Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, has given an address to the Irish Catholic media at the Faith of our Fathers conference in Kilkenny on Friday, September 13. This is his first major address since Enda Kenny’s legalisation of abortion, and indicates the approach he will take to safeguarding the truth of the Church doctrine’s on the sanctity of life and preserving the communion of the Church.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said:
‘We can repeat doctrine ad nauseam. We can denounce moral teaching with clinical clarity. But all of that will be worthless and the Church’s teaching will appear to others like any other ideology, if we do not reflect in our lives – personal and institutional – the loving embrace of the God revealed in Jesus Christ. We have to live the Good News of Jesus Christ; we have to be seen to witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ; we have to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.’
[Protect the Pope comment: The problem with Archbishop Martin's analysis is that for the past 50 years catechesis in Ireland has been so impoverished by the experiential approach that the doctrines of the Church have not been taught, let alone repeated ad nauseam. And when was the last time the Irish bishops denounced immoral teaching, or immoral behaviour, at all, let alone with 'clinical clarity'. For 50 years we've had an emphasis on the 'loving embrace of God' and a downplaying of the Truth of the Gospel expressed in the doctrines and dogmas of the Church. The Good News of Jesus Christ also communicated the tough love of exposing human sinfulness, in order to liberate us from the slavery of sinful habits, thoughts and behaviour. The loving embrace of God was definitively expressed through the crucifixion of Christ. Doctrine is reduced to ideology detached from reality when the Church fails to witness to the serious consequences of rejecting the truth revealed by Our Lord Jesus Christ. The sacrilege committed by pro-abortion Catholic politicians renders the bishops pronouncements on the Gospel of Life just empty words that have no consequences].
‘We do not need a conformist Church. We need a Church of mature and authentic common commitment and concern for the spreading of the Gospel. That Gospel is perennially new and must always be presented in ways that are new, but we are not called to reinvent the fundamentals of faith. The Gospel is Good News and must always be presented with the enthusiasm which is the inevitable characteristic of those who believe that they are the bearers of good news. The Gospel of Jesus is never alien to the world of any time. What is important is that we understand the real Gospel and never allow ourselves to impose on ourselves or others aspects and rules which really have nothing to do with the Gospel. The Gospel must free from that self-centredness which paradoxically impedes us from being fully ourselves.’
[Protect the Pope comment: Archbishop Martin says we don't need a conformist Church, as if 'conformity' is a bad thing. St Paul in Romans 6:5-10 says the whole point of the life of the Christian is conformity with Christ. The Father predestined that we will be conformed to the image of His Son. Romans 8:29. For Catholics this means conforming our lives to the doctrines and discipline of the Church, which safeguards an authentic conformity to Our Lord Jesus Christ. What does Archbishop Martin mean when he says that we should ' never allow ourselves to impose on ourselves or others aspects and rules which really have nothing to do with the Gospel?' Which 'aspects and rules' of the Church's doctrine does Archbishop Martin think we should not impose on ourselves and others? This is a shocking thing for an archbishop to say!]
Archbishop Martin presents a version of Pope Francis vision of the Church in contrast to a conformist Church that repeats doctrine ad nauseam:
‘Pope Francis’ vision of the Church challenges all of us but in a particular way it challenges those who are involved in the media and particular in what we call Catholic media. Pope Francis says bluntly that a Church, which is not marked by Christian charity, has ceased to be the Church. Christian charity is not about short-term emotion. It is about being close to people and carrying them in their woundedness. Pope Francis has an amazing ability to find simple words to pose fundamental questions about the life of the Christian and of the Church. He challenges us to become “the tender embrace of the Church” for all who are marginalized and on the fringes and on the frontiers of the society in which we live. He does not simply say, as a theological statement, that the Church is the tender embrace of Christ’s love. He challenges us to become that tender embrace.’
[Protect the Pope comment: What does Archbishop Martin mean when he says Christian charity is about 'being close to people and carrying them in their woundedness'? In the Gospel Jesus doesn't once talk about 'carrying people in their woundedness', he does talk about 'binding' people's physical wounds in the parable of the Good Samaritan. But Jesus does talk about people's sinfulness, and the need for repentance for sins. Jesus didn't carry people in their sinfulness, He challenged them to repent and leave their sins behind them through the grace of conversion. Archbishop Martin idea of 'carrying people in their woundedness' infantalises and disempowers people. Jesus' call to repentance and conversion is truly empowering and liberating, because through rejecting sin we are able to be conformed to the life of Christ not bleeding to death through the mortal wounds of sin].