Archbishop challenged Pope John Paul on secularisation of Irish society

Diarmuid Martin says he told late Pope he was ’wrong’ on cultural shifts in Ireland

The role of women in Irish society has changed radically saud the  Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin today

The role of women in Irish society has changed radically saud the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin today

 

RONAN McGREEVY

The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said he told Pope John Paul II that he was wrong about the rapid secularisation of Irish society.

Archbishop Martin said late in his life Pope John Paul II had asked him why secularisation had moved so fast in Ireland.

"For one of the rare times in my life I said to him 'Holy Father, you are wrong'. In fact the roots go back back. They are basically cultural roots," Archbishop Martin told The Marian Finucane Show on RTÉ Radio One this morning.

The Archbishop said he believed the secularisation of Irish society pre-dated the release of Humanae Vitae in 1968, the doctrine disapproving of contraception which caused many liberal-minded Catholics to drift away from the Church's teaching.

He maintained that the secularisation of Irish society was a result of the fact that Ireland was an open economy.

“Humanae Vitae was a moment when you could mark as a significant event, but things had changed well before that I believe,” he said.

He also acknowledged that the role of women in Irish society had changed radically. “The Church has never really grappled with that in the way that it should and it must,” he said.

He also said that the previous Pope Benedict XVI had taken a keen interest in the future of Irish culture and its relationship with the Church.

“I'd gone out with all my statistics but they are not much use. He asked me about media, he asked me about theatre, he asked me about literature and we don't do clearly enough thinking about these questions.

“Irish literature always had a healthy anti-clerical streak in it, but the church has found it difficult to find a place in that area.”

He revealed that he could not say mass two days ago in the Pro-Cathedral on Holy Thursday without mentioning the case of Father Patrick McCabe who was sentenced last week for abusing children in the crypt of the cathederal. “I just could not simply ignore that. It would have been dishonest of me,” he said.