Archbishop Diarmuid Martin welcomes secularization of Irish society

This is simply unbelievable. In his address yesterday to the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association Conference, the Archbishop of Dublin spoke positively about the decline in Catholic influence over Irish society:

The change in Irish society and the change in the life of the Church in Ireland are linked together. There is a growing secularisation in Irish society.  This is not entirely a bad thing, if we understand the complex phenomenon called secularisation correctly.  Very few of us would wish to return completely to the type of society many of us grew up in, where the Church dominated so much of Irish culture, and where the bishops and the clergy dominated the Church. Irish society and the Church in Ireland have changed and it must be said that the change has in great part been good. (emphasis mine)

Shamefully His Grace also takes it upon himself to impugn the faith and piety of past generations:

What I wish to affirm is the fact that in many ways our older culture was not always one which in the long term really strengthened the Church.  We may have thought that it did.  In many ways we felt that the strength of the Irish Church was in its numbers.  But those numbers at times hid a faith and a commitment that was not as strong as many had imagined.  They hid the fact that the faith was not being nourished sufficiently. They hid the fact that the faith was not being nourished in the best possible way to address the changing culture.

This is not only scandalous, it is also arguably sacrilegious. Who the hell does Archbishop Diarmuid Martin think he is to set himself up as a judge over the religious sincerity of our faithful forebears? I am outraged at this sickening arrogance! He would be lucky indeed to witness again the immense popular devotion and packed churches (that long-forgotten spectacle!) presided over by his predecessors.

His Grace returns to his pet theme of hope, confusing his sentimental and exaggerated optimism with the eponymous theological virtue. Yet again he also singles out traditionalist and conservative Catholics for criticism, repeating almost word-for-word his previous comments at Mater Dei:

 I am not an advocate of unnecessary pessimism about the future of the Church.  Only last week I was speaking about the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and I reminded my listeners of one of my favourite homilies, that given by Pope John XXIII on that occasion on 11th October 1962.

Pope John’s first words to the Vatican Council at the beginning of his homily were Gaudet Mater Ecclesia:  Our Mother the Church rejoices.   Polarisation in the Church can and has led to a loss of the sense of joy which should be a mark of the community of believers.  Reformers and traditionalist alike can all too often be men and women with a mission, but also men and women with gloomy and stern faces. Polarisation leads to a lack of common purpose. The Church at all times has reason to rejoice.  Jesus loves his Church and will be with his Church.  The Church’s agenda is driven by Jesus and it is from his fidelity to the Church that we draw hope.

[...] There have always at the same time been reasons of hope and reasons of concern in the Irish Church.  It will always be so.  We have to prove wrong the doomsayers both inside and outside the Church, both conservatives and traditionalists.  Gaudet Mater Ecclesia: gloom about the Church and its future – from whatever side – is most often a sign of a faith that is weak.

With bishops like this, who needs atheists?

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Posted on March 24, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Nauseous, nauseating, retchful. Do the Irish Catholic martyrs count for nothing? Were they catechetically undernourished? Lacking in authentic, post Vatican II joy?

    Why do all the wettest Bishops share the same uncertain, little-boy-lost, smile?

    • Indeed, Christopher. I suppose to Archbishop Martin the martyrs of the past weren’t authentically Catholic and no doubt also lacking in ‘hope’.

  2. brtomfordeofmcap

    I’m not sure why he mentions ‘conservatives and traditionalists’ – I haven’t come across too many in my travels. Instead I have come across plenty of disgruntle liberals who feel the Church is not changing fast enough. Ordinary Catholics are just not acknowledged.

    Still I can see where he seems to be coming from. Many of our older friars look back on the Church of their youth as a mixed bag. It certainly lacked the depth to cope with the changes our society has undergone. I remember the packed local parish church in Dublin on Sundays in the 80’s and within a few years there was plenty of sitting room. People just stopped coming and for a whole rake of reasons.

    I’ve said it before the Archbishop is of his generation – they’re nearly all ‘liberals’ for want of a better word and their world view means they cannot conceive that the pre-Concilliar Church has anything to teach the post-Concilliar. The prophetic analysis of von Hildebrand in his ‘Trojan Horse in the City of God’ is amazing in its insight and as relevant now as it was then. I recommend it.

    • Br Tom, the saddest aspect of the post-conciliar changes for me was that they came at the worst possible time, colliding head-on with the social turmoil of the 60s. In an era of dramatic social change, extensive tinkering with doctrine and liturgy was necessarily playing with fire.

      I suspect that the Church of the immediate pre-conciliar era was broadly speaking ‘as good as it gets’ (give or take about 15%). A lot of what was destroyed simply could never be replaced or replicated – which is quite sad as it will never conceivably be improved upon.

  3. I wouldnt worry too much about what Archbishop Martin says,with the state of the Church the way it is, he just cannot be taken seriously.Even the most sceptical atheist looking at the state of the Church in 1965 compared to now,would regard Archbishop Martins claims as nonsensical.While the Archbishop and his fellow travellers in the Catholic Hierarchy continue the downward spiral of the Church here good Catholic clergy such as the Benedictine community which you reported moving here start the business of rebuilding it.

