Concise reports with links to media sources.
Presbyterian Moderator visits President Higgins
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt. Rev. Dr. Noble McNeely, has visited President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins (7 February) at Áras an Uachtaráin, the official home of the President in Dublin. The Moderator was invited to the Áras by President Higgins as part of his weeklong tour of the Church’s Presbytery of Dublin and Munster, which began on Sunday. The Presbytery is one of 19 regional groupings of congregations that make up the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and each Moderator visits three Presbyteries during their term of office.
Speaking after meeting, Dr. McNeely said, “It was a privilege and a pleasure to spend some time with President Higgins this afternoon in the wonderful setting of his home, Áras an Uachtaráin. “I was able to bring him the greetings of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and had the opportunity of presenting him with a copy of a special book called The Presbyterians in Ireland An Illustrative History, which tells the story of the Church, its history and people, their faith and contribution to Irish life down the centuries.”
The presentation dedication in the book was in Irish and English and included two verses of scripture from the Book of Proverbs. The Moderator was accompanied by his wife Florence and Mr Stuart Ferguson, Clerk of the Presbytery of Dublin and Munster.
Bishop regrets saying funeral Mass of priest who abused pupils
“We speak about abuse cases as being historical but we must never lose sight of the reality that the legacy of abuse lives on for victims and for them it is all too present. I ask you to pray for them and their families. “As always, I encourage anyone who feels that they may have been abused in a church … More at the Irish News –
St Colman’s School, Newry, devastated at abuse if former pupils
Day of prayer for survivors and victims of sexual abuse
Pope Francis’ Worldwide Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of sexual abuse will be marked in Irish dioceses and parishes on the First Friday of Lent, Friday 16 February 2018. Resources are available at the web site reference below. Information is also given on “Towards Peace” This states – Towards Peace is a service offering spiritual support to people who have experienced abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual and /or spiritual abuse, which was perpetrated by Church personnel, individually or institutionally. Funded by the Irish Catholic Bishop’s Conference and the Association of Missionary and Religious in Ireland (formally CORI and IMU), the vision of Towards Peace is to provide a safe supportive space for people and their families, whose spiritual life has been damaged by abuse. It is also a response to the continually growing understanding of the spiritual impact of the trauma of abuse. Through spiritual accompaniment with a trained spiritual director Towards Peace endeavours to accompany people as they seek their own experience of spiritual peace one step at a time. There is no predetermined roadmap on this journey. Each person travels at their own particular pace. The service is free of charge.
Churches to be consulted as Belfast Council defers decision to move marathon to a Sunday
Belfast City Council has deferred a decision on the proposal to move the Belfast Marathon to a Sunday and change its route. For the last 36 years the marathon has been traditionally held on the May Day bank holiday Monday. The proposals went before a council committee on Wednesday. UUP councillor Jeff Dudgeon said the council would “reserve its position until the Marathon company’s consultation”. Belfast City Marathon intends to consult with churches and other stakeholders on the proposed new route. Previous proposals to move the event to another day were rejected. As well as seeking to change the day of the event to Sunday, a new course is being proposed from 2019.
Annual Youth Leaders Training Weekend in Cork, Cloyne and Ross
The annual youth leaders weekend organised by the Cork Diocesan Youth Council is always valued by the participants. This year’s weekend was held on 2nd to 4th February in Clonakilty, County Cork. Again this year it proved to be a great time to meet and get to know the youth leaders around the Diocese. Guest speakers are also brought in each year to run workshops; a chance to get motivated, recharged and ready for the coming year. This year did not disappoint. Emma and Gemma from Tearfund Ireland ran a very interactive and informative presentation on Global Justice in Youth Work throughout the weekend. This was the first major Diocesan youth event since the commissioning of new Diocesan Youth Officer, Hilda Connolly, who was also present.
