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Dublin: -1°C Sunday 24 January 2021

Archbishop says Church can contribute to ‘younger generation’ of politics

Dublin’s Archbishop Martin adds that the Celtic Tiger fooled us into thinking ‘we had attained something more sophisticated’.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

THE ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN has said that the Catholic Church has something to offer the country’s younger generation of politicians – but has criticised how Ireland allowed itself to be caught up in the Celtic Tiger.

Speaking in DCU this afternoon, Martin said Ireland had “begun to think that we had attained something more sophisticated than was really there” during the economic boom years.

“There is a sense in which we felt in someway that we were on the road to a Celtic paradise on earth… [but] paradise can never be achieved in this world,” Martin said, during a speech on the relationship between church and state to DCU’s Institute of Ethics.

The Archbishop also welcomed the announcement by new education minister Ruairí Quinn of a new national forum on the patronage of primary schools – but warned that simply transferring schools immediately into state ownership would not be a fix-all solution to the system’s current problems.

Though the Church obviously bore its responsibility for the problems of clerical sexual abuse, Martin said it was “equally easy to indicate how the State failed both in its role of monitoring what was happening in those institutions but also about the quality of the institutions [...] in general it would be wrong to think that simply moving responsibility from parents to the State would provide a more effective answer.”

The Archbishop also noted that “the group which bears the fundamental constitutional responsibility for educational choice – parents – is the least organised” on a national scale, and was thus the most difficult group to interact with.

This may, however, have been attributable to the previous model of outright Church control, the Archbishop acknowledged.

Elsewhere, Martin acknowledged that the Church could take a totally active role in the political life of the state, saying that if the Church was to adapt to “the culture of the times” it would face the danger of not being able to confront it.

The Church risked being only to “speak the language of the culture of the day” without being able to shape it – leading to an organisation that was ”politically correct, but without the cutting edge of the Gospel.”

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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