In 1932, the Catholic Church organised a Eucharistic Congress which was by all accounts an amazing event. Hundreds of thousands of people walked behind the Blessed Sacrament in an open-air procession which one historian said marked the Catholic nature of the new Irish state.
Some theologians and religious commentators have since described it as an exercise in ‘religious triumphalism.’ Now, in a response to the fall out from the child sexual abuse scandals, the Church has once again decided to organize a Eucharistic Congress, to be held 2012. They say it’s not about triumphalism but, rather, the building of parish communities in Ireland around the healing power of the Eucharist.
On 21 June this year, they invited parishioners from all around Ireland to come to Knock, a place of pilgrimage where Our Lady is said to have appeared to poor farmers during the Great Famine. It was to be a special pre-Congress celebration and on the day, thirteen thousand people turned up, seven thousand of whom would be there anyway on any given day as pilgrims.
That same week a Gay Pride celebration march/open air procession was held in Dublin. Twenty five thousand people took part. Let those who have ears to hear…