In an end of the year interview, Cork Bishop John Buckley explained how Church doctrines are meant to serve as ideals and not necessarily standards of membership. Those who do not follow the ideals are still encouraged to come attend Mass.
The Irish Examiner quotes Bishop Buckley’s comments that said, “These are all ideals that we must try to live up to. If you do not meet all these ideals, it does not mean that you cannot take your place at the table the Lord has prepared for you. The Church is a refuge for the weak, not a home for the perfect.”
“I welcome all to the Church and I would encourage everyone to welcome all. I will hear no condemnation or rejection of people. Jesus loves his people no less in their absence,” said Bishop Buckley.
The Cork Bishop went on to speak about the state of religion in Ireland today. He said, “Irish people have a religious instinct. I believe that firmly. People retain that instinct even though they are not regular Mass Goers. They may not attend regularly, but they still retain their affiliations. You will see them at funerals, at communions, even though they may have grown casual or careless.”
Bishop Buckley encouraged people to come to Mass, especially in such hard economic times as Mass and the Church are meant to serve as positive inspirations.
“For all the talk of Mass attendance falling, if the church was a political party,” said Bishop Buckley, “it would form a one-party government with an overwhelming majority in this country.”
“Jesus Christ is a message of hope, a message of joy, we must share it. As Pope Benedict said ‘many people now think the Church is a collection of prohibitions, but it is not. It’s positive, it’s totally different.”