Monday, February 13, 2006

"Diarmuid's Gone All Sensitive!"

On this vigil of Valentine's Day, that was the subject line of an e.mail sent my way from Dublin.

It seems that, last night, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (Cardinale subito) appeared on an Irish television programme on which, so today's Irish Independent reports, he endorsed a "debate" on priestly celibacy, but within limits.

However, it seems Diarmuid wasn't happy with the piece -- so much so that, I'm told, he appeared on Irish state radio this morning to voice his frustrations (I'm trying to find the audio, but can't just yet)....

Even in a snit, however, he can be charming.

Check this lede out, though:

ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin has admitted he once fell in love - and has backed [Killaloe] Bishop Willie Walsh's call for a public debate on priestly celibacy.

But the Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, also made it clear that he opposes gay marriages, and that he does not expect to see the ordination of women to the priesthood.

The Archbishop made his "confession" about his own personal struggle to remain celibate when he was interviewed by Ursula Halligan last night on TV3's 'The Political Party'.

Asked if he had ever been in love, the Inchicore-born archbishop, who was ordained in 1969 when he was only 24 years old, replied: "I would probably say yes."

He said that, since moving from Rome to become archbishop of Dublin, he missed his "friends' children who were like nieces and nephews to me".

On Bishop Willie Walsh's call for a debate on ending Rome's rule of compulsory celibacy for priests, the former Vatican diplomat said: "I'm in favour of a debate."

Pressed if he could see a day when celibacy was an option, he responded: "I don't think we are going in that direction.

"First we have to work on seeing how we can allow the value of celibacy in a broader spiritual context to be understood and appreciated., He admitted that in the Oriental churches and some Anglican and Lutheran churches married men were admitted to the priesthood.

"But the long tradition in the Catholic Church is one of celibacy," he said....

On homosexuality, he revealed that he had many friends who were gay, and he understood that many of them felt marginalised in the church and with its attitude towards same-sex unions.

But he accepted the Catholic Church's teaching that marriage was exclusively between a man and a woman. He did not expect to see women ordained but he wanted women to be given positions of authority in running the Church so that it would not be seen as an "all boys' club".
The good archbishop can take comfort -- he still did better in interview than, er, about 99.2% of his American confreres would.... Then again, if we had more Diarmuids around....