Spiritual renewal in Ireland? (2)

After talking with someone who is more gracious and positive than I am – a follow up thought to yesterday’s post. I think I was unnecessarily negative and asked the wrong question at the end. Half-formed thoughts & blogging go together. It was a glass half empty approach. Blame it on being a Presbyterian.

Maybe a better question is:  if there is an increasing recognition of the need for radical reform accompanied by a deepening desire for people within the Irish Catholic Church to read, reflect and love the Scriptures for themselves and to find purpose and identity in encountering, loving and serving God – are there increasing possibilities for evangelicals and Catholics to work together around study of the Bible? (I’m not implying here that evangelicals have all the answers – but they are supposed to be the ‘Bible people’ to quote John Stott).

Alpha courses appear to have ‘bridged the gap’ and are happening all over Ireland, run by all denominations and none.

I sometimes hear stories of people coming together around a shared desire to study the Bible, often but not always in more ‘recognised mainline’ denominational settings. Do you see increasing future ‘convergence’ across denominational boundaries, and in different contexts, around a desire for a personal encounter with God through his Spirit-inspired Word?

3 thoughts on “Spiritual renewal in Ireland? (2)

  1. When i first became a born-againer/evangelical. I had many questions about Catholics. During those questions i heard stories about the “charismatic renewal” amongst the Catholic church in the 70’s and 80’s. When i pressed further about this i was told (more than a few times) that these Catholics infected with a new love for scripture and a desire to seek out the Holy Spirit all left the Catholic church when they couldn’t resolve their new faith with the church. I also know a few evangelical church leaders in Ireland whose background includes this charismatic renewal so overall i took this as the truth of what happened then. This week i had a conversation with a priest who was also a part of that renewal. His version is wildly different. He relayed to me that many Catholics did indeed leave the charismatic renewal but that they did so to join other -mostly lay- Catholic groups. If what this man was saying to me is true i would answer yesterdays question by saying that the reform is already on and it will indeed be found in lay groups who apparently are setting up all over the place run by Catholics who hit all four of the popes points.
    I have one friend in Maynooth who tells me that the Catholicism that is practised there by the Catholics who take their Catholicism seriously (though not necessarily the staff or the seminarians) is conservative, Mary focused, highly sacramental and very interested in being chaste. Apart from the Christmas-kids-marriage and death Catholics that everyone knows the latter group is the one that we have also heard about. I don’t know any of these people to know if they hit Benedict’s four points but i do want to draw peoples attention to this other section that i have recently become aware of and say -with these people i think the Roman church is gona be allright. Praise God for Father Aidan!!

  2. Patrick, don’t apologise. You’ve hit the mark. More voices like yours are needed within the RC Church to enable change and renewal. Unfortunately those voices are usually sidelined or excommunicated. Just as well burning at the stake is banned !

  3. Richard, good point about change from the bottom up via lay groups and renewal movements within what is actually a much more diverse Church than is often realised.

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