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Ireland: Mgr. Brennan (Ferns), Pastoral Letter defending “the right to life”

In his homily on Vocations Sunday, the Irish Bishop of Ferns, Denis Brennan, who is also a member of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations, commented on the Gospel of the “Good Shepherd” citing a “little book” called “Letters to a Young Priest” written by “a German priest who some years earlier had left the ministry”. He also cited a French painter, Jean Dubuffet, to explain that “many of the values” that priests celebrate and represent “are looked upon by the conventional wisdom of our time as scorned values”, and that it is “difficult for priests and religious to accept” this. “This is where our vocational choice becomes very personal, perhaps even painful”, the Bishop added. “This is where the Gospel engages with the world. This is in Bonhoeffer’s phrase ‘the cost of discipleship’”. And saluting and thanking all “priests and religious” for what they do, he ended with a prayer by Oscar Romero which “captures” the meaning of the priesthood. It reads: “We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own”. Also yesterday, Bishop Brennan, like many of his brother bishops, published a Pastoral Letter ahead of the 25 May referendum on the repeal of the constitutional amendment that protects the life of the unborn child. “In a world where people fight so hard to win human rights – Mgr. Brennan wrote as an argument against the repeal -, we in Ireland are being asked to take a right away, and the most fundamental right of all at that, the right to life”.

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