Saturday, January 3, 2015

"Needed: a new generation of saints in Ireland," says Archbishop*

In an October 22, 2014 interview ( about the Catholic Church’s current situation in Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, answered the following question:

“What are some of the challenges you and the Irish Church face in promoting the New Evangelization?

The major challenge, I think, would be the legacy of scandals in the Church. Today in 2014, I can say there is NO institution anywhere in the world that has more rigorous child protection standards than the Catholic Church in Ireland. And the Church is exemplary in what it’s doing today in terms of child protection. But there’s a legacy of scandals–we’ve had two decades of scandal. We have to realize that faith is caught, not taught. When people are presented constantly for a long period of time with counter-examples, not of saints and holiness, but of criminals and failures, it creates a spiritual deadness in people’s hearts. Now how do we overcome that?

We overcome that by being zealous, by being holy, by praying, by realizing that Ireland was converted by men and women who were immersed in prayer and the liturgy–the monks and nuns. That’s how this Church began on this island– these miracle-working, ascetical men and women who went to live the monastic life, they became people of prayer, witnesses of faith, ascetical witnesses, spiritual witnesses. That’s exactly what we need: a new generation of saints in Ireland, a new generation of those kinds of people. And they are here! I’ve seen them with my own eyes. They’re not heralded, people are not writing articles about them, but there are saints in Ireland today– people who are living their faith with great generosity, with great fervor, with great commitment, and that’s what will change the situation. We have un-canonized saints who I think would be wonderful if the Church moved towards canonization, like Matt Talbot in Dublin, an amazing figure; the Jesuit Fr. John Sullivan, an incredible hero of the faith. We need to promote those figures and give people the experience of holiness, to show people that holiness is possible, in order to counteract this legacy of the scandals, where people are presented with a series of criminals and failures.”

*We created this title solely for this posted question and answer. (JB)

Note:  Matt Talbot (1856-1925) was declared Venerable on 3 October 1975, and Fr John Sullivan (1861-1933) was just declared Venerable on 7th November 2014.