I have spent the afternoon celebrating my granddaughter’s first birthday, so have not yet had a chance to read in full the Papal “pastoral” letter to the Irish Church. I did read a few press summaries before going out, and have reflected on their significance while riding the trains, but I do not want to get into a detailed response until I have read the full report. My initial reaction though, can best be conveyed by a few visual images: a mother who responds to a mildly injured child by kissing it better, or applying a band aid. A less charitable image would show two raised fingers to the Irish Church.
When I returned this afternoon, I did get a chance to scan some headlines, which I now share with you unread. It does not seem that Catholics elsewhere are any more enthusiastic about this letter than I am: