Church has to find 'new ways to be present'


EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS:THE CHURCH “has to find new ways of being present in a new Irish society” the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

It “must rediscover its own sense of communion and sense of common purpose, overcoming its internal divisions in a spirit of love of the church and in a dialogue of charity”.

He was speaking on “The Church in the Modern World” in the RDS, Dublin, on day two of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, of which he is president.

The venue was overcrowded, leaving an estimated 80 pilgrims protesting loudly outside and complaining about the organisation of the event.

On-stage inside while the archbishop spoke were papal legate Cardinal Marc Ouellet, congress secretary general Fr Kevin Doran and rector of the Irish College in Rome Msgr Ciarán O’Carroll. Primate of All-Ireland Cardinal Seán Brady stood on his own next to a side-door in the body of the hall.

In Ireland, Archbishop Martin said, “we are confronted, for perhaps the first time, with the need for a radically renewed proclamation of the Gospel for those already baptised but who have long since not experienced a real relationship with Jesus Christ”.

“Many nominal Catholics, including some who, notwithstanding regular attendance in church, have never reflected personally on the faith they have assimilated through societal and familial influence,” he said.

He continued that “the Gospel must be preached courageously even if it does not seem to find roots in people’s lives”.

“Resignation and keeping things ticking over will never renew the church. A divided squabbling church will not attract young people but only alienate them,” he said.

At a press conference later he paid warm tribute to other church leaders for the support they had shown him. “Relations between the churches are extremely good here in Ireland,” he said. “The amount of personal support I have received from Archbishop John Neill [retired Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin], Archbishop Jackson [current Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin] and the other church leaders has been astounding.”

Separately, Archbishop Martin was criticised by the leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) following his interview on RTÉ Radio One’s Marian Finucane Show last Saturday.

A statement on the association’s website recalled that “he spoke about how the church in Ireland was divided. Then he went on to say that the way to deal with division is through dialogue.” It said that despite the ACP being two years in existence, “as Archbishop of Dublin, [he] has up to this point totally ignored our existence”. He also “failed to respond to any of our invitations to attend events”.

A spokeswoman for Archbishop Martin said last night the only direct invitation he ever received from the ACP was to attend its recent meeting at Dublin’s Regency Hotel. Archbishop Martin’s secretary contacted the ACP to explain why he could not attend and wished them well with the meeting, she said.


Prayer Space Hall 4, 9am

Morning Prayer with Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

Hall 2a, 10am

Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle will speak on “The Abuse of Children: Accepting Responsibility, Bringing Healing”

RDS Arena, 4pm

Mass with Cardinal Vingt Trois.