Friday, September 09, 2005

The Quotable Diarmuid Martin

If you can’t find love for Diarmuid Martin, you seriously have something wrong with you.

I’ve tracked down an interview he gave yesterday to Irish State Radio on Katrina Relief. (Audio here). You see, unlike a lot of these sweet theo-cons, Diarmuid doesn't run away when a reporter asks for good feed -- a self-confidence and openness that really shows the moral credibility Martin's got and many others lack. (My ilk, by nature, are not easily taken by prelates who like to stamp their feet and scream, "I'm The Bishop!" We know who you are, now show us what you've got... and then they run away.)

The good archbishop is circling the wagons of the Dublin diocese to lend a personal hand to relief efforts
I think this is the one that’s struck so many people in Dublin, that it’s the poorest who’ve been left behind – in every sense of the word. A number of people have rung me asking if we’re going to do another church collection as we’ve done on a number of occasions. But I’ve felt that there’s very little we could contribute on the macro level to emergency relief efforts – in the United States, it’s not a question of money... But I keep thinking of what will happen to these people when they come back, when they come back to very little, and maybe whatever they had has been completely destroyed....

What I would suggest is we get something in motion... where we work to provide a sort of a voucher, something that would be given to the poorest families only when they come back – a voucher designed to see what are the things they most need, or just one of the little things that they might just want for themselves... I think that’s better than just a general church collection...

There’d be no administration costs – I would look after them myself – but in which we could show our solidarity directly with the poorest families.

A collection is a very easy solution....Let’s actually organize [parishes, businesses, etc.] to raise what would be about the value of a voucher – something like $500 which would mean an awful lot. But the basic thing is to take it out of the machinery of the macro aid and ensure that people in Dublin would be able to help a individual, named, known family, just for the period of Christmas, and that they would know that this is a voucher which would be used for the sort of things that people need and maybe that tiny little extra which people would need to get themselves and their families back into shape.
Details to be announced....

And, of course, Stato came up
I just arrived at Lourdes with a Dublin diocesan pilgrimage, and I was stopped on the bridge five minutes ago by three ladies who asked me “Is it true you’re going back to Rome?” And the answer is no. I’m very happy...

I know one thing, I can tell you one thing: I remember asking many years ago of Cardinal Ratzinger how was he told he was being appointed to Rome... and he said “Well, Pope John Paul II asked me in the very first year of his pontificate, and I said ‘No, it would be unfair to take a bishop away from a diocese just after one year.’”

And I think that if that was his position, his way he thought about himself, I think it’s most unlikely he’d ever ask me to do that.
God love Diarmuid Martin.



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