Ireland’s highest divorce rates? They’re in Carlow, Dublin and Tipperary
Co Carlow has the highest divorce rate in the State, followed by Dublin, Tipperary, Clare and Louth, according to the latest figures from the Courts Service. More than 4,100 couples around Ireland applied to divorce in 2016; a further 1,300 or so applied to separate. Dublin had the most divorce applications, at 1,411; Leitrim, the Republic’s least populated county, had the fewest, at 17. It also recorded one of the State’s lowest rates of divorce, joining Cos Kilkenny and Monaghan in having just 60 per cent of the national average of 87.4 applications per 100,000 people. Only nine of the 26 counties had rates higher than the national average.
Researchers aim to recreate history lost in 1922 ‘war crime’
On the afternoon of June 30th, 1922, a massive explosion destroyed the Public Records Office attached to Dublin’s Four Courts and with it hundreds of years of documented history. Both the pro-Treaty and anti-Treaty sides of the Civil War blamed each other, but the end result was the same. The census records for the whole of the 19th century going back to the first in 1821 were incinerated. Chancery records, detailing British rule in Ireland going back to the 14th century and grants of land by the crown, were also destroyed along with thousands of wills and title deeds. The records of various chief secretaries to Ireland and centuries of Church of Ireland parish registers vanished in the fire. Researchers at Trinity College Dublin will build a 3D computer simulation of the magnificent six floor building which housed the archives. The reconstruction will be designed from exterior shots and from the few remaining interior shots which depict kilometres of shelves rising up to the roof of the original Victorian building.
Benedict XVI: ‘I am on a pilgrimage Home’
The Pope Emeritus has written to an Italian newspaper to say he is “on a pilgrimage Home” in this “final period of my life”. In a nine-line letter to Corriere della Serra, Benedict XVI thanks the paper’s readers for their concern, and assures them he is surrounded “by a love and a goodness that I could not have imagined. I was moved that so many readers of your newspaper want to know how I am spending this last period of my life,” he said. “I can only say in this regard that, in the slow decline of physical strengths, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage Home,” he added, capitalising the Italian word ‘Casa’.
Justin Welby calls for greater Anglican Communion say in selection of successor
The Primates of the Anglican Communion should have a greater say in the appointments of future Archbishops of Canterbury, the current Archbishop, Justin Welby, said yesterday. Archbishop Welby made his comments during a debate at the Church of England’s General Synod on the working of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) – the body that recommends appointments to diocesan bishoprics. Appointments of bishops in the Church of England are made by the Queen, as Supreme Governor of the Church, who acts on the advice of the CNC.
Why Anglicans who object to reconciliation with Methodists should read more history
Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church in the University of Oxford writes in Christian Today: First, ‘the historic episcopate’ throughout the Christian world is a pragmatic, gradual creation of the second century CE, which links with the first apostles, but does not do so exclusively. There was no single bishop of Rome, for instance, until the 2nd century, and earlier lines of single succession there are benevolent fictions….Second, the Church of England is a Church of the Reformation which just happened to keep bishops. It is actually a ‘Reformed’ Protestant Church, that is not Lutheran, but part of a family of European Churches, some of which kept bishops in their government, some not…
New web sites launched for Archbishops of Canterbury and York
Two new websites have been launched for the Archbishops of York and Canterbury to promote their work and give updates and news. The new websites were launched on Monday and follow the same design as the C of E’s main site, with a mobile-friendly layout and an emphasis on images and videos over text. The two new sites took eight months to build and are the first new sites for the Archbishops in seven years — a “lifetime” in online terms, said the C of E’s head of digital communications, Adrian Harris, on Thursday. The “aim of the three sites,” Mr Harris said, “is that they all sit together”, allowing the Archbishops to “share their ministry, their work and their priorities”.
Anglican leaders echo Pope Francis’ call for day of prayer and fasting for peace
Senior Anglican leaders have endorsed Pope Francis’ call for an ecumenical day of prayer and fasting for peace, with a particular focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Pope Francis made his call on Sunday in his traditional Angelus address to crowds in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican. It has now been endorsed by the acting primate of the Anglican Church of South Sudan, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, and the deputy director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.