Archbishop Martin and ‘tabloidism’

 

Sir, – It takes years to build a reputation but it can be lost in moments and that is why the recent sweeping generalised comments of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin regarding the Catholic press in Ireland are unworthy of an archbishop respected for his intellectual rigour and ability to think beyond the conventional view (“Archbishop in attack on ‘tabloidism’ in Catholic press”, Home News, September 14th). He complains about a lack of professionalism in the Catholic press but cites no examples. There are no sources or references to back up his comments about tabloidism.

The paper I manage and formerly edited, the Irish Catholic, has been printing since 1888, and has five full-time journalists on the staff, all members of the National Union of Journalists.

As an independent newspaper, we have consistently published insightful and often exclusive stories on a wide spectrum of issues, whether on clerical child abuse and cover-ups or the flouting of labour laws by prominent bishops.

For his part Archbishop Martin has consistently refused to give a full interview to the Irish Catholic for over eight years now. Any keen observer will know that shyness is not a difficulty for the archbishop. So why is Archbishop Martin willing to criticise the Catholic press from afar but unwilling to submit himself to an interview that would put to him questions on his stewardship of the Dublin diocese? And I can assure you that these are pressing questions with a strong public interest.

Perhaps readers will also pause and ask themselves why does an archbishop in 2013 turn the full force of his crozier on all the Catholic press in Ireland, without distinction or care for the reputations of the laity who are employed and who have made their careers and reputations in it.

There is a considerable whiff of the late Archbishop John Charles McQuaid about such high-handed episcopal condemnations. Perhaps we are getting something right when those in authority want to demean and diminish our work.

The very first edition of the Irish Catholic in 1888 took on the Vatican for its interference in Irish nationalism. As a paper we continue to hold those who govern our church to account while also reporting in a fair and balanced way the daily issues that affect Christian life in Ireland and indeed abroad. – Yours, etc,

GARRY O’SULLIVAN,

Publisher, Irish Catholic

Head of the Religious

Press Association,

St Mary’s,

Bloomfield Avenue,

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4.