Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More from Eire

For those intrigued enough to see the whole text of Diarmuid Dublin's address -- as opposed to the ideologically slanted, taken out of context demonization -- you can find it here.

Some noteworthy snippets Martin's critics are too imbalanced to include:

My task as a bishop is to preach and witness to the word of God and to preside over a Church community which will lead people and communities to live a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ; a relationship that stimulates hope, meaning, identity and freedom.

In ordinary language, having faith in a person is about trust. Faith is something that goes beyond seeing or knowing. There is a deeply personal dimension to the concept of faith, as opposed to seeing or knowing. Faith requires personal trust and is impossible without that love which recognizes the fidelity and the trustworthiness of the other in whom I place my trust.

Faith is different from seeing or knowing. If what I see turns out to be an illusion, I may be disappointed. My knowledge may be wrong but I can set out to find correctives. But when someone I trust fails me, there is a deep personal feeling of having been betrayed, deceived and misused by someone to whom I had offered something that is deepest in any human relationship....

There are, moreover, forms of new religious experience today which seem to provide security, but what they really offer is only flight from insecurity. They seem to leave people secure because they help people evade reality in its fullness and to avoid especially the risk which is an essential dimension of faith. Faith in God must be mediated within the realities of the world in which we live. Christian faith, as faith in Jesus Christ, is incarnation and not flight.

I have gone to some lengths to describe what Christian faith is like. It is far from just a vague "cultural Christianity, whether this is "cultural Catholicism" or "cultural Anglicanism," terms which at times seem to reflect a brand, a corporate culture or even a tribe, rather than what is essential in faith.

Even more so, faith is not just a vague "cultural spirituality." Spirituality, despite the seemingly obvious meaning of the word, may in fact be entirely material, with no true openness to the transcendent.

I remember at the U.N. conferences of the 1990's we would have debates on the appropriateness of U.N. documents containing references to "spirituality" and spiritual values. In general, the pluralist European countries were not enthusiastic, as they feared that this might imply some positive reference to religion (which would be a secularist mortal sin).

On the other hand, the Russia of the early Gorbachev administration was appealing for spirituality and even the Chinese supported the requests of the Holy See conceding that their system admitted spirituality: "Chinese socialist spirituality," the ambassador hastily added....

I would be very surprised if in the year 2030 Ireland was a totally pagan land, if there was not residual presence in Irish society of the values of Christianity and that that presence was not the major inspiration for the ethos of the country, even though it would be a question of generalized adherence to such an ethos with a generous range of interpretation and tolerance regarding what that ethos actually implies.

My primary interest, however, is in seeing that as many Irish men and women as possible in 2030 will be allowing themselves to be daily "surprised by the Gospel" and will be attempting to make that leap of faith and then shaping their lives coherently according to consequences of their belief.

Whether that happens or not will be determined by the style and the pastoral structures of the Church today. I believe, for example, that many in our society fail to make the leap to faith, because we, as Church, as an institution and as a community of believers, have never made that leap to the full.

We have never fully abandoned ourselves to the God who can make us free, but still cling on to the things we falsely feel can bring us security. Faith is always a leap in the dark, but in the confidence that Jesus has not left us orphans. We will never be able to lead others into the depths of faith and the joy of our hope if we remain entrapped in the limitedness of our current world vision....

"Entrapped in the limitedness of our current world vision...." Hope vs. cowardice... Now that message sounds eerily familiar....



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