Move from Christ 'a concern'


THE IMPORTANCE of the Eucharistic Congress was that “it speaks of the broader picture of the life of communion flowing from baptism”, said the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson yesterday.

“Once we accept that mission is, first and last, God’s mission, questions have to be asked about how we enable this gift of God to be the spiritual activity and the active spirituality of the church of today.

“And we need to be mindful always that God speaks through the world to the church, as also to the world through the church. Both need each other and both are enriched by the interchange of care and concern.”

Archbishop Jackson was speaking at an ecumenical Liturgy of Word and Water at the RDS Arena yesterday.

Also taking part were Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Vatican’s Council for Christian Unity, Fr George Zavershinsky of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ireland, the president of the Methodist Church in Ireland Rev Kenneth Lindsay, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Rev Martin O’Connor, deacon at St Ann’s Church of Ireland on Dublin’s Dawson Street.

In his address at the liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the department for external church relations at the Russian Orthodox Church, said “we all have reasons to be concerned for the fact that today’s world is moving away from Christ and that Europe is gradually abandoning her Christian roots”.

He said “we should not think that these processes are developing by themselves and that we as Christians are not responsible for them. On the contrary, all this is a consequence of the cooling of our faith.”

God, for Europeans, had “ceased to be the living and loving Father . . . In the language of the modern man, the word ‘god’ can designate anything, even the inner psychological essence of the human being”, he said.

What he termed “the death of God period” had been replaced “by one of obscure pseudo-theological concepts called to gratify ‘people’s individual needs’.

“Having ‘killed’ God , the civilisation which rejected Him made an attempt to ‘reanimate’ Him but in a fundamentally new form. To assert the dominant cult of consumerism and self-indulgence, it needs an impersonal and morally indifferent god devoid of any relation to biblical revelation.”

Papal legate Cardinal Marc Ouellet will be received by President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin this morning.

Later today Cardinal Ouellet will travel as a pilgrim to Lough Derg in Co Donegal where he will spend the night.

On Saturday he will visit Knock Shrine in Co Mayo.