Pope upset US Catholics with change message, says Martin

Archbishop of Dublin received letters from people unsettled, ‘even angry at change’

Rev Gordon Linney  with his new book titled ‘Thinking Anew – Faith in a World of Change and Doubt’: Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said the book’s title was “an agenda for the future of all our churches today”. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Rev Gordon Linney with his new book titled ‘Thinking Anew – Faith in a World of Change and Doubt’: Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said the book’s title was “an agenda for the future of all our churches today”. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Pope Francis upset some American Catholics, including bishops, by things he said about the family in the United States last week, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said. They found it hard to accept “that Pope Francis could challenge accepted wisdom”.

He said the pope “noted that the principal victims of homelessness and inadequate housing were families and especially young children . . . He spoke of unemployment, noting the effects of loss of work on an entire family. He spoke of migration and of the division of families. He spoke of respect for life at all its stages. He met prisoners and their families.”

Dr Martin said he had received “a large number of letters” from people who were unsettled, “even angry at change”.

He said he realised “we, as a church, have made them like that. We created a climate around faith which . . . failed to free people and give them an experience of a Jesus who liberates us.”

He was speaking in Dublin on Thursday night when he launched Thinking Anew – Faith in a World of Change and Doubt, a collection of columns written in The Irish Times by Gordon Linney, retired Church of Ireland archdeacon of Dublin.

Dr Martin said the book’s title was “an agenda for the future of all our churches today”. Faith was “not about regurgitating perennial certainties” but the capacity “to think anew within an ever more rapidly changing world”.

He said Archdeacon Linney was a man “with that creative youthfulness that the Christian church needs much more of, especially in times of change and doubt”.