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?