Scandal and schism leave Christians praying for a ânew Reformationâ
By RUTH GLEDHILL - TIMESONLINE
Added: Thu, 01 Apr 2010 23:00:00 UTC
There was standing room only as clergy renewed their ordination vows at the Chrism Mass at St Peterâs Cathedral in Belfast yesterday. But any illusion that this was just another Maundy Thursday was quickly shattered when the prelate stood up to preach, spelling out his anger at the âinept management and cover-up by some bishopsâ and his âbewilderment at seemingly inadequate communications systems in the Churchâ.
Bishop NoÃ«l Treanor described the âshame, deception, disorientation, horror and angerâ that so many felt in the aftermath of revelations about the abuse of children in church-run institutions.
Bishop Treanor, who was based in Brussels and Rome from 1976 to 2008, when the Pope moved him to head the Diocese of Down and Connor, is considered untainted by the scandal that has rocked the Church in Ireland.
Many see him as a worthy successor to Cardinal Sean Brady, who is expected to announce his resignation at Pentecost at the end of May. Cardinal Bradyâs position has become untenable since he admitted holding secret interviews with two young victims of one of the Churchâs most heinous sex abusers, the late Brendan Smyth, in the 1970s. When Cardinal Brady goes, other bishops from Irelandâs 26 dioceses are likely to follow.
After yesterdayâs service Bishop Treanor told The Times: âThe Catholic Church is clearly rocked by this crisis. It is obviously embattled. It is suffering. Clergy, priests, Catholics, Christians are suffering.â
For Catholics and Protestants alike, Easter is meant to be a time of renewal and celebration. But this year the festival has been overwhelmed by uncertainty and a crisis of leadership — and not just in Ireland. In Britain, Germany and even Italy church leaders are being confronted and established churches are losing members in their thousands.
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