Before the Apostles were sent out to preach the Gospel to all men, Our Lord warned them saying: “if the world hate you, know that it has hated me first”. Similarly, He said that He would be “a sign of contradiction”, offering Light to the dark world where many would prefer the darkness.
Since Apostolic times, the Gospel message has clashed with the ideals of the world. As a result, persecution to the followers of Christ, in some form or another, has always been the world’s response before this anomaly. In recent times, Ireland, which was once a nation firmly attached to her Catholic roots, has distanced herself from God and is eager to revert to her godless past.
Consequently, some of the bishops of Ireland have recognized the first signs of this persecution. Last week the Bishop of Kilmore Leo O’Reilly said: “It is not physical persecution but it is no less real for that. It is more subtle. It takes the form of gradual exclusion of church people or activities from the public space. There is denigration of religious beliefs, practices and institutions on radio, television and on social and other media. There is often a focus on bad news about the church to the almost total exclusion of any good news.”
Furthermore, Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan warned the newly ordained Fr Billy Caulfield how at times “you will feel the anger/hostility people have for the church in general directed at you.”
He continued in his address at St James’ Church in Co. Wexford: “In these Pentecost days we need to cast off our fears too, we are not the first generation of Christians to worry and wonder about the future. In every age people have written the obituary of the church and our age is no exception.”
May the Lord grant us the grace and strength to profess our Faith and never fear to spread out the message of the Gospel, which is Ireland’s only Hope.