Irish prelate slams critics who called family synod confusing

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has decried critics who have charged that the recent synod on the family caused confusion for Catholics.

Archbishop Martin said he was “quite surprised at the remarks of some commentators within church circles about the recent synod of bishops, often making accusations of confusion where such confusion did not exist and so actually fomenting confusion”.

He did not identify specific comments along these lines.

But Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who did not attend the gathering, did broach the topic just after the synod.

“I was very disturbed by what happened” at the synod, Archbishop Chaput said.

“I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion.”

A mid-point report from the synod pressed for a more welcoming approach by the Church to divorced people and homosexual persons.

The final report toned down the language used.

Archbishop Martin said he believed that “a longing for certainties may spring from personal uncertainty rather than strong faith”.

“A strong – and indeed orthodox faith – is never afraid of discussion,” he said.

“They [critics] fail to see how Pope Francis shows that his concern for people who suffer is far from being a sign of dogmatic relativism, but rather is a sign of pastoral patience,” Archbishop Martin said.

The archbishop also said that “a church which becomes a comfort zone for the like-minded ceases to be truly the Church of Jesus Christ”.

Archbishop Martin said this while preaching at a Mass marking the refurbishment of a church at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

The archbishop attended the synod and spoke of the need for new language with which to communicate with married couples, according to excerpts of his remarks published by the Irish bishops’ conference.

Many people “would hardly recognise their own experience in the way we present the ideals of married life”, he told the synod.

“Indeed many in genuine humility would probably feel that they are living a life which is distant from the ideal of marriage as presented by Church teaching,” he said.


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