Archbishop Martin warns against cynicism and criticises cartoon

Archbishop speaking at Holy Thursday Chrism Mass in Dublin’s

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: I object to anything that would unjustly tarnish all good priests with the unpardonable actions. File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: I object to anything that would unjustly tarnish all good priests with the unpardonable actions. File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times


The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin warned against the corrosive effects of cynicism and criticised a cartoon in this newspaper yesterday.

He was speaking at the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass in the Dublin’s Pro Cathedral this morning. At the ceremony, oils are blessed for use during the coming year in the administration of the Church’s sacraments.

“Holy Thursday and this Chrism Mass are special moments when we renew our commitment to ministry,” the Archbishop said. “Renewal can be painful and means moving out of the comfort zones that each of us create for ourselves or allow ourselves to slip into. Cynicism or scepticism are never the responses of the genuinely committed. Cynicism is not smart. Cynicism is not noble. Cynicism robs creative energy. The challenges we face within this diocese requires new energy and new enthusiasm and new realism,” he said.

Referring to the cartoon in yesterday’s edition of this newspaper, which dealt with the conflict between mandatory reporting of child abuse and respect for the seal of the confessional, he said:“I know that many priests and people feel hurt by a cartoon in yesterday’s Irish Times. I am a strong believer in freedom of speech and of the vital role of satire in social criticism, but I object to anything that would unjustly tarnish all good priests with the unpardonable actions of some. We have great priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin. ”

The sacrament of penance, he said “is a privileged encounter with the mercy of God and the place where the mercy of God lifts us up above our anxieties and reminds us that Christianity is a faith of new beginnings for those who honestly face the darker realities of their lives.”

He paid special tribute to older priests and advised priests experiencing difficult, even failure, “do not fall into the trap of thinking that you are on your own or that somehow there are others who have not also shared your experiences. All of us are sinners.” He thanked in particular active members of the Council of Priests who had contributed to the archdiocese being a pioneer in many areas.

At the Chrism Mass in the Tuam’s Cathedral of the Assumption, Co Galway, Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary spoke of how as priests “we minister in a fractured world and at times do so as men who are ourselves disillusioned and disheartened. We endeavour to hear the silent cry of our people, share their distress, bring comfort and dignity to the deprived. The message of the bible is that civilisations survive not by strength but by how they respond to the weak; not by wealth but by how they care for the poor; not by power but by their concern for the powerless.”

He remarked on how “all too often in recent years the faith which religion presented to the world has been unconvincing: either strident and aggressive or weak and vague. Yeats lines come to mind: ‘The best lack all conviction,/While the worst are full of passionate intensity’. Neither strategy however offers a road map to redemption. Neither is adequate to God’s call in our day.”

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