FEWER THAN one in five Catholics attend Mass on any given Sunday in Dublin with many young people only retaining a marginal interest in religion, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.
At the ordination of seven young deacons yesterday at St Patrick’s College Maynooth, the archbishop warned that the Irish church faced challenges, and that the next few years would be crucial. He said the overall culture and demographics of Irish society were changing and young people did not have the same interest in religion as the older generation.
The archbishop said about 18 per cent of the Catholic population in the archdiocese of Dublin now attend Mass on Sundays, which was lower than diocese in other parts of the country that had an older age profile.
“Many young people, despite years of religious education, have only marginal interest in the message of Jesus. Many who come to us today possess only a sort of cultural Catholicism which can easily deceive us about the depth of people’s faith,” said the archbishop. “Faith in Jesus Christ and in his church is not a free-for-all of opinions in which anything goes. Faith in Jesus has content and context. It is about knowing Jesus intimately.
The archbishop said the years ahead must be ones of renewal for the Irish church and he urged the seven deacons to play a critical role in that renewal. “I encourage you to reach out to the coming generations, presenting them in unambiguous terms the teaching of Jesus and challenging them not to be afraid to let the message of Jesus change their hearts,” he said.