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Church cannot be renewed through spin or PR - Archbishop

Only 30 per cent of Dublin’s Catholics are still practising, says Diarmuid Martin.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

DURING A SPECIAL homily today, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin discussed the urgent need for renewal of the Catholic church in Ireland but warned there will be no quick fix.

Although he told the congregation at the Church of St Brigid in Blanchardstown that renewal is possible, he said it will not be attained through the spin or public relations gestures used “so much in the politics and economics of our times”.

The senior official said the Church can serve as witness to authenticity, integrity and true faith in the midst of a world where corruption and self-centred greed find a place.

He noted one of the biggest difficulties facing the Catholic church today is engaging with those who have “drifted away”. Commenting on a recent bishops’ conference, he said, “It was very striking to see how the Church communities from different parts of the world are experiencing the same challenges that we are facing in the Church here in Ireland.

That of reading out to many who were baptised and initiated into the faith but who have gradually drifted away from practice and whose knowledge of the faith and of who Jesus Christ is no longer strong.

Despite 84 per cent of the population ticking the ‘Catholic’ box in the 2011 census, Martin said only about 30 per cent of the Catholic population in his diocese “practises on anything like a a regular basis”.

“The new Evangelisation is the challenge that we all have to reach out to that 54 per cent of the population who still feel that in some way they wish to be part of the Catholic community, but that Catholic community has become for them marginal to the way they live and to the world in which they live,” he continued.

The Archbishop was speaking on the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Church of St Brigid in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

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