Friday, April 18, 2014

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is at it Again

Now he is complaining about the Apostolic Visitation that the Vatican sent a few years ago to try to contain the chaos of the Irish church.

Because the Irish episocopate had been working wonders on its own, no doubt.

I should be careful what I say about Archbishop Martin since he doesn't like bloggers, complaining as he did about "the growing and worrying phenomenon of blogs, which are not just partial and sectarian but at times very far away from the charity with which the truth should be expressed."

Obviously, there is a sense in which being 'partial and sectarian' is a bad thing, if it means being shrill and narrow-minded and uncharitable.

But, judging by Archbishop Martin's media pronouncements, he seems to take being 'partial and sectarian' to mean ever speaking up on behalf of the Church or its message.

It seems that the Archbishop can't open his mouth to reporters without attacking his own Church, spreading gloom and despond, or otherwise basking in negativity.

If he's not jumping on the 'homophobia' bandwagon, he's complaining about traditionally-minded seminarians, or attacking traditional Irish Catholicism for its supposed "conformism [which] was covering an emptiness and a faith built on a faulty structure to which people no longer really ascribed."

I am not the first person to point out that His Grace continually seems to forget that he himself is in a position of high authority in the Church that he never fails to lambast. What has he done about any of this? Why did the Vatican have to send in a clean-up mission in the first place? Why has the Irish church been in free-fall for decades now? Why does he give himself the luxury of casting asperions on a generation of Irish Catholics who built churches all over Ireland, sent missionaries all over the world, and made this country a byword for Catholic zeal? Why were the bishops of Ireland so tardy and half-hearted in speaking out against the 'Protection of Human Life' Bill, which has made abortion legal in this country?

Self-criticism and self-examination are surely a good thing. But isn't there a point at which the process has to stop and you have to look outward, to make a stand for what you believe in? When is the Archbishop going to stop talking about what the Church has to learn and start talking about what the Church has to teach?


  1. Well said, Maolsheachlann! You have expressed my reaction to the Archbishop's latest statement - and many of his previous public offerings. I simply cannot understand where he is coming from. You are absolutely right. The Church in Ireland has been in free-fall for decades. Catachetics has been ignored/dumbed down for so long that the vast majority of "practising Catholics" don't know what the Church teaches on a range of topics, let alone the intellectual foundation for these teachings. Equally, so many priests seem to have lost the will to speak up on anything remotely difficult and the standard sermon seems to convey the message: 'God accepts you as you are; there is no need to change". What has the Archbishop said or done about any of this appalling mess?

  2. Obviously I don't know what he is doing behind the scenes but it really seems like he has done little to address it. And hard to believe the Church in Ireland was poised with a plan of reform and the Apostolic Visitation came just at the wrong time. It feels like the Irish Church has been bereft of real leadership for a long time. People love to attack John Charles McQuaid but I really think we could do with some bishops rather more like him and rather less like what we've had recently. I don't care whether the Archbishop cooks for himself or whether someone else cooks for him, or about the size of his apartment. I want him to proclaim the Gospel and to stand up for Catholic teaching.

    But I think it's the 'hurler on the ditch' tone of his pronouncements that is most frustrating-- he's not a pundit-- he's the Archbishop!

  3. Agree totally with your comments, Maolsheachlann. I think he is an absolute disaster for the Church in Ireland. His main preoccupation seems to be attacking faithful Catholics for the benefit of the Irish Times/RTE. As you so rightly say, when is he going to step up to the mark & take some blame for the state of the Church in his diocese. Can Charles Brown not gently ( or not so gently ) push him aside. It would take a very brave man to discern his vocation in the Dublin diocese under the present regime ; his aim seems to be to demoralise his flock.

  4. Thanks for that, Los Leandros. I don't usually like criticizing the Hierarchy but I think Archbishop Martin really has to be called out. And I don't think it's just the media misreporting him because I've heard three of his homilies in person and I can easily believe, based upon those, that he is not being treated unfairly in reports. And besides, his reported words themselves are objectionable.

    I really wonder what he thinks he is achieving with all the doom-mongering. We already know how bad things are.

  5. The Archbishop confuses me. He seems like a subtler version of an ACP member. There was the odd thing here or there he said in the past that made me think he wasn't too bad, but mostly it seems he's your typical self-interested priest.

  6. I was with you until the last four words!!! Do you think most priests are self-interested? Or do you mean he seems like a typical member of a sub-genre, the self-interested priest?

    I think most priests are pretty good. I don't think highly of the Archbishop's pronouncements though.

  7. Oh no, I wasn't suggesting most priests were self-interested. I meant he seems like a specific type of priest, who is self-interested because they want to cover their own backs rather than defend their Faith.

  8. I do think our bishops in general and Archbishop Martin in particular should be a lot more outspoken.