The Pope’s Visit
Posted on 16. Aug, 2018, in Celibacy/Sexuality, Christian Values, Climate Change, Feminism/Women in the Church, Humane Vitae, Pope Francis1 Comment
In this piece from earlier this year, we remember some of the excitement expressed by Irish Jesuit theologian Gerry O’Hanlon that Pope Francis would travel to Ireland from 25 to 26 August this year and that he would be very welcome.
The visit is timed to coincide with the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, with a final mass in the Phoenix Park. Gerry O’Hanlon SJ says that, despite the welcome he will likely receive, Pope Francis is visiting a different Ireland from the one Pope John Paul famously visited in 1979, which drew record crowds to the Phoenix Park. This time the country is much more secularised, and the clerical sexual abuse scandals and how they were handled, has eroded the moral authority of the church.
The former Irish Provincial hopes that the Pope’s visit will do more than just generate excitement. He hopes that it will offer people an opportunity to go deeper and listen to what Francis says as well as try to follow his process of implementing a synodal church that listens to, and learns from, the experience of its members.
In response to the recent controversies surrounding the WMFD removing the picture of a gay couple from their catechetical book Let’s Talk, Let’s be Family, and the editing of an interview with US Bishop David O’Connell where he talks about the Pope and his inclusivity around all types of families including gay ones, Gerry notes that the Pope is often ahead of local churches in terms of listening carefully and responding to issues regarding sexuality and gender. He explained more to Pat Coyle.
I would love if this interview could be heard widely. It gives a far more objective perspective on Pope Francis than what is currently being broadcast in the media. I know the possibilities suggested by Gerry have been limited by now but my hope is that what he says during this time on Irish soil will help all of us to appreciate more deeply all Gerry speaks about here.