Archbishop notes test of faith confronting believers


IRELAND NEEDS a church “which presents the message and the teaching of Jesus Christ in a manner which responds to the challenges adults face regarding their faith in today’s world,” Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

“Certainly being a Christian today can never involve a shallow flight from the realities and the complexities of the modern word.”

He was speaking in St Damian’s Poor Clare monastery on Dublin’s Simmonscourt Road on Saturday at a Mass marking the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Poor Clare Sisters by St Clare.

“This small monastery and what goes on within its walls is a striking challenge to all of us to reflect on what life means and what is important in life,” he said.

The preaching and the lifestyle of St Clare “called many back to the essential faith in Jesus and to true reform of the church. The church is not an ideology of choice, but a gift from Jesus, which we cannot construct according to our categories.”

In a statement on the archdiocese’s website, Dr Martin has also commented on findings of an international survey, published last week, which showed that of 57 countries surveyed Ireland was second to Vietnam when it came to a drop in those people who considered themselves religious.

It was “just one further reminder of the need for strong ongoing education in the faith” in Ireland.

He believed “the emphasis on religious education in schools – vital as it is – has perhaps taken attention away from the need for adult religious education”, which “treats men and women as adults” and addresses “the questions which adult Christians have to face as they live their faith in today’s changing world”.

Such religious education was already available in the “excellent and stimulating National Directory for Catechesis, Share the Good News”, launched by the Catholic bishops in January of last year, Dr Martin said.

However, the archbishop added that he felt “its application has been very slow and it has not yet made the inroads into popular catechetics and parish life that it needs to”.