Catholic Church failed its own standards in institutions, archbishop says

Dr Diarmuid Martin criticises the Church’s role in institutional care in Ireland

Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has said the Catholic Church allowed itself to become involved in forms of institutional care that failed its own standards. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has said the Catholic Church allowed itself to become involved in forms of institutional care that failed its own standards. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

The Catholic Church allowed itself to become involved in forms of institutional care that failed its own standards, the Archbishop of Dublin said on Saturday morning.

Dr Diarmuid Martin made the remarks while presiding over the ordination of four married men to the Permanent Diaconate, at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin.

In his homily, Dr Martin said that forms of institutional care involving the Church had “failed in the standards which witnessing to the care of Jesus demands.

“Some will say that times were different or that institutions did not have the financial wherewithal to do better. Some will say that Irish society was different and that the Church was not alone in the manner in which the poor were betrayed.

“There is certainly an element of truth in such reflection, but where the poor were let down by the Church, the person of Jesus was betrayed. An inward-looking, self-serving Church becomes an arrogant Church. The caring Church must rather be a beacon of what care and love for the poor demand.”

‘Witness to Jesus’

Dr Martin said the Church “must be a witness to the Jesus who serves”.

The archbishop added: “This is especially true in any way in which the Church sets out to serve the poorest and the weakest. Church documents speak of the Church having a ‘preferential love for the poor’. This means not just doing things for the poor. This means ensuring that what is done with and for the poor is the best.

“Sadly, in the past the Church allowed itself to become involved in forms of institutional care that failed in the standards which witnessing to the care of Jesus demands,” he said.

Dr Martin did not mention the result of last week’s abortion referendum directly, but said the Church must lead men and women beyond the confines of contemporary culture.

“There is always a sense in which the language of the Church must be countercultural.”