Thursday, 16 December 2010


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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Church was self-centred and arrogant, claims Archbishop Martin

ARCHBISHOP of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has denounced the Catholic Church for growing self-centred and arrogant before state-appointed commissions revealed the shocking scale of paedophile clergy. 
- Report by  John Cooney Religion Correspondent in “The Irish Idependent”, Monday December 13 2010. 
Dr Martin made his remarks during Mass at the Church of the Assumption in Ballyfermot, the former parish of ex-priest Tony Walsh who was jailed last week for sexually abusing three boys.
In the parish where he grew up, Dr Martin, who ranks in the Irish hierarchy as number two after Cardinal Sean Brady, described the cover-up of paedophile priests as a symptom of a deeper malaise in the church.
He said he came to Ballyfermot yesterday to renew his apologies for the church's hushing up of Walsh's horrendous catalogue of abuse during the 1970s and 1980s.
"I apologise unreservedly," he said. "As I look back, I see more clearly that the catastrophic manner in which the abuse was dealt with was a symptom of a deeper malaise within the Irish church.
"The church had drifted into a position where its role in society had grown beyond what is legitimate", he said.
"It acted as a world apart," he told Mass-goers.
"It had often become self-centred and arrogant. It felt that it could be forgiving of abusers in a simplistic manner and rarely empathised with the hurt of children."
Dr Martin said the church had to honestly acknowledge "with no buts and no conditionality" the gravity and the extent of what happened as it takes a first step on the road to renewal.
Walsh (57), who was named in last year's Murphy Report on clerical child abuse in the Dublin diocese, was sentenced last Monday to 16 years in jail, with four suspended, for abusing three boys.
The now defrocked priest, known as Fr Filth and also as the Singing Priest for his Elvis impersonations at talent shows, was previously jailed for sexually abusing six other boys.
Dr Martin's comments came a day after the Wikileaks revelations about behind-the-scenes contacts between the Vatican and the Irish Government in the wake of the Murphy Report's publication last November.

The Bethlehem Village Experience at Balmoral

Walk the streets of Bethlehem village, meet the villagers for yourself, hear the sounds and savour the smells of those remarkable times at The Bethlehem Village Experience in the Livestock Hall at Balmoral Showgrounds on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th December.

The village of Bethlehem was a not a particularly pleasant place. Already under Roman occupation, the streets are thronged with more visitors than the small village can handle. The puppet ruler has flooded the streets with spies seeking out a threat to his authority. And in the midst of the chaos, rumour has it that a radical king has been born and is lying in an animal stable.

Dates & Times
Friday 17th - 7-9pm
Saturday 18th - 10am-9pm
Further information:
Christ Church Belfast states it is non denominational.

Archbishop’s view of Irish Church

In an interview earlier this month with “The Irish Times”, Archbishop John Neill of Dublin said, “I think that institutional religion as a whole is going to take quite a knocking in Ireland.’ He said hefelt his generation “failed . . . in passing on love of the institution’’.
He did not, however, think they failed in passing on faith itself.
“There’s a lot there that is not expressed institutionally. I think a new form of church may easily emerge but I cannot discern what that will be. It is one of the reasons – not in a sense of despair – why I feel I should retire at this stage. Fresh leadership is needed in the Republic, to discern what is happening,” he said. His successor will be elected on February 2nd. The Church of Ireland has enjoyed sustained growth in recent years. This he attributes to the “very pro-active” approach of parishes. “The immigrant population has definitely made an impression,” he said. On top of which “a lot of people have been searching, a lot of people adrift, the Church of Ireland has become a home for many of them”. Quite a number were from a Catholic background.
There has also been strong growth in numbers training for ministry in Ireland with the church beginning to enter a period where “over-supply” of priests was becoming an issue. He felt the Church of Ireland had an advantage in that they allow women priests and clergy marry.
The clerical child sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church had injured the Church of Ireland too. But, he emphasised, “we have been very careful not to capitalise on this. It has happened to Anglican churches in other parts of the world where they had to take on the role of the state.”
He agreed the scandals had “injured the brand” particularly where young clergy were concerned. They “feel very vulnerable. Many of them don’t wear clerical collars because of the abuse they have received on the streets”. Where State funding for Protestant schools in the Republic was concerned, he said relations with the Department of Education were now “much better” and that progress was being made.
On relations between the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland in Dublin he said “I don’t think they’ve ever been better”. His counterpart, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, was “a breath of fresh air to the scene. He came with a very strong ecumenical agenda [on becoming Archbishop in May 2004].
“He brought the Catholic archdiocese straight into the Dublin Council of Churches, to which all other churches were already affiliated. At each level he has worked with us,” he said.
But, if ecumenical relations in Dublin are good, the same cannot be said of other levels. The announcement by the Vatican, that it was setting up a separate personal prelature for Anglican clergy, including bishops, who were unhappy over how their communion was dealing with the ordination of women and gay priests “was not expected”.
It was seen “in many Anglicans quarters as an unfriendly thing to do”. Similarly, the continuing reference by the Pope to Protestant churches as ecclesial communities has “hurt a lot”.

Singing the Faith, telling the story

A website is offering a new insight into the story behind the new Methodist hymn collection, Singing the Faith. 

Anyone can also now take advantage of the pre-publication discounts on Singing the Faith. These include a saving of £5 on the full music edition of the collection, £2.50 on the words edition and £5 on the electronic words edition. Discounts are available when people order Singing the Faith from Methodist Publishing –, 01733 235962. 

Visitors to, can read about the journey from the initial proposal for a new collection through to the work now being done to launch the final Singing the Faith collection in 2011. This section of the website will expand as the story continues to grow, and people will soon be able to read about the many talents that have gone into the making of this definitive collection. 

Revd Barbara Bircumshaw, Chair of the Music Resources Group, said: “This whole process has been a real labour of love, involving many people who have given freely of their time and talents. It’s been a long road, but we’re really excited about Singing the Faith and are pleased to be able to share our story.” 

Visitors to, can also take a peek inside the collection at the full list of hymns and songs, check out the online Users Guide and read John Wesley’s Rules for Singing. 

People can also pre-order the free Singing the Faith sampler, which will be published in January 2011.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Revival 2011 renewal events

Revival 2011 is an initiative to mobilise the church across denominations "for the single purpose of seeing God's revival and blessing come to this nation." 
The guest speaker at a series of events is RT Kendall with worship led by Robin Mark.On Friday 11th February an interdenominational Students' Conference will be held at Union Theological College when the speaker will again be RT Kendall. It is an opportunity for students currently training in ministry and mission for home and overseas service to attend an event focused on revival and God’s calling.
Bookings will be organized through the different theological colleges
The Reverend Andrew Forster is a member of the clerical panel of reference for the events which are being organised by Lowe Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Reflect - Youth Leaders Weekend 2011

Reflect brings a great combination of a fun fuelled/faith driven weekend - for youth leaders, especially as they seek out means and ways of being support to young people, who have a desire to explore their faith, grow their faith and serve in faith.
Where: Whitepark Youth Hostel on the North Coast
When: Fri 7-9 January 2011
Stephen Patterson (YFC NI) is the facillitator– for leaders to learn, discuss, reflect how  they disciple young people.

As a community of leaders there will be time to REFLECT on faith, and on the personal journey with Christ.
Peter Huey & co will facilitate the corporate worship.

For more info see
Cost: £40 (per person – full board