Economic measures must cater for common needs - ArchbishopMonday, July 9th, 2012
The Archbishop of Dublin has expressed concern over the damage done to the security of the country and the roots of community life by greed and self-interest.
In his homily for a Mass celebrating the 150th anniversary of Saints Mary and Patrick church in Avoca on Saturday, which was attended by President Michael D Higgins, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called for the implementation of economic measures that are built on a sense responsibility for common needs and cares.
Saturday’s Mass is part of a yearlong series of events to mark the anniversary of the dedication of the Co Wicklow church, which Dr Martin described as a, “witness to what community can achieve,” and a remarkable example of how, within and around a church building, community is constructed and spread.
Referring to the historical context in which the church was built in 1862, he noted that it was a remarkable time for the life of Irish society and of the Irish Church. The famine was just fifteen years over and today’s leader of the Church in Dublin said it is hard for us today to imagine the sense of, “trauma and precariousness, and indeed of on-going grief and collective mourning,” that must have remained within communities at that time.
Though times today are very different, the challenge for parish communities now is to take up the, “challenge of community-building, which is more necessary than at many other times in our history.”
Paying tribute to President Higgins’ promotion of community building, and a discussion of the nature of citizenship, Archbishop Martin said being a citizen is not just about voting or organising.
“It is about going beyond the day-to-day of self-interest and of economics and politics, no matter how important they are. There is a spirituality of community. It is based on a different manner of understanding who I am, as an individual and a citizen. It is about moving towards a realisation that the way forward for society is that of reaching out, of service and of working together with a real sense of purpose and hope.”
In pre-famine and in pre-Catholic Emancipation times, the level of religious practice in Ireland was very low. Archbishop Martin noted that it was with emancipation in 1829, and with the reform of the Council of Thurles, that a new renewal began and new churches began to be built.
This was followed by a reform in Church discipline, “not just in terms of norms and laws, but in a new spirit of trying to recall the fundamental mission of the Church and the need for deeper religious education.”
The renewal in the Church at that time was certainly the fruit of the efforts of the leaders of the Church in Ireland, and especially of Cardinal Cullen, who came here personally in 1862 to dedicate this Church, Archbishop Martin told the packed congregation.
But he underlined that the, “real leaven of renewal of the Church at that time was in the renewal of local Church communities, led by dynamic priests, but supported actively by communities with a sense of purpose.”
Acknowledging that the Church today is facing challenging times, he said the Church in Ireland is called to develop its sense of mission and renewal.
“As a Church community today, we as the members of the Christian community, who are nourished Sunday after Sunday here through the Word of God and the Eucharist, must ever seek new ways of being a true leaven of communion with one another, within our Catholic Community, within the family of other Christians and with the broad community of all the citizens of this area.”
By Sarah Mac Donald