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Martin “discouraged” on church renewal

May 11, 2010

By Staff Reporter

The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, has said he feels personally “disheartened and discouraged” about the lack of willingness in the Catholic Church to begin “what is going to be a painful path of renewal,” the Irish Times reports.

In an address on the future of the Catholic Church in Ireland to the Knights of Columbanus in Dublin last night, he said that “on a purely personal level, as Diarmuid Martin, I have never since becoming Archbishop of Dublin felt so disheartened and discouraged about the level of willingness to really begin what is going to be a painful path of renewal and of what is involved in that renewal.”

Martin said he had “no choice but to lay aside personal discouragement and continue day by day the search for personal conversion and renewal . . .”

He warned of “strong forces” in the Catholic Church in Ireland “which would prefer that the truth did not emerge” about clerical child sex abuse, and said there were “signs of subconscious denial on the part of many about the extent of the abuse which occurred . . .”

Martin said he was “surprised at the manner in which church academics and church publicists can today calmly act as pundits on the roots of the sexual abuse scandals in the church as if they were totally extraneous to the scandal. Where did responsibility lie for a culture of seminary institutions which produced both those who abused and those who mismanaged the abuse? Where were the pundit-publicists while a church culture failed to recognize what was happening?”

Archbishop Martin said he did not believe “that people have a true sense of the crisis of faith that exists in Ireland.”

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Despite some good work parishes were offering “very little outreach to young people”, while Catholic schools had educated young people who “are among the most catechized in Europe but among the least evangelized.”

He said he was not sure Irish Catholics “really have an understanding of what Catholic education entails.”

“Many people send their children to what is today a Catholic school not primarily because it is a Catholic school but because it is a good school. I am not sure that parents would change their children from that school if it were to become simply a national school. The level of parents’ interest in Catholic education will only be objectively measurable when they have real choice.”

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