Category : –Ireland
Ireland has voted by a landslide margin to change the constitution so that abortion can be legalised, according to an exit poll conducted for The Irish Times by Ipsos/MRBI.
The poll suggests that the margin of victory for the Yes side in the referendum will be 68 per cent to 32 per cent – a stunning victory for the Yes side after a long and often divisive campaign.
More than 4,500 voters were interviewed by Ipsos/MRBI as they left polling stations on Friday. Sampling began at 7am and was conducted at 160 locations across every constituency throughout the day. The margin of error is estimated at +/- 1.5 per cent.
Counting of votes begins on Saturday morning at 9am with an official result expected to be declared in the afternoon.
However, the size of the victory predicted by the exit poll leaves little doubt that, whatever the final count figures, the constitutional ban on abortion, inserted in a referendum in 1983, is set to be repealed.
The Archbishop of Armagh’s Presidential Address to the General Synod of the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland
But then, in the culture in which we live, we must strive also for what I would term as real “agility” as a Church community. A phrase coined by a great humanist writer of our era, Zygmund Baumann, shortly before his death, was ‘liquid modernity’. By this, Baumann meant that we are living in a time when there seems to be no permanence – no solid ground – beneath our feet as a society. Whether economically, culturally, politically or socially, we have lost any sense of solidity, of certainty, of permanence. This is undoubtedly a major factor in the rise of a toxic and aggressive populism that is threatening everything in the world around us that we have long taken for granted. People grasp for old certainties even when these are unattainable and even pernicious. It is fascinating that another writer who spoke in similar terms about the erosion of the foundations of everything we take as a given in
terms of proper societal norms, was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writing in Germany at the outset of the Second World War. To that, we should surely pay serious heed.
But, as Christian disciples living in liquid modernity, what are we to do; in the words of the psalmist, “What can the righteous do?” They must, first and most importantly, recall the solid foundations on which we are to rely in any place and time – in the words of the traditional prayer for the work of the General Synod, that we may “evermore hold fast and abide in the Apostolic and true Catholic faith”. But we must also be ready to think carefully and critically about everything around us, and indeed about ourselves. The political philosopher Hannah Arendt, best remembered for her phrase, ‘the banality of evil’, also warned us that human stupidity is often not a lack of intelligence, but rather an unwillingness to think critically. And in this sense, stupidity is also a primary source of evil in the world. If we are to think critically and analytically, then we must be able to act with agility in a world where the certainties around us have dissolved into liquid, and herein lies the challenge. We must seek to balance the folly of imagining that the latest whim is a panacea for every issue we have to face (when it may actually be plain daft), with the careful and necessary analysis of the new idea which may take such a length of time to process that, by the time we make a decision, we will be so far behind the proverbial curve that we might as well not bother putting it into effect.
— Zenit English (@zenitenglish) January 31, 2018
Statement from the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Good, on the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment in Ireland
Unquestionably, the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment raises a number of complex questions: should abortion be dealt with in the Constitution or by way of government legislation; should the fact that hundreds of Irish women already leave the state every year to procure abortions influence our response; does the fact that many terminations are already taking place in Ireland (using unregulated pills) mean abortion should be made legal; and how should Ireland’s record of failure in the care of women and children – for example in the mother and baby homes – affect the way we vote?
Often, in the past, the protection of vulnerable women and children in Ireland left a lot to be desired, but legislating now to allow the lives of the most defenceless among us to be terminated is not the answer.
Past wrongs would be better addressed by providing better pastoral care in future for women, their partners and their families; by improving support services; and by investing more in medical and mental health services. We must be compassionate in responding to those for whom pregnancy is unwelcome or traumatic, and must seek to offer a positive alternative to abortion.
The Archbishops of the Church of Ireland have stated that “unrestricted access to abortion in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, or indeed at any stage, is not an ethical position we can accept.” Nevertheless, our tradition is concerned to ensure provision for terminations in – hopefully – rare circumstances and in a safe medical setting.
People differ on where the line should be drawn….
As we move from a year which for many was tinged with sadness, we should carry one thought into 2018: "It is better to light a candle, than to curse the darkness," says Rt Rev Ken Good, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe https://t.co/eU15icZmgG pic.twitter.com/SMQawYudfy
— Newswireni.com (@NewswireDerry) December 28, 2017
The Church of Ireland is also setting aside the founding documents of the Anglican church.
