Yours is a long spiritual tradition of devotion to our Lady. Mary can truly say of Ireland what we have just heard in the first reading: "So I took root in an honoured people" (Sir 24 :12).
Pope John Paul II, September 30, 1979, Knock
At Knock, in 1979, Our Lady's servant, Pope John Paul II on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady, pronounced a sermon and Consecration that should cause great consternation. Firstly, the Holy Father outlined the great blessings poured out upon the Irish nation by God, since the arrival of St. Patrick. Secondly, the Pope called upon the hierarchy and faithful to take up their Christina heritage anew; and thirdly, the Holy Father entrusted or consecrated Ireland to Our Lady.
Yet, today, 35 years later we see that Ireland has lurched along a path of infidelity that has led to open rebellion and apostasy. Do consecrations not work? Did Our Lady not hear and act? Yes, She did. But She also expects us to respond, She will (like Her Son), not force Herself upon us. The Blessed Mother will not force Herself on the Irish Nation, if the Irish do not want Her. It is sadly evident, that, the vast majority of Irishmen and women do not wish to place themselves under Her protection. They were ashamed of Her: Her humility, Her purity, Her teachings ("do whatever he tells you" Jn 2:5).... and therefore being rejected, they insulted and rejected Her Son.
One can say, because of this rejection of the Mother of God, the Irish have been handed over to the forces of darkness to be scourged like Israel of old for infidelity "But my people did not heed my voice, and Israel would not obey, so I left them in their stubbornness of heart, to follow their own designs" (Ps. 81).
The Irish, stubbornly wished to continue in their lifestyles that more and more took on the appearance of a modern day incarnation of the obscene frivolities of the Court of Herod, rather than the serene purity of the Holy Family. Divorce, indecency, impurity, fornication, adultery, so-called birth control were all embraced. It was inevitable that having separated the procreative centrality of holy wedlock, that unnatural vice would follow. Thus, the Irish began returning to the vice of their ancestors prior to the arrival of St. Patrick. Throughout these troubles - the real troubles - the Irish hierarchy was mainly silent, or acted in collusion with the destroyers of the real interests of the Irish. Contraception was introduced into Ireland with the resultant abandonment of the Sacraments. Grace was seriously lacking. And so it went from one evil to the next. With silence or collusion by churchmen.
Indeed, we had the most recent outburst of treachery from Archbishop Eamon Martin that the far more gentle words of Cardinal Burke were unacceptable. When will this Irish episcopal mercenary resign or be removed from Office? He is staining with his treacherous presence the office of his holy predecessors. These cowards have not even apologized before God for their failure.
From Pope John Paul II:
Mother, in this shrine you gather the People of God of all Ireland and constantly point out to them Christ in the Eucharist and in the Church. At this solemn moment we listen with particular attention to your words : "Do whatever my Son tells you". And we wish to respond to your words with all our heart. We wish to do what your Son tells us, what he commands us, for he has the words of eternal life. We wish to carry out and fulfil all that comes from him, all that is contained in the Good News, as our forefathers did for many centuries. Their fidelity to Christ and to his Church, and their heroic attachment to the Apostolic See, have in a way stamped on all of us an indelible mark that we all share. Their fidelity has, over the centuries, borne fruit in Christian heroism and in a virtuous tradition of living in accordance with God's law, especially in accordance with the holiest commandment of the Gospel—the commandment of love. We have received this splendid heritage from their hands at the beginning of a new age, as we approach the close of the second millennium since the Son of God was born of you, our alma Mater, and we intend to carry this heritage into the future with the same fidelity with which our forefathers bore witness to it....
...We entrust to your motherly care the land of Ireland, where you have been and are so much loved. Help this land to stay true to you and your Son always. May prosperity never cause Irish men and women to forget God or abandon their faith. Keep them faithful in prosperity to the faith they would not surrender in poverty and persecution.