People’s behaviour as important as any medicine, says Archbishop

‘We will have to face and live with the challenges that the pandemic has brought’

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin: ‘Precariousness will affect so many of the things that in the past gave us a sense of security.’

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin: ‘Precariousness will affect so many of the things that in the past gave us a sense of security.’

 

Responsible human behaviour is just as important as sophisticated medicine in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

Up to this, people felt “that the progress of modern science and culture would quickly be able to respond to any global health crisis by rapidly producing a cure or a vaccine that would resolve the question and allow us to continue in the way we lived,” he said.

“Now we realise that a pandemic can emerge and spread and indeed reappear. We also have realised that in public health terms, medicine, cures and vaccines, actions from somewhere in society cannot alone resolve our problems,” he said.

Speaking in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral, he advised that “in the months and years to come we will have to face and live with the challenges that the pandemic has brought and will leave us with. People will be insecure. Jobs will be lost at all levels in society. Precariousness will affect so many of the things that in the past gave us a sense of security.”

In such a scenario, the church “must find ways of witnessing to the fact that society needs care and love,” he said. This should be shown “not through words and polemics but by being alongside those who feel that their personal value is shunned and may even be tempted by despair and emptiness,” he said.

The post-pandemic church would “be very different to what we have experienced in the past” not least as “in today’s culture more and more of our brothers and sisters find it difficult to find God and more and more find it difficult to find God through our church,” he said.

Where believers were concerned, he warned against running away “from the harshness of reality into the false securities and a craving for a past that may never have existed. Faith must be adult faith,” he said.

Catholic Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary praised his priests for their handling of the pandemic. “The great efforts which you made to minister to your people during the lockdown and the way you provided for them to make Mass available through various means has been warmly welcomed and very favourably commented on by your parishioners,” he said.

He was speaking in Tuam’s Cathedral of the Assumption at the Chrism Mass there. Usually held on Holy Thursday, when priests renew their vocation, it was postponed from last April due to the pandemic.

“The secure predictable world of God’s people seems to be falling asunderm” he said and “that Covid-19 has triggered an enormous challenge for all, priests and people alike.”

“It is our vocation as priests to try to encourage and empower our people,” he said. “Recent events have left many people fatigued and perhaps close to despair,” he said. “As priests we need to plant a vision in peoples’ minds, hope in their hearts, discipline in their deeds and strength in their souls that would never fade,” he said.