Talk in Enniskerry

My evening in Enniskerry was very interesting.  It was part of a series of talks jointly sponsored by the Church of Ireland and Catholic parishes, and I was the second speaker.  The first one was a Jesuit, who spoke about Pope Francis, so, since I have tended to talk a good bit about Francis in my presentations on Church reform, I decided to take a very different line this time.  The overall theme they were working on was the faith journey.  So I spoke on that. I talked about my early years, and the many and mixed motivations behind my decision to become a priest.  I think it is very difficult to be clear on what exactly were the driving forces behind the decisions we make in the early part of our lives.

I then talked about the early years as a priest, how I loved the work, and was carried along by the excitement of the time.  But then the questions began to come.  First with Humanae Vitae, then the style of papacy of John Paul, the clerical sex abuse, and the general gloom of the era of Pope Benedict.   I explained to them about the setting up of the Association of Catholic Priests, and of course my dealings with the Vatican and why I decided to go public.

All through I talked about how my faith changed and either developed or weakened, and particularly how the upfront experience of how the Vatican operates has had a significant effect on me.

I finished by briefly referring to the Francis effect, and how I am very hopeful that he will bring about real change.

It was a most enjoyable evening, and, as usual, the discussion was lively and informed.  What was particular about this occasion was the presence of members of the Church of Ireland, including the two minister who serve in the parish.

My next outing is Tuesday evening, 25th, in the Clarion Hotel in Sligo at 7.30pm.