In 1999 the General Synod decided to precede the Thirty-Nine Articles with a “declaration” – used to distance the church from its historic confessional foundation. 
In 2004, the Book of Common Prayer was replaced with a new prayer book as the standard for Anglican doctrine and practice.
Such partings from traditional forms have also been accompanied by departures from scriptural teaching on moral issues.
In the recent referendum in the Republic of Ireland, two Church of Ireland bishops publicly supported the “Yes” campaign for same-sex marriage.  A subsequent pastoral letter from the bishops gave advice to clergy seeking to enter into same-sex marriage. Such clergy were not directed to the clear teaching of scripture but to, “think carefully about the response of others” because it is “contrary to what the Church of Ireland currently practices.” 
Faithful Anglicans recognise such language. It is the language of departure from obedience the word of the Almighty God! It is accompanied by the denial of other doctrines – the uniqueness of Christ, the atonement, human sinfulness…
In the meantime, many live in ignorance of the glorious saving gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Patrick was 16 years old in about the year 405, when he was captured in a raid and became a slave in what was still radically pagan Ireland. Far from home, he clung to the religion he had ignored as a teenager. Even though his grandfather had been a priest, and his father a town councilor, Patrick “knew not the true God.” But forced to tend his master’s sheep in Ireland, he spent his six years of bondage mainly in prayer. He escaped at the suggestion of a dream and returned home.
Patrick was in his mid-40s when he returned to Ireland.
CoI News: Lá Fhéile Pádraig shona daoibh! #StPatricksDay: O almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, that he might bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light… https://t.co/6ekrn3qNQn pic.twitter.com/yOkwYpQgDu
— Church of Ireland (@churchofireland) March 17, 2018
Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.
"We, however, believe in and adore the true sun, that is, Christ, who will never perish. Nor will they perish who do his will but they will abide forever just as Christ will abide forever." St Patrick pic.twitter.com/JdaIrLy3q0
— Graham Tomlin (@gtomlin) March 17, 2018
On Friday 16 March, the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day, the two Archbishops of Armagh, Archbishop Eamon Martin and Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke will join together to host the annual Saint Patrick’s Lecture at at 11.00 am in the Market Place Theatre in Armagh.
At the lecture the Archbishops will reflect on ministry and legacy of our National Patron, Saint Patrick. Following the lecture, UTV presenter Sarah Clarke will host a discussion with the Archbishops on the words of Saint Patrick, and how his message still resonates and holds relevance for many of the challenges faced by people today.
Reflecting on the life of our National Patron ahead of the event, Archbishop Martin said, ‘Saint Patrick, himself a migrant, was called to serve and bring God to a people far from his home. I encourage the faithful at this time to pray for migrants, and all who struggle to live and integrate into new cultures, at home and abroad, arising from displacement and poverty.’
Bishop Michael Burrows of Cashel Ferns and Ossory reflects on recent changes in legislation in reference to Good Friday
It is a truism to say that we live amid the challenges, opportunities and sometimes confusions of a rapidly changing Ireland. While I can get my mind round some of the more obvious and dramatic changes, it is the little things that occasionally pull one up. I have to confess I felt a little twinge of regret when the small piece of legislation allowing for the opening of licensed premises on Good Friday passed rapidly through both Dáil and Seanad.
Thus ended a symbol of public homage to the atmosphere of Good Friday which had been upheld by law since the 1920s. In a changing and more pluralist society this moment no doubt was bound to come. Yet both parliamentary speeches and media coverage seemed almost to delight in pouring scorn on a tradition deemed to be senseless, antediluvian, and an inhibition to spending by tourists.
The Christian religion cannot any longer prescribe how people out in the public square behave on its own days of special holiness; that indeed is clear. But, as the ‘secular’ Good Friday becomes just like the opening day of any other holiday weekend, there are one or two babies that are being thrown out with the proverbial bath water. It was good to have a day when the nation was reminded of its inseparable and dependent relationship with alcohol – in this land we apparently cannot celebrate, commiserate or even relax without it. I say this as someone who is certainly not a Puritan in these matters, and who is constantly aware that when we make Eucharist we drink from a common celebratory cup of wine. Secondly, there was something precious about the silence of the streets on a Good Friday evening – no shouting and mirth at closing time, no raucous singing drifting over the garden wall. It is good for people to experience an atmosphere of corporate silence sometimes, to be challenged to reflect, to eschew the escapism often associated with unending noise.