  4. I wish I had something helpful to say. Just watch out for helpful lay people turning up in Armagh with a large brightly painted wooden horse as “a present for the Cardinal Primate in these troubled times”.

  5. I’m glad someone has picked this up. It is, truly, disgraceful. Let’s hope the nuncio has taken note.

  6. “Seven times the night before Our Lord died, He told His disciples that they would be hated by the world. When we get on too well with the world, there must be something wrong with us.”

    -Bishop Sheen

  7. “When they create a wilderness they call it renewal”- Tacitus, Agricola, 30
    Thanks for this post. It certainly merits wide circulation.
    Unbelievable is a rather restrained way of putting things. I imagine the revolutionary, modernist sappers who have undermined or destroyed the faith of three generations of Catholics in this country might, just might have felt a twinge of apprehension following the publication of the summary of the Apostolic Visitation Report last week. I suspect and fear that they will be the only ones to be reassured and take comfort from Archbishop Martin’s words.
    His Grace has referred to Pope John XXIII’s homily of 11 October 1962, at the opening of the Second Vatican Council as “one of my favourite homilies”. So be it. Fifty years later, with all due respect, that homily can be seen to contain tragic naivety in its rebuke of “prophets of gloom who are always forecasting disaster”. Arguably the most important, and resolutely ignored words of that homily were to charge the Council Father “that the Sacred Deposit of Christian Doctrine, should be guarded and taught more efficaciously (with a) renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teachings of the Church in their entirety and preciseness, as they still shine forth in the acts of the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council”.
    By the way, Pope John’s hope was quick to dissipate. On his deathbed he was reported to have said “stop the Council. Stop the Council”.
    I wonder how Archbishop Martin would respond to the following words of Pope John’s successors:
    “We refer to the immense dangers on account of the present age’s cast of mind alienated from religion. They are so full of snares, so that in the very bosom of the Church there appear works by several teachers and writers who while trying to express Catholic doctrine in new ways and forms, often desire rather to accommodate the dogma of faith to the secular modes of thought and expression than be guided by the norms of the teaching authority of the Church”.- Pope Paul VI, opening speech to the 1967 Synod of Bishops
    “Today the Church is going through a moment of disquiet. Some practice self-criticism, one would even say auto-demolition. It is like an inner, acute and complex disturbance such as no one could have expected after the Council”. – Pope Paul VI, Allocution to the students of the Lombard Seminary, December 7, 1968
    “We believed that after the Council would come a day of sunshine in the history of the Church. But instead there has come a day of clouds and storms, and of darkness… How did this come about? We will confide to you the thought that may be, we ourselves admit in free discussion, that may be unfounded, and that is that there has been a power, an adversary power. Let us call him by his name: the devil. It is as if from some mysterious crack, no, it is not mysterious, from some crack the smoke of satan has entered the temple of God”- Pope Paul VI, Sermon, June 29, 1972
    “At the root of this loss of hope is an attempt to promote a vision of man apart from God and apart from Christ….European culture gives the impression of “silent apostasy” on the part of people who have all they need and who live as if God does not exist”.- Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia in Europa, #9
    “Certainly the results (of Vatican II) seem cruelly opposed to the expectations of everyone, beginning with those of Pope John XIII and then of Pope Paul VI: expected was a new a Catholic unity and instead we have been exposed to dissension which , to use the words of Pope Paul VI, seems to have gone from self-criticism to self-destruction. Expected was a new enthusiasm, and many wound up discouraged and bored. Expected was a great step forward, instead we find ourselves faced with a progressive process of decadence which has developed for the most part under the sign of a calling back to the Council, and has therefore contributed to discrediting it for many. The net result therefore seems negative. I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period has definitely been unfavourable for the Church”. Cardinal Ratzinger, L’Osservatore Romano, 24 December 1984.
    “Should we not also think how much Christ suffers in His own Church?…What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to Him! How much pride, how much self-complacency!…Lord, Your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat….- Cardinal Ratzinger, Meditation on the Third Fall of Our Lord, Good Friday 2005
    “In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values.”- Pope Benedict XVI, Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, s.4

    The Church is arguably in the midst of the biggest disaster since the Arian crisis. What would we have been spared if the “prophets of doom” had been listened to? Perhaps none of us should have expected our beloved land to escape the nuclear devastation. But how we have squandered our sacred patrimony. In its place we have the exaltation of private judgement in place of fidelity to the sacred Magisterium, lack of belief in the vital role of the Church as the essential dispenser of sanctifying grace through her sacraments, lack of belief in the Real Presence, lack of belief in the Mass as Sacrifice, lack of understanding of the indispensible and irreplaceable role of the ordained priesthood, lack of consideration of the four last things, lack of devotion to Our Lady and the saints. All of these were as natural as breathing for the vast majority of our Catholic forbears of living memory.
    I feel inclined to add the adjectives grotesque and bizarre to that of unbelievable when dwelling on Archbishop Martin talks of “doomsayers both inside and outside the Church, both conservatives and traditionalists”. Who and what exactly is this statement supposed to involve? “Indeed the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries nor innovators: they are traditionalists”- Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique.
    The theological virtue of hope is surely needed in these days. For hope to bear fruit and for the Church to make its way out of the desert I suggest a rather sober listening to and reflection on the words of wise shepherds is needed. Shepherds such as Pope Pius IX who told us “that liberal Catholics are the worst enemies of the Church”, would “be the ruin of religion”, and “would prevent us from meriting the blessings of God” ( to French deputation on June 18, 1871).
    Or, once more, Pope Saint Pius X, who in his magnificent 1907 encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis warned against “the partisans of error” who attack the Church “in her very bosom” and whose aim was “to accommodate the dogmas of faith to secular modes of thought”.

