20 April 2024

For the week beginning on Sunday 08th. Jan.  2023

A Church


One of the most consequential churchman of the last hundred years has died.  Pope Benedict XVI (formerly Joseph Ratzinger) leaves a remarkable legacy in both the Church he served and in the wider society.  Often pilloried by his opponents as a fire-breathing conservative, he was in fact one of the most balanced, nuanced, and stabilizing figures within the Catholic ambit.  

The defining event of his life was the Second Vatican Council, the gathering of bishops and theologians from 1962 to 1965 that placed the Catholic Church in a renewed conversation with the contemporary world.  Though only thirty-five when he was tapped to be theological advisor to one of the leading German cardinals, Ratzinger proved to be a consequential player at Vatican II, contributing to the composition of many of its major documents and explaining its teaching to the wider culture.  At the council itself, he proved adversarial to those conservative forces who were resisting the renewal which the majority of bishops favoured.  One of the ironies of his life is that, in the wake of Vatican II, he found himself standing athwart progressives who wanted to push beyond the council documents and compromise the integrity of Catholicism.  Thus, the “liberal” of the Council became the “conservative” of the post-conciliar years, even as, in his own judgment, his views never changed. 

It is obvious that Ratzinger, as priest, bishop, theologian, and pope, was a man of faith.  But it is perhaps equally important to point out that he was one of the great defenders of reason on the world stage.  At a time when many of the representatives of the secular culture were questioning our capacity to know anything as true, Ratzinger resisted what he termed “the dictatorship of relativism.”  He claimed, in line with the great Catholic tradition, that certain truths—moral, intellectual, and aesthetic—can be known and that this knowledge in fact serves to unite people across religious and cultural divides.  This was precisely the point of his controversial Regensburg Address in 2006.  The Christian belief that Jesus is “Logos” or word effectively builds a bridge between Christianity and any religion, philosophy, or science that deals in truth and makes “logical” assertions.  In line with this instinct, Ratzinger happily engaged some of the leading atheist and skeptical philosophers of his day.  

I alluded above to his reputation in some circles as Panzerkardinal (the tank-Cardinal), an uncompromising, even cruel, reactionary. Those who knew Joseph Ratzinger personally could only shake their heads at such a characterization. For he was, in fact, a gentle, very kind, soft-spoken academic, whose particular gift was the finding of common ground. The thousands of bishops who came to Rome for their ad limina visits during Ratzinger’s years as prefect were typically impressed by the man’s extraordinary capacity to listen to all perspectives and then to find an illuminating synthesis. 

Pope Benedict said that Christianity is not an ideology or a philosophy, but rather a relationship to a person, to the living Jesus Christ. 

In his bearing, his gaze, the tone of his voice, and his manner, I could sense that he believed this, more to the point, that he lived it. 

Thank you, Pope Benedict, for the thousand ways that you have blessed the Church. And may God grant you peace.   


This Mass will be celebrated on Tue. 10th. Jan. at 7.30pm in the Church of the Assumption, Tullamore. All are welcome.


Click  for the full list of Mass Intentions to be celebrated this week.


Can you cover a holy hour? Hours available. Further info. phone Pat 085 1162668


6-14 Mar 2023.  Cost €2195.  Booking Navan Travel, 0469068600.  Enquiries to Kingscourt Parish Office 0429667314. 


As and from Monday 28th February 2022, the Church barrier will be open only from 7.00am until 12.00 non to facilitate Mass goers.


BAPTISM: Please contact the parish secretary. Baptisms take place monthly on the first Sunday in Tullamore, second Sunday in Durrow, third and fourth Saturday in Tullamore.

CONFESSIONS: Saturday 2.00-3.00pm in the Day Chapel.

SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE: To book the Church for weddings, contact the Parish Secretary at least three months in advance.  All couples getting married must complete a pre-marriage course.  Contact ACCORD 0579341831 or www.accord.ie.  ACCORD also providecouple and relationship counseling In-Person and Online in Tullamore.  Phone 057 9341831 or 0864669926 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


A Support line for older people Ph. 0818 222024 is available 8:00am. - 8:00pm. daily.


MABS ( a free, confidential service forople who have problems with money management): Nationl Helpline 0761072000 Mon - Fri 9:00 am to 8:00 pm  


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