What does Archbishop D Martin mean by ‘we don’t need a conformist Church’ that ‘repeats doctrine ad nauseam’?

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].


15 comments to What does Archbishop D Martin mean by ‘we don’t need a conformist Church’ that ‘repeats doctrine ad nauseam’?

  • Wake up England

    Hopeless to concentrate on the “Good News” of The Hope of Salvation if one ignores the extremely “Bad News” of The Fall, which caused Original Sin.

  • same old, same old

    Archbishop Martin did not say we don’t need a conformist Church that repeats doctrine ad nauseam. Please refrain from putting quotation marks around words that have not been said.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      That’s exactly how I read what he said. Deacon Nick

      • Same old, same old

        I read it as saying that we don’t need a church that only repeats doctrine ad nauseam and does nothing more. If you want one that does then just say so.

        • Nicolas Bellord

          Nobody is suggesting that we need a church that only repeats doctrine ad nauseam and does nothing more. In fact the Church does plenty more – do we need to spell it out?

          For me the essence of religion boils down to Christ’s promise: “If thou hast a mind to enter into [eternal] life, keep the commandments”. This means all the commandments! We start with the ten commandments and then the Church teaches us how these are to be interpreted. Archbishop Martin is saying that proclaiming the doctrine is not enough but we must act on it and our example will convince others. However his cack-handed way of saying this suggests that proclaiming the doctrine “ad nauseam” is not what is wanted or that we do not have to “conform” to that doctrine; further that there are new ways. All of this suggests that proclaiming doctrine is unimportant. The problem to-day is that many have abandoned even the ten commandments and that received ideas as to doctrine and the natural law are no longer accepted. We therefore have to oppose these trends by setting out what the teachings are and to explain with clarity the moral laws. The message is simple “Worship God and follow his commandments and you will have eternal life”. It is the confusion and muddle of the Archbishop’s statement that give rise to the idea that doctrine and teaching the moral life are somehow irrelevant and subject to some unspecified new ideas.

  • catholicblogger

    “And when was the last time the Irish bishops denounced moral teaching, or moral behaviour, at all, let alone with ‘clinical clarity’.”

    I would hope and pray that the Irish bishops NEVER denounce moral teaching or moral behaviour.

  • tro

    Clearly, ++Martin is right in sync with the Bishop of Rome: he’s got the memo, all right.

  • Lynda

    All the faithful Catholics of Ireland are trying to suffer these bad bishops with grace, while praying for them to convert and stop leading people away from the Faith and morality, some are even doing acts of reparation. It is a most pitiable trial.

  • Celia

    ‘Woundedness’. I remember that from my Church of England days, along with ‘brokenness’. Call it anything but sin. I’d rather hoped I’d never hear either of them again.

  • William

    What we don’t need is 90 percent of bishops in the Church turning a blind eye to priests who rape and abuse children. I don’t think Doctrine an Dogma are a problem but letting evil, immorality and heresy to run rampant in the Clergy decade after decade is THE problem. Instead of worrying about Those of us who appreciate beauty and tradition, why doesn’t the bishop, as a very minimal requirement for the clergy demand they treat everyone kindly and stop being lazy and stop living a double life and stop promoting heresy. I think that would be a good start. And I would suggest to the Bishop of Rome that wearing a Mozzetta doesn’t allianate people but accusing Catholics who love Tradition as not believing in the Ressurection probably will. The bishop of Rome apparently is ready to roll out the red carpet for homosexuals and people living in sin, but if you like Latin and Gregorian Chant then we are ridiculed and dismissed. Something is terribly wrong in the Church. Just the fact that the bishop of Rome has stated that their is no problem in the Church, things have never been better is bordering on insanity.

  • Benedict Carter

    What do you expect???

    Nu-Church in action. It’s not Catholicism, is it?

    Start joining up the dots.

  • Lionel (Paris)

    Sorry Monseigneur,
    Indeed, we all need “a conformist Church that repeats doctrine”; this is so called TRADITION and there is no Church without TRADITION (Please, read Saint Paul on this topic!)…

  • Nicolas Bellord

    His words are just confusion and muddle inducing confusion and muddle in the minds of others leading to loss of faith.

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