Advent and Christmas Messages from Bishops

The Catholic, and Church of Ireland, Bishops of Clogher have issued a joint Christmas message which addresses the stresses caused by Ireland’s financial woes.

They write of mothers and fathers preparing Christmas in the current economic situation and who fear how it could decimate the Christmas tree and wreak havoc on the Christmas table.

“It may be a frightening and stressful reality for mothers and fathers making plans over a cup of tea when the children are asleep and it may furrow many a brow scanning the price of items in shop windows,” state Bishops Liam MacDaid and John McDowell (Catholic and Church of Ireland Bishops of Clogher respectively).

They point out that Jesus Christ came into human existence in a raw setting, but he did have a mother’s love, a father’s care and God’s protection. “It was hardly an accident that God came in this way into our brokenness, our flaws, and our limitations. He wanted to be with us as we are. He had come to heal our brokenness, not to disguise it or paint over it; to feed our hunger, not to deny it,” they state.

They urge all who are troubled and feeling burdened or broken by life’s daily challenges, to leave aside the cards, the presents and the extras for a few days and instead talk and listen to “the one whose birth we are planning to celebrate.”

They state that Jesus could change our perspective and lessen our worries. He could show us how celebrating the simpler, long-lasting and more precious gifts of life and living can make for a different but ultimately more satisfying experience of Christmas joy and togetherness.

“It just means getting back to reality, the reality that Christ the Son of God was born, lived among us and taught us where lasting treasures are to be found. God direct us in our search and bring us peace,” they conclude.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has also offered a reflection in advance of Christmas. In it he stated that Advent is a season of hope as we reflect on the meaning of the coming of Jesus Christ into human history. Jesus comes to us in the midst of a concrete and at times confused world.

Archbishop Martin then reflects on Mary’s place in Advent and how she “despite her natural perplexity, awaited in hope the birth of her firstborn.” He states: “In the current debate in Ireland on the right to life, Christians should be inspired by the compassion of Jesus Christ in the face of anyone who finds themselves troubled by a pregnancy.”

 The Archbishop commends the work of Cura and states “Those who are troubled and distressed need a caring and concerned Christian community to be there for them and to support them as they make the choice for life and as they regain hope.”

He reiterated the church’s teaching on the right to life of both mother and unborn baby and quoted Evangelium Vitae (n.72), “Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good.”



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