Friday, March 17, 2006
St. Patrick and a Dispensation  

Today, of course, is the feast day of St. Patrick of Ireland. It is sometimes forgotten that this well-know saint was also a bishop. As a bishop, he enjoys the designation of a successor to the apostles. Through the laying on of hands upon him, he received the authority which Christ had given to His apostles.

In recent years, it is might have become easy to ignore that bishops have been granted authority. The scandals that are due to the sins of priests and bishops have tainted many opinions against authority within the Church. However, as many have pointed out, no matter how unworthy is the man who holds the office, if he has validly received the office of bishop, he carries the authority granted to him by Christ as a successor to the apostles.

For bishops, he is a model because he was a priest and bishop committed to sharing the Gospel. His zeal for the souls of Ireland moved him in faith to serve with fervor those to whom Christ had entrusted him. He writes in his confession:
"I am greatly God's debtor, because he granted me so much grace, that through me many people would be reborn in God, and soon after confirmed, and that clergy would be ordained everywhere for them, the masses lately come to belief, whom the Lord drew from the ends of the earth, just as he once promised through his prophets: "To you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited naught but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit." And again: "I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the uttermost ends of the earth."

In a somewhat lighthearted example, we can see the authority of the bishop. Today, being a Friday in Lent, would normally be a day of abstinence from meat for Latin rite Catholics. However, in honor of St. Patrick, my bishop has granted all in the diocese a dispensation. This means that we can enjoy some corned beef, stew, and Shepherd's pie to go along with our cabbage, soda bread, and beer.

Posted by David at 8:03 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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