In a development which has hit the headlines in many countries Fr Seamus Murphy of Ballycormac, Republic of Ireland, has instituted the Catholic Church’s first drive-in ‘discernment booth’.
The booth, in a converted garage adjacent to the presbytery, will allow parishioners in second marriages to engage in ‘a process of discernment’ about their eligibility to receive Holy Communion, without having to leave their cars.
Fr Murpy, a graduate of Maynooth, says that he was inspired by loyalty to the Holy See and by reading the recent book Everything you wanted to know about Amoris Laetitia but were too afraid to ask by Vatican expert Cardinal Aurelio Copacabana.
‘I read the book,‘ says Murphy, ‘and I realised that it was my duty to facilitate the mercy and compassion in that all-important footnote. Couples can just drive in, declare that they feel “right with God”, and drive out without a care in the world. It’s that simple’
‘But,’ as one journalist asked, ‘doesn’t that mean not ‘discernment’, but personal choice?’
‘Quite so,’ was Fr Murphy’s reply, ‘but the Church has always reiterated the priority of personal conscience, says Fr Arturo Abascal; and he’s a Jesuit. So who am I to judge?’