This will be a short post (famous last words). Still on holiday in Europe, I was admiring some beautiful statues of St John Nepomuk, patron saint of the confessional Seal, and thinking that we priests should really be saying a few prayers to this martyr of the confessional, most especially if Enda, Alan and Frances have their way and "require" us to reveal what we have heard in confession. As someone said to me, they will seek only a breach of the Seal for cases of chilld abuse, but then, later, it will be broadened to encompass any crime - anything for which one could be convicted in a court of law. Perhaps. I think at this stage saner people than the Taoiseach and his ministers realise this law would be unworkable, so I do not think it will happen. But then again recent Irish governments have been full of surprises.
So, a thought hit me. Pope Benedict has asked us to pray and make reparation for the sins and crimes of child abuse - our Friday Penances are being offered for that, and rightly so. But perhaps we need to pray more intently for our priests - as I indicated in a previous post, but why not for courage for our priests that should the new law come into being they will be able to stand against it as did St John Nepomuk. As I was praying to him the idea of promoting devotion to him came to mind, perhaps even a national novena? A prayer could be easily composed and printed if offerings were forthcoming, and then sent to all the priests in Ireland, again offerings permitting, and also disseminated among the laity. What do you think? I see the Church in Australia is now facing the same threat to the Seal - the Catholics there might row in too. Perhaps we might all think about it, and pray about it, and I could do something when I get back to Ireland. If you have any ideas you know where to contact me - suggestions from brother priests would be most welcome.
I am going silent for a few days - need to take a break from blogging and the internet connection on the hotel computer is slow, very slow - if I am to keep working on it I might even lose my religion or my life!!!