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Papal nuncio presents vision for future of Irish Catholicism

Catholic World News - August 22, 2012

Presenting a vision for the future of Catholicism in Ireland, the Pope’s newly appointed representative reminded the faithful that “the night is often darkest before the dawn.”

Archbishop Charles Brown, who was appointed last November as apostolic nuncio to Ireland, spoke at an August 22 Mass concluding a novena to Our Lady of Knock. Reminding the congregation that the Virgin Mary appeared at Knock in 1879, at a time when famine was sweeping Ireland, he pointed out that the years following the apparition produced “an extraordinary flourishing of the Catholic Church in Ireland.”

The Vatican representative acknowledged that the Church faces serious problems in Ireland today. But he also pointed to hopeful signs, such as the success of the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin earlier this year. “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.

The archbishop encouraged Irish Catholics to enter fully into the spirit of the Year of Faith proposed by Pope Benedict XVI. “We need to propose the Catholic faith in its fullness, in its beauty and in its radicality, with compassion and with conviction,” he said. “We need to be unafraid to affirm the elements of the Catholic way which secular society rejects and ridicules.”

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