    In these days of crucial importance for the Church we might do well to remember a great Catholic bishop, a man who laboured for 27 years in the Missions, a bishop who appreciated very early on the threat to souls posed by “secularisation”, a bishop who remained resolutely faithful to the Mass of All Time and Catholic Tradition, a bishop who at great personal cost handed on that which he received- Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

  8. I am not surprised about this bishop’s out-of-place perspective. He is simply trying to justify his and his ilks’ criminal negligence of their duties to the Church and Her Faithful that brought so much decline in spirituality in Ireland. This bishop and his company are what Lenin called “useful idiots” , and we have too many of them in the Church. They usher in the Arian crisis inthe Church.

  9. Why is this so shocking? Again and again, Jesus and the Apostles warned us that wolves would enter the fold and pose as shepherds. For example:

    “Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. And of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

    -Acts 20:28-30

    No, there’s nothing at all surprising about this.

  10. We’ve all heard the clichés about pre- Vatican II Irish Catholicism, about the grim, grey 1950’s, about legalistic obsession with religious externals. Regular readers of this blog are in a far better position to form an informed, objective opinion on this than the vast majority of Irish people today whose minds are formed by an aggressively anti Catholic media.

    Nobody imagines that all those straight- backed, properly dressed men and women that we see in fading photographs and black and white news reels were all perfect in every way. I wouldn’t think any of them claimed immunity from original sin and the importance of the sacraments was fully understood. We don’t come from pelagian stock.

    I don’t doubt for a moment that our Catholic forbears had a great deal more unpretentious virtue and moral fibre than many of the self-indulgent, pampered, aggressively incoherent, ignorant apostates and atheists who find it fashionable to mock the Bride of Christ. Neither do I doubt that previous generations showed heroic stoicism and fortitude in the face of real physical and material hardship.

    This strength didn’t come from counseling and therapy sessions. It came from the Catholic faith preserved, guarded and passed on century after century through trial, persecution and poverty. It came through bishops who taught, led and sanctified, aided by faithful priests who offered the Mass of All Time at the altar of the Lord and ministered diligently and tirelessly to their flocks. It came from parents who didn’t have to be told about their responsibility of handing on the faith. It came from nuns and brothers who labored in schools and hospital with no thought of reward or recognition in this life.

    Purely, solely, for the sake of argument let us allow to the liberals, the modernists, the revolutionaries, or indeed the conservative defenders of the Council, the hypothesis that before 1962 Irish Catholics were insular, ignorant, superstitious, gullible, uncharitable, and unsophisticated anti-intellectuals, of shallow and unthinking faith, in thrall to some clerical caste. Purely, solely for the sake of argument let’s suppose that all this contributed to the mass apostasy and spiritual devastation that we see all around us today. When everyone is sitting comfortably I would like to ask a simple question. It’s a question I’ve seen posed before. A very obvious question when you think about it. Funny thing, I haven’t seen or heard an answer.

    Did the same liberal, modernist, revolutionary or conservative hypothesis hold true for the people of Germany, Austria and Switzerland? Did it hold true for the Dutch, the Belgians, the French, or the Italians? Or the Spanish and Portuguese? What about England, America, Canada and Australia?

  11. I’m looking at a Hieronymus Bosch painting and trying to decide which creature is the most emblematic of this bishop. You can find them all in Bosch, even the St. Louis Jesuits.

  12. This smacks of the neo modernist rubbish which holds the spirituality of previous Irish generations up to ridicule for being servile to authority and tradition. Without the patient suffering of so many Irish Catholics in times of bigotry, persecution and poverty, ++Martin and his liberal friends would have no faith (or whatever watered down, neo Protestant version of the faith they currently hold). Now he seeks to denigrate a holy and faithful generation who gave us so many vocations (his own too) and missionaries, and thinks somehow that the Church is in a better place today than in was before VII. Shame on you, ++Martin! Previous generations of Irish Catholics may not have had to contend with a virulently anti Catholic mass media or Tory/Lib Dem/Labour propaganda on how being gay is normal and healthy, but they were, e.g. constantly attacked for having large families and being a burden on the British state. Under secularist pressure they could have availed of contraception or ditched their spouses for younger models but mostly they didn’t. They held to the Church’s teaching and did their duty. With the arrival of DIY Catholicism, alas, the House is falling down and the only vision ++Martin & Co can offer us is, ironically, a Church servile to and dominated by modernity.

  13. Tomas de Torquemada!

    Where are you when we need you!

  14. ANOTHER MORON LEADING A GREAT CHURCH INTO RUIN

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