Yesterday evening myself and John Tuttlebee went to the evening Mass in Cahirdaven. We wanted to see what it was like. While I am not an ecumenical person, firmly believing that there are fundamental differences between an evangelical understanding of the Christian faith and that held by the Catholic church, I was actually pleasantly surprised.
The round 1970's building was dimly lit inside, creating a relaxed atmosphere. There were probably 200 or more people in a building that could take around 500 or 600. The liturgy had just one mention of asking Mary and the saints to pray for us, there was a small group of singers who were very pleasant to listen to, and the seven minute homily stuck to the text and encouraged people to think of the eternal perspective. There was a reading from the Old Testament, a gospel and an epistle.
Maybe what saddens me is what was not said rather than what was said. There is no assurance of sins forgiven. There is no confident proclamation that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). No understanding that like the tax-collector in Luke 18:9-14 we can go home 'justified', by simply turning to God and sincerely crying out in repentance 'God have mercy on me the sinner.'