The Catholic Bishops of Ireland have released a DVD called "In Praise of Priests" which aims to remind the people of Ireland of all the positive contributions priests have made.
The film is made up of five interviews with lay people of Ireland who speak about their admiration for particular priests and the impact they made on their lives.
It was released as part of "The Year for Priests" celebration and features interviews with a radio and television broadcaster George Hook, author Alice Taylor, union chief David Begg, Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte and drama teacher Ashleigh O'Neill.
After the launch of the DVD Father John O'Brien from Ferns, County Wexford made an appeal to the media calling on them to run a balanced report. He said that after the "avalanche of anti-church" stories in the media that they needed a break. He said "It is not easy on us; we try."
The films were launched at All Hallows College in Dublin. Bishop Donal McKeown of Down, and Chair of the Council for Vocations, said the time for the launch did raise questions.
He said "There are those who find it a bizarre time to launch any material in praise of priests, in that it might well be seen as piously self-congratulatory or blindly arrogant…We all know lots of people – some in our own family circles – who have no time for clergy."
However, he also said that the films showed that there were people in Ireland with great memories of priests who had influenced their lives for good and these films can remind us that there are many more priests ready to do likewise.
"Ireland can turn to NAMA to sort out the bad debts of the consumerist ideology that had consumed us all," he said. "It will take an awful lot more to sort out the rubbish heap of shattered dreams, lost trust and broken promises that fester in the corner of modern Ireland."
"It is precisely in a time like this that we need people who have what even secular management theory calls ‘spiritual intelligence’, that ability to take the rubble of the past and make it into foundations for the future."
Bishop Philip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe and chairman of the Council for Clergy said that "The Year for Priests" had been marked by regret instead of celebration.
"The past year also saw the serious sins and crimes of some priests highlighted as well as the failure of church leaders to deal adequately with these cases. This is a source of deep shame and sorrow," he said.
"These revelations must not obscure the outstanding and exemplary ministry lived by priests throughout this land and beyond."
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