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April 16, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 12

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THE CATHOLIC  DIOCESE OF  RICHMOND

– Necrology

COMMENTARY

‘God is unmissed’

It is sad but not surprising that in Europe today there is a culture in which God appears to be “silent and unmissed in the lives of many.”

People obviously are going about their everyday lives in which little thought is given — much less a prayer — to God and seeking the Lord’s guidance for problems and situations in which there are not always clear answers.

This is the feeling of the Irish bishops in a new pastoral letter issued March 29.

The 12-page document, “Repent and Believe the Good News,” deals with the importance of repentance for the Irish Catholic Church.

Less than a week later both the Anglican and Catholic archbishops of Dublin, Ireland’s largest city, led an ecumenical Way of the Cross to emphasize the common Christian message of repentance which is encouraged by both Anglicans and Catholics. (see photo on page one)

Repentance is or should be a constant aim of Christians who recently heard this message during Lent. But the Irish bishops in their letter say today there are “many spheres of life in which even believers rarely recognize the relevance of the Gospel.”

They cite Pope Benedict XVI’s question of whether the West, “the heartlands of Christianity,” is tired of its faith, bored by its history and culture, and no longer wishes to know faith in Jesus Christ.

Yes, we are all affected by our culture and the world we live in today. Movies, videos and network TV shows continue to show gory violence and comedies poke fun at people who promote respect for religion and moral values. These jabs at traditional family values are often 30-second “teasers” which promote an upcoming episode. The producers obviously think this will draw a large audience. And unfortunately, it does.

The Irish bishops, in their pastoral letter, state that it “takes a real effort in a busy and noisy world to ask the fundamental questions about what our lives mean and where they are leading” and to make the space to get priorities right.

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo is urging “high commitment Catholics” to reach out to “low and medium commitment Catholics” or those who have dropped out of the Church altogether to come to church with them. While most might decline the invitation, there is still the call to evangelize.

And what about those who say “yes?”

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