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O Ireland

Ireland seems to have two kinds of weather. Either it’s raining, or it’s about to rain. At least that’s how it’s been the past week as the residual wind and water from Hurricane Ernesto made landfall in the West.

I’ve been hiking there – my annual summer strategem to come down to earth is to spend some strenuous days outdoors, as far away as possible from the news cycles and turmoil in the Church and the world. The skies held off enough that we got in a great long loop through the high rocky hills known as the Burren and a simple walk along the Cliffs of Moher. Today it will be the walking pilgrimage up Croagh Patrick.

Geologic time isn’t eternity, of course, but when you put yourself in vigorous contact with natural features that have taken hundreds of millions of years to form, it puts human things in different perspective.

A very good thing, too, because all this is prelude to the events that will take place later this week in Dublin and Knock. Events (plural), because in addition to the ill-timed and partly ill-conceived World Meeting of Familes (WMOF), there are also various “alternative” gatherings. I myself will give the concluding lecture at one of them in support of the traditional family (along with Cardinal Burke, Fr. Thomas Weinandy, Edward Pentin, and other friends). More about this, I hope, in special reports, later in the week.

The WMOF has been rocked, before it’s even begun. The new abuse revelations caused Cardinals O’Malley and Wuerl, scheduled speakers both, to withdraw. Over 10,000 people signed a petition calling for the disinvitation of Fr. James Martin, S.J., well-known advocate of “building bridges” to people with same-sex attractions and other disorders. That hasn’t happened. But the negative publicity probably caused the conference organizers to keep two LGBT groups from renting booths. The excuse: they didn’t know how much space would be available for exhibitors. Nothing to do with Catholic doctrine, of course.

A spokesman for one of the groups opined that Pope Francis wants to accept gays, but shadowy conservative forces in the Vatican are stopping him. That’s not at all clear. The pope has urged Italian bishops not to admit men even suspected of homosexual tendencies to the seminary. And has even wondered aloud how so many have entered the priesthood.

It’s true that Cardinal Kevin Farrell, a native of Ireland who as head of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life was responsible for organizing the WMOF, gave a glowing endorsement to Martin’s book Building a Bridge, saying that it would “help LGBT Catholics feel more at home in what is, after all, their church.”

But no. The Church is not theirs – or his, or mine. It’s Christ’s. He and a long tradition have left us pretty explicit instructions about this and many other matters.

Read more at The Catholic Thing.

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