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Irish bishop says religion 'clicks in' at mature age

Bishop Brendan Comiskey of Ferns in Ireland has said he is not worried that young people are falling away from attendance at religious services because they are responding to the Holy Spirit "in their own way", through various activities such as fund raising.

When they say they don't believe in God anymore he says he tends to respond: "Don't worry. As long as he believes in you, you're alright."

Religion, he believes, "clicks in at a more mature age." As people got older they sought a less comfortable God, he said.

Dr Cominsky was speaking at the launch in Dublin on Monday of Thérèse - The Visit, a 72-minute video of the tour of Ireland made by a reliquary containing remains of St Thérèse earlier this year.

He described the visit as "the biggest religious experience in Ireland since the Eucharistic Congress in 1932 and the visit of the Pope in 1979 and this video is a wonderful record of that experience." He also said he was hoping to organise a study of the visit's effects.

It has been estimated that up to three million people visited the reliquary on its tour of Ireland's 26 Catholic dioceses. Bishop Comiskey felt this had something to do with a spiritual hunger on the part of people. In rejecting religion, people could not throw away that part of their deeper selves which is nourished by the spiritual - that "seed of God-within", he said. Some chose to nourish it through the aesthetic, through contemplation of beauty in art or the countryside, but it had to be fostered if people were to be truly human. The soul needed to be nourished just as did the body, the emotions, and the intellect, he said, and it was each person's own responsibility.

Visit of the Relics of St Thérèse - Australia 2002
Visit to Ireland of the Relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux

Irish Times