Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Quotable Archbishop Martin

It went without notice, but CWNews linked yesterday to a Sunday Business Post profile on the archbishop of Dublin, the incomparable Diarmuid Martin.

Martin -- a Friend of Bono who critics have tarred as a pagan and a heresiarch, among other ridiculous things, for denouncing the movement which views faith as "a negative, exacting rule book" -- had some fascinating things to say on a variety of topics of salience in modern Irish society. And, surprise, surprise, as a former vice-rector of the Teutonic College in Rome, he's closer to Ratzi than some of his enemies might want to believe.

Some snippets from the interview:
“In order to live out their married life, couples have to have a society that supports them.That means a national fiscal policy which supports families - for example, allowing women to reconcile their family and their work or career, to stay at home if they want. I hear lots of women who say that greater flexibility would be a helptothem.” The quality of liturgy in Catholic churches also concerns the archbishop. He has established a liturgical resource service to help parishes to provide liturgical training.

“I'd like, for example, to see a lot more effort put into the quality of church music,” said Martin. “Having lived in Italy and in a Germanic culture [he was vicerector of the Teutonic College in Rome], I am used to robust and quality music and I am disappointed by much of what I see here.We will also have to find ways in which the quality of preaching improves....
Coming from a diocese where all parochial schoolkids, regardless of faith, must take the religion classes, this bit fascinates me:
“In a survey of deaneries in the north of Dublin, we had children from 104 different countries and 20 different religions - in one case up to 45 per cent international children in a school,” said Martin.

“If the children are not Catholics, they have every right not to be taught the Catholic faith. Nobody would force them to take part in any religious instruction.

“I am beginning dialogue with the Islamic communities to see how we can best address our living together in a way that is respectful of each community.

“I don't want something to happen in a school which creates a tension at a moment when religious differences are sensitive.

“For example, I would have no difficulty with the wearing of the Muslim headscarf in a Catholic school - as I have no difficulty with nuns wearing a veil or priests wearing a religious habit.

“The leadership of the Islamic community in Ireland is very responsible and we can build up relations so that any tendency towards intolerance or a type of fundamentalism on either side will be reduced.”
That's textbook strategy for how to be constructive, as opposed to being Taliban Catholic and declaring Cultural War.

On sex abuse -- the issue which got Martin appointed to Dublin because no one else could be trusted to clean up the mess made by clerics who screamed "Magisterium!" but meant "Clericalism!" -- Diarmuid's given his American counterparts a solid example, even focusing on the question of oversight of the laicized, which has become a third-rail in the American discussion:

“So far, two priests have been laicised by formal process, one directly by the Holy See. Most of the other convicted ones are in the process of laicisation. “The guiding principle is: what is the solution which will best guarantee the protection of children?

“In some cases, the best solution is that the person lives as a retired priest in a protected environment. If a person remains under my jurisdiction, at least he can be controlled.” Martin is not responsible for members of religious orders in the archdiocese, but the heads of the orders notify him about any complaints against their members.

The archbishop has appointed a person to go through the personal file of every priest who has ministered in Dublin since 1972 to try and find anything that went unnoticed in the past.

“Out of more than 1,000 files, he has found perhaps 20 cases - maybe a little more - where he has had to refer them to me,” said the archbishop. “When this exercise is finished - and it's coming to a close now - I want the entire community to be able to say that Dublin diocese has addressed problems relating to accusations and management, and has a policy which is forward-looking.” The cost of sex abuse settlements to date is €4.07 million. “There are also legal costs of €1.42 million,which is extremely high, but in many cases,we are paying for both sides,” said Martin. “It's very,very hard to forecast the final cost, but it could be €10 million.” The diocese has also spent more than a million euro setting up a child protection service.
Good stuff in Dublin. We could use Diarmuid clones out this way. Lots to chew on for the combox.



Blogger Papabile said...


to a certain extend, I agree, however, our legal system would vnever allow this.

The disincentive to sue isvery high over there, so it would allow some creative processes that would never survive the legal environment of the US.

For instance, if a Bishop were to laicize and then allow the Priest to live as a retired priest, this would allow a whole different avenue of attack for lawyers.

I don't think there's a chance in hell the the 'Irish solution' would work here.

9/8/05 15:18  

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