Positive in the long run

LONG-TIME Bunclody parish priest Fr Aidan Jones found he had a 'biggish crowd' for the Mass he celebrated on Saturday evening at the church of the Most Holy Trinity. However, he does not believe that the bumper congregation was a result of any eagerness to hear the word from Rome.

He dealt with the letter by reading out sections from the summary rather than burdening worshippers with the half dozen pages of the full message of Pope Benedict. He rehearsed the reading beforehand in order to make the contents clearer and his audience appeared to listen closely.

'No one walked out or interrupted,' Father Aidan reported afterwards, adding that for those who required the full version, copies were available at the back of the church. The 15-minute reading replaced his usual homily but any sense of drama generated by the change in routine was blown by the fact that the correspondence from the Vatican was expected by everyone.

Though he did not burden his congregation with the complete script, he did take the time to read to himself in private and found that it was couched in the terms of a spiritual treatise. The parish priest admits that, without wishing to play down the harm suffered by abused children, he has become fed up with the national pre-occupation with the current scandal.

'I want to move on and deal with other issues,' he commented. 'We have to pick up the pieces and make good a very complex and awkward situation. Bunclody has not been immune to the general decline in Mass going, especially among young people, but he is loath to conclude that this is the result of the current scandal.

He believes that the Church will survive: 'In the long run, it will be positive.'

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