For the first time since the Reformation a Roman Catholic priest, Fr Enda McDonagh, has been appointed as a canon to the St Patrickís Cathedral chapter.
And the ecumenicalism doesnít end there, a former Presbyterian moderator, Dr Ken Newell, was also appointed a canon.
Canons are selected by the incumbent dean and chapter, and upon appointment they may participate fully in the cathedralís decision-making body on ecclesiastical matters (for the three Fís- finance, furniture and fittings- laypeople are elected to be involved). So now the Church of Irelandís national cathedral will have two members from outside the Church of Irelandís ranks. Surely this is a welcome step. Alongside the community level, there are movements afoot at the physical level as extensive works are planned to emphasis the Cathedralís presence upon the Dublin landscape (see thread).
Letís just hope they donít move the Guinness brewery as was mooted last month by Diageo. If I could choose one scene that encapsulates Dublinís better side, it would be the garden beside St Patrickís Cathedral when the bells are tolling and there is a strong smell of hops in the air. A clear winterís morning would really finish it off- every sense cries Dublin!
Anyway, back on topic. Some time ago the Dean of St Patrickís suggested using the cathedral for Roman Catholic masses: an idea shot down hastily by the Roman Catholic Cardinal Desmond Connell. Following that was the occupation of the cathedral by Afghan refugees, a somewhat embarrassing affair for the Church of Ireland and St Patrickís. Finally, is the national cathedral going in the right direction?