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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Archbishop Muller's encouraging words to priests of Scotland

In June, Archbishop Muller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, visited Scotland to give the Cardinal Winning Lecture at the University of Glasgow, launching the St Andrew's Foundation for Catholic Teacher Education.

His visit was also an example of encouragement and consolation in the spirit of St Paul, to the clergy of Scotland after the turmoil caused by the recent scandal there and the resignation of Cardinal O'Brien. There is a report at Year of Faith Scotland, and Pope Francis sent a personal message of support, but I had missed this and only learnt about it from a correspondent today. Perhaps it was meant to be fairly low-key rather than draw further attention to Scotland's woes. It is worth reading the Archbishop's Address to Priests; here is a quotation:
The true Church of God is a Church of both saints and sinners. The fact that there are so many great saints in the Church, so many remarkable men and women in every age – among them, of course, many priests – is no small blessing, and a cause of enormous encouragement. But the sinners in the Church, in our own days, tend to get most of the attention. And this occurs, needless to say, in the few relatively isolated cases of major scandal. The public media, but not only the media, we ourselves can become so fixed on the negative detail, we risk ignoring completely the fuller picture, the greater truth. How relevant, therefore, for our own immediate situation is the following wise saying: “A single tree falling in the forest creates more noise and rumour than an entire forest as it grows up in silence.”
That last saying is an encouragement to all of us who try to be humble labourers in the vineyard of the Lord.
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