The recent ordination of 28 young priests in Seoul, Korea, made a dramatic impact on youtube and led to people in China crying .
On asking why, I was told it was a combination of the photogenic background in the Olympic Stadium, traditional music played on traditional instruments and the emphatic commitment of 28 young men to an exemplary cause. While ordinations are common in China too, large number are rarely ordained together and the display is not so public. For believers under a lot of pressure in China the sight must have been both moving and encouraging. Interestingly, it also shows the extent to which youtube is watched there.
Maybe the people of Ireland need some morale booster too. Today, with the number of priests being ordained at its lowest, we think the situation is the same worldwide, which it is not. The Korean Church has 6,000 priests, most ordained in recent years. In Ireland there may be an impression that the Catholic Church is irrelevant but, world-wide, the number of Catholics has doubled since 1970.
Not that the Catholic Church in Ireland had done much to be proud of in recent years but, as they warned us after Vatican ll, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. The baby is alive and thriving elsewhere.