The Renewed Blessing of the Graves, Commendation of the Faithful Departed and the Placing of Crosses in St Thomas’ Graveyard, Dugort, Achill, during the Memorial and Healing Service.
Church leaders attack ‘ravages of secularism’
The Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland have more in common than what divides them according to the Churches’ two leaders in the west of Ireland, with the ‘ravages of secularism’ now the common enemy.
The ‘cult of secularism’ was roundly condemned by both Archbishop Michael Neary and Bishop Patrick Rooke during their addresses at the historic healing and blessing ceremony in Achill over the weekend.
The two Bishops led the ceremony to remember the 190 people buried in the Achill Mission graveyards who converted from Catholicism to Protestantism during the time of the Great Famine. They both used the ceremony to remind the congregation that whatever divides the two churches is of no comparison to secularism which was described as the ‘real enemy’ of us all.
The Right Reverend Patrick Rooke, the Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry said that the service showed just how far the two churches had come in the last 30 years but added that secularism was now the greatest threat to Christianity and its beliefs.
“The real enemy for all of us gathered here is the secular society of which we are part. There is no escaping it and we have seen in recent times what happens when the greed it encourages is allowed to fester and get out of hand. Whether we like it or not, secularism is growing rapidly in this country and others and to a large extent we only have ourselves to blame.
“Secularism is a cult which argues that more is better, those who live by this philosophy alone look out for ‘me and mine’ first and everyone else far down the line. More money, more power, more possessions, more influence and the more the better, that is their philosophy.
“This event would not have taken place some 29 years ago when I was last in this church taking duty. Let us not underestimate the progress which has been made but let us also acknowledge the size of the task ahead as together we confront the ravages of secularism ,” he said.
His comments on secularism were echoed by the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Michael Neary who said the two churches can go forward and celebrate what they have in common rather than focusing on what divides them.
“Bishop Patrick has rightly alluded to the secular agenda which is promoted at every opportunity and as we reflect on this it provides us with a great opportunity to acknowledge the essentials of Christianity. In the past the churches tended to emphasise what differentiated them but today however the secularist approach enables our church to recognise the essentials of true religion,” he said.