By Sarah Mac Donald - 24 December, 2013
“Great hardship continues to be inflicted on fragile families and schools” Bishop William Crean of Cloyne has warned in his Christmas message.
Referring to the recent departure of the EU/IMF Troika, the Bishop acknowledged that in political terms this may have given the country its “purse back”.
However, he called on the country’s political leaders to redress the austerity imposed on families and schools.
“Satisfying the Troika and the recovery of sovereignty may appease the markets, yet the trickle down of their austerity formula to genuine good families has been most unjust,” he said.
The Bishop of Cloyne said political leaders needed to redress these impositions soon. “Otherwise, satisfying the markets will reap a very negative social harvest in Irish society,” he warned.
He also took the opportunity to commend and thank individuals and groups “who have given so generously of their time and resources to ensure that so many on the margins know that they are cared for and continue to be close to our hearts.”
“In a time of demand and stress it can be very difficult to find joy and contentment,” he said but added that the first Christmas in Bethlehem was difficult for the young Mary and Joseph as they searched for a place of security and comfort.
“Their anxiety and worry reflect the struggle and anxiety of so many families who fret and worry about keeping a roof over their heads,” Bishop Crean commented.
In the Crib, the leader of the Church in Cloyne said, we witness “a truly fragile family – though divine in origin they are exposed to all that can be most difficult in life.”
“The Child is the centre of everyone’s concern and care. Jesus will not re-call this risk to his infant life yet He would learn through Mary and Joseph a deep compassion for those who are at risk by way of poverty, mental illness, exclusion and rejection.”
Such was Jesus’ sensitivity that he challenged all who failed to care, Dr Crean stated.
While we rejoice in the good news of the birth of the special One, the Son of God, we commit ourselves to embrace again that vision of life that includes all of humanity – regardless of creed, code or cult.
Concluding his message, Bishop Crean wished all the faithful and their families every blessing and joy this Christmas.
He also reached out to those in leadership, wishing them a time of rest and he prayed for new energy to serve all those in his care.