Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Some Values of Celtic Christianity

  • Love of nature and a passion for the wild and elemental as a reminder of God's gift.
  • Love and respect for art and poetry.
  • Love and respect for the great stories and higher learning.
  • Sense of God and the saints as a continuing, personal, helpful presence.
  • Theologically orthodox, yet with heavy emphasis on the Trinity, and a love and respect for Mary, the Incarnation of Christ, and liturgy.
  • Thin boundaries between the sacred and the secular.
  • Unique Church structure: there were originally no towns, just nomadic settlements, hence the church was more monastic rather than diocesan, resulting in quite independent rules and liturgies.
  • Ireland was very isolated; it was hard to impose outside central Roman authority.
  • Influenced much by middle-eastern and Coptic monasticism.
  • Monasteries were often huge theocratic villages often associated with a clan with the same kinship ties, along with slaves, freemen, celibate monks, married clergy, professed lay people, men and women living side by side.
  • While some monasteries were in isolated places, many more were at the crossroads of provincial territories.
  • Women had more equal footing in ancient Irish law, thus had more equal say in church governance.
  • Developed the idea of having a "soul friend" (anamchara) to help in spiritual direction.
  • Invented personal confession.
  • Oral word-based culture; most of the people were illiterate but had great memorization skills. They loved to hear great stories.
  • A sense of closeness and immanence between the natural and supernatural.
  • A mandate for hospitality.
  • Emphasis on family and kinship ties.

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