A wide range of opinions, lots of different views – Fr. Joe

I tend to listen carefully to the coverage of church and religious issues on TV and radio, and more recently on Twitter and social media too. Many different opinions are expressed, with emotion, showing strong attitudes and responses to these topics. Needless to say, there are opinions that I like, positions taken that I can identify with and literally nod my head in agreement to. Of course, there are other moments that I am deeply offended, challenged or just annoyed by what I hear, and yes, I’ve been known to shake a fist at the radio too!
This past week I found myself listening carefully to the ongoing discussion about whether celebrations of the Sacraments should be allowed or not. There were a lot of opinions expressed, voicing directly opposing views, and for once I felt sympathetic to all these different people as all seemed very sincere and well-motivated. If there was ever a topic on which no one has all the information this is it.
Some things are just not easy to work through and for those in leadership there is a sense of dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t. For those with young people waiting, patiently living with uncertainty, there is a real desire to get on with the celebrations. For those with public health responsibilities avoidance, suggesting postponements and showing risk aversion are very understandable. Among priests and teachers there are a wide range of opinions too and for the rest of society again lots of different views.
These discussions raise questions about trust, respect, sincerity, judgement and attitudes to being told what you can and can’t do. Generally, the return to mass, increased numbers at funerals and weddings and the celebration of baptisms has gone really well. It would seem to me like a fairly small step to move on and celebrate the other sacraments with the same level of care and compliance. But of course, there are still risks with Covid and we all need to be careful.
There is absolutely no doubt that these celebrations are going to happen sometime, and we know some candidates have been waiting more than 18 months. We are all aware of our responsibilities to listen to and respond to official recommendations and we can act in the way that best reflects our understanding of all these complex issues. We can, as the Archbishop said, trust parents to do the right thing and keep their children safe.
Parishioners are of course most welcome to feedback to myself and the Parish Council any opinions on this topic that you would like to have taken into consideration.
After the tragic death of Fr Con Cronin in Cork during the week, it was very uplifting to hear the many tributes expressing appreciation of his life’s work on the missions and back in Ireland. As often happens, the ordinary life, well lived, makes an extraordinary impact on people.