But this year it will be changed utterly. Or will it? Christian people will still day by day observe the Week of weeks, knowing that the way in which Holy Week is kept is a kind of barometer of the spiritual state of our individual and parochial lives. Perhaps, as the rest of the world seems to be fleeing from any sense that Holy Week is special, we are challenged all the more to witness to the uniqueness and the profound relevance of these saving events.
(Belfast Telegraph) Archbishop of Canterbury praises Northern Ireland’s peacemakers on Clonard visit
The Archbishop of Canterbury has paid a visit to Clonard Monastery along with more than 60 members of the Church of England clergy.
Archbishop Justin Welby visited the Belfast monastery yesterday as part of a private pilgrimage on peace and reconciliation.
The head of the Church of England, who was installed in the role in 2013 after less than two years as a bishop, was welcomed to Belfast by Fr Noel Kehoe, rector of Clonard.
Irish Church leaders issued a rare joint New Year’s message in support of the family, as Pope Francis prepares to take part in the Roman Catholic Church’s World Meeting of Families in the summer.
The Pope is taking part in the three-yearly meeting as part of his state visit to Ireland, and it prompted calls from Church leaders for new efforts to protect vulnerable families from hardship.
The joint message was signed by the Anglican Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Richard Clarke. He was joined by the Roman Catholic Primate of Ireland and Presbyterian, Methodist and Irish Council of Churches leaders.
They expressed their concern at the rising level of homelessness in Ireland, which they describe as “one of the most tragic and glaring symptoms of a broken system that is leaving too many people without adequate support.”
They said that in the Republic of Ireland one in three of those living in emergency accommodation is a child. And in Northern Ireland, families with more than two children are among those most at risk from the combination of welfare changes, cuts to services, and cuts to charities providing vital support to children and young people.
Church of Ireland to debate Motion on Same-sex Relationships at its General Synod which begins Tomorrow
From here (Motion 12 on page 5):
PRIVATE MEMBER’S MOTION
Proposer: Dr Leo Kilroy
Rev Brian O’Rourke
Notwithstanding the diversity of conviction regarding human sexuality, and in order to maintain the unity of the Church of Ireland, the General Synod
A. Acknowledges the injury felt by members of the Church who enter into loving, committed and legally-recognised, same-sex relationships, due to the absence of provision for them to mark that key moment in their lives publicly and prayerfully in Church.
B. Respectfully requests the House of Bishops to investigate a means to develop sensitive, local pastoral arrangements for public prayer and thanksgiving with same-sex couples at these key moments in their lives, and to present their ideas to General Synod 2018, with a view to making proposals at General Synod 2019.
The development of any such pastoral arrangements should not infringe Canon 31 and the facilitation of such arrangements would not impair the communion between an individual
bishop or diocese with any other bishop or diocese of the Church of Ireland.
To Patrick’s sanctified eyes, the natural world, however, was not just a source of worry, or lurking danger, but an icon of the Almighty—from the “old eternal rocks” to the fragile shamrock that blooms copiously on the Irish hillside, but only for a day or two. His were the same eyes of a St. Basil, whose prayer during the Anaphora asks God to show the bread and wine to be the body and blood of our Lord. His were the same kind of eyes as Fr. Alexander Schmemann, who speaks about the created things that God has made as having both an iconic function, for to opened eyes, God can be revealed in what he has made, and as actually sharing in the wonder of God:
[There is] a sacramental character of the world and of man’s place in the world. The term ‘sacramental’ means here that …the world …is an epiphany of God, a means of His revelation, presence and power…We need water and bread and wine in order to be in communion with God…By being restored through the blessing to its proper function, “holy water” is revealed as the true, full, adequate water, and matter becomes again means of communion with and knowledge of God.”
Schmemann insists that when bread, wine, oil and water are blessed, they are released to do what they always were intended to do—lead us to God.
St. Patrick saw this, too. Even the wild things of the created order are meant, by their nature, to give glory to God, and to show this glory to humankind: star-lit sky, the light of the sun, the lightening, the waves.