpart Archbishop John McDowell said the pandemic has resulted in mourning, canceled plans, separated families, disrupted livelihoods, “overwhelmed” bodies and “scrambled” minds.

“If the Spirit says anything to the churches this Christmas, would it not be to reflect on how we, as individuals but also as a society, can enter into prayer and hope in this great mystery of the “Word made flesh”, ”they declared. noted.

Referring to Bishop Ronald Knox, son of a Church of England bishop who converted to Catholicism, they recalled how he wrote in 1937: “What is Christmas from start to finish? , otherwise things are upset?

They added that “there is to some extent a natural instinct in us to try to put the world back on its feet, because the coming of God in His own creation seriously unbalances us. We are therefore increasingly attached to the world of “receive and spend” and communicate in consumption. ”

“The prodigality”

At this time of year, “perhaps it is the very lavishness of Christmas that gives us an increased awareness (and a bad conscience) of the ‘little ones’ mentioned so often in the Gospels – the homeless, the poor. , the rejected and all those who aspire to see the world turned upside down again, ”they declared.

Meanwhile, a group of Catholic and Anglican theologians publicly called on the Vatican to review and rescind a document from Pope Leo XIII in 1896 which declared Anglican ordinations (including the Church of Ireland) “absolutely null and void. “.

Members of the Mechelen Conversations Group, an informal dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans that began in 2013, said that “where we once walked separately, we now walk together in friendship and love.” Their paper Sorores in Spe – Sisters in Hope of the Resurrection: A Fresh Response to the Condemnation of Anglican Orders, was released in Rome this week.

‘Very happy’

Bishop Brian Farrell, the Dublin-born secretary of the Vatican I Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that although his office does not sponsor the group’s dialogue, he was “very happy” that the issue of Anglican orders be “considered in a whole different ecumenical context today, when so much has been achieved in Anglican-Catholic relations”.

He told Catholic News Services that “from a Catholic perspective it is about finding the theological and canonical language that would better reflect what we are doing in practice, which is to recognize true ministry in other churches.

“As the Second Vatican Council teaches, the Holy Spirit indeed works through them for the salvation of their members.”


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