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IRELAND (ru, Sept. 27th, 2010). – The association UNEC (Union of the Nations of European Christians) will organise in late July 2011 a "pilgrimage on the footsteps of Saint Patrick » to Ireland, by coach. A ‘pre-pilgrimage’ took place last week by car, to prepare this event. Dublin: without interest, perhaps the cathedral Saint-Patrick, today Anglican (!). This church is transformed into a vast religious museum with shopping center and some rest of religious service. More interesting was the visit to Downpatrick, in the 'occupied’ northern part of Ireland, i.e. the U.K. part of protestant Belfast (Ulster). Here are buried, since the 5th century, the relics of Saint Patrick who lived from 385 to 461, the great missionary of Ireland. One finds his tomb in the cemetery adjacent to the cathedral Saint Patrick of Downpatrick, in the form of a huge block of granite on which are simply engraved the words ST PATRICK. It’s from here that the saint patron takes care of his beloved country, always giving it its Christian identity and its strength to resist to the ills of all times, including today the abortion crime, the treaties of the atheist European Union, and now homosexuality. By contrast, to our great disappointment, the cathedral of Downpatrick is today no more Catholic, but Anglican. We could meet their leaders who, by the way, said that they were extremely shocked by the words of our Holy Father in England where the latter excused himself of "the sins committed by the Catholic clergy with children". As if there wouldn’t exist the same sins amongst the Anglicans, but there no pope exists and consequently no repentance is heard from the roofs. By this repentance, the Holy Father has rendered them more Anglicans and puritans than before. Yet, did Anglicanism not start from a bedroom, where Henry VIII sinned with his mistress (and later his 2nd "wife") Anne Boleyn ? "Honni soit qui mal y pense… » - Our path was covered with small churches, massive Celtic crosses carved in stone, and ruins of abbeys. We have noted a certain number of them to celebrate a holy Gregorian mass during the pilgrimage in 2011. The Irish Catholic Church, despite a population which is 95% Catholic (at least in the free part of the country), is presently in a precipitous fall: in 1971 there were 91% of the Irish who attended the mass every Sunday, 1985 they were only 83%, and today… 54 %. Many Catholic churches where we tried to enter were closed. But the rock bottom Catholic faith is not yet dead, as it is in France (where only 3% of the population which is theoretically Catholic,  do attend Sunday mass). This is particularly true for the west of the country, a wonderful landscape called Connemara, with its mini-fjords, sweet green hills, small lakes and cliffs of limestone going straight down over 215 m towards the sea, without forgetting the picturesque bars of Guinness beer which can be distinguished in delightful colours at each major marketplace. There we discovered the mountain of Saint Patrick, called "Croagh Patrick," 762 m high, where every year some 25.000 pilgrims who are still true practicing Catholics of Ireland gather on the last Sunday in July to climb the hill as penitents and celebrate the Holy Mass in honour of Saint Patrick in the little church built in 461 by Saint Patrick on the peak of the mountain. UNEC will focus its pilgrimage on this event of July 31st, 2011, in order to try to catch some sparks of the spirit of Irish Catholicism, the same one which has resisted since almost 16 centuries to all plagues, attacks and persecutions. At that time France was still awaiting its baptism (baptism of Clovis in 496). We shall climb with them on their saint hill, our holy Catholic mountain. The UNEC pilgrimage will therefore take place approximately from Monday July 25th to Wednesday August 3rd, 2011, the price is still in elaboration (somewhere between 600 and 900 Euro, or USD 750 to USD 1125) depending on the chosen means of transport). Pre-registration - without commitment - is already possible with UNEC ( Saint Patrick, come to save Europe that it remains always Christian!

ENGLAND (ru, Sept. 28th, 2010). Less enthusiastic was the discovery we made in returning by car from Ireland through England to France. At Blackburn, near Manchester and Liverpool in the centre of the country, we heard, with horror, the following news (cf. THE MANCHESTER of Sept. 25th, 2010, page 27) : The Catholic school of the Sacred Heart at Blackburn will be transformed into a Koranic school. This primary school of 200 pupils had ten years ago still 90% of Catholic children. Today there are no more than 3 %, the rest being Moslem, mostly from Pakistan and India. The Catholic bishop of that place, at Salford, felt that it was no more "appropriate" to the Catholic Church to run this school, and advocated a take-over by the local mosque… which was delighted. The negotiations are yet going on. The municipality comments soberly that there would not be any interruption of the operation of the school, even if it must formally close and reopen its doors under a new name (which means deletion of the name of the Sacred Heart). For the city, it’s the parents who must ‘democratically’ decide the fate of the school. O tempora o mores!

-  O.A.M.D.G.  -

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