| DUBLIN ARCHBISHOP WRITES PASTORAL LETTER FOR JUBILEE
|| Friendship with Christ is at the center, Archbishop says
DUBLIN, (ZENIT).- A special pastoral letter for the Jubilee Year 2000 has been released this
week by Archbishop Desmond Connell of Dublin. Entitled "The Knowledge of Christ," the
forty-page document deals with issues such as personal and liturgical prayer, membership of the
Church and growth in knowledge of Christ by devotion to the Sacred Heart, according to the
Diocesan Press Office.
The pastoral begins with a reference to the theme of Pope John Paul II for the Jubilee Year:
"Jesus Christ is the same Yesterday, Today and Forever." The Archbishop stresses that "the
celebration of the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Our Lord is not like any similar
anniversary celebration... it is a recalling of the past as something preserved in the 'today' of Our
Lord's presence in the Church.' "
The Archbishop notes how disappointment and hurt in relationships have affected many today.
"Do we not look for someone in whose goodness we can place our trust? ... But we find
ourselves in a world where trust may be betrayed, where self-interest may prevail over
obligations and commitment... Many today feel lost and even abandoned, unsure of their
Archbishop Connell outlines how Christ invites all to friendship with him and how our response
in faith is a gift of God. "Our Lord 'today' is also this present moment in our own lives... trying to
find us, to make contact with us, to meet us, to draw us into friendship with him so that we may
live in his love."
"The meeting with Christ is an invitation to friendship, but the faith it inspires is more than a
merely human response. It is a gift of God," he explained.
In a section dealing with the Church, the Archbishop says that Christ's work in the world, his
offer of friendship, continues through the Church. The Archbishop outlines how the Church helps
the Christian and the Catholic on his or her journey.
"We grow in the knowledge of Christ through the experience of life when we try to live in
friendship with him under the Church's pastoral guidance. No one can belong to Christ on his
own," wrote Archbishop Connell. "In giving himself to us he makes us the gift of the family of the
Church and shares with us his love and concern for all our brothers and sisters in that family."
The Archbishop situates the pastoral guidance of the Church in the context of a growing
friendship with Christ: "the pastoral guidance of the Church is not a narrow catalogue of do's and
don'ts for the purpose of control: it is the guidance we need for a life of friendship with Christ."
The Archbishop refers to the Church as an institution, vulnerable to critique like any other
institution. "Where faith is lacking, the sacramental nature of the Church escapes notice. The
outward institutional profile of the Church renders it vulnerable to anti-institutional attitudes...
Some are scandalized by the presence of sin in the faithful and especially in ministers of the
Church. It is to confuse the Church on earth with a heavenly Church that would be a transparent
and spotless sign of divine life already completely prevailing over human frailty and malice. But
the Church is a sign of the mercy of Christ, who came 'to call not the righteous but sinners.' "
In the last section of the pastoral letter, the Dublin Archbishop reflects on how the traditional
devotion to the Sacred Heart can help us develop our relationship with Christ. He will
re-dedicate the Archdiocese to the Sacred Heart in November 2000, and asks that families
again take up the practice of displaying an image of the Sacred Heart in their homes. "It is my
wish for the Jubilee Year that the image of the heart of Christ be restored to its place in our
homes so that parents and children in every family may have a constant reminder of the love of
Christ and come to know him in the joys of closest friendship."
The theme of Archbishop Connell's pastoral will be taken up by the Diocesan Prayer Initiative
and by the various diocesan agencies during the Jubilee year.