Being Christian ‘can bring upon us ridicule’, says primate

Not everyone likes Pope Francis, says Archbishop

The Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin has spoken about the unpopularity of being Christian in today's world while Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin addressed the unpopularity of Pope Francis with some priests. Both were speaking at Holy Thursday Chrism Masses.

Dr Eamon Martin said in Armagh that “sometimes daring to witness openly to our sincerely held Christian convictions can bring upon us ridicule, condemnation or even persecution”.

He was “thinking, for example, about our strong beliefs in the sacredness of human life from the first moment of conception until the moment of natural death; our Church’s understanding of marriage and the family; our Catholic social teaching about the fair distribution of goods, care for creation and concern for the weakest and most vulnerable,” he said.

“The world in which we minister is inclined to shun moral absolutes, or any talk of God’s law and the natural order of things,” he said.


Dr Diarmuid Martin said in Dublin that not everyone likes Pope Francis. “There are even priests who do not like him and Pope Francis recognises that himself. Speaking last year to the priests of the diocese of Rome he said that some priests had spoken to him or had written to him saying: ‘But Holy Father, what have you got against priests?’. And he noted that they had said to him that he ‘bashes priests! That is a direct quote’.”

Just as before Christmas “Pope Francis listed 15 sicknesses which affect those who work in the Roman Curia” , he was “not shy in listing the professional illnesses of bishops and priests,” he said. One of the themes Pope Francis wished to present in a particular way to priests was his call for them to live their vocation more enthusiastically and more authentically.

Another of those themes was “undoubtedly that of mercy,” he said. “The problem is that we tend to develop our own idea of the relationship between mercy and truth, and at times we do so with an absolutism which belongs to God alone,” he said.

The greatest challenge for Christians and where they failed most was in witnessing “to the love and the mercy of God.” It would “help us to scrape away from our own hearts .... the things which cause the alienation around us. Like Jesus himself we must be out on the road and become homeless to the comforts which trap into narcissism – another word often used by Pope Francis.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times