Prelate bemoans lack of Catholic intellectuals in Ireland

The Catholic Church in Ireland is “very lacking” in people of intellect who, educated in faith, can address issues of our times, the Archbishop of Dublin says.

The Church needs “competent lay men and women educated in their faith”, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said, according to a report in the Irish Times.

The archbishop referred to a statement by Pope Benedict XVI at the beatification of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman in 2010.

“He said: ‘The service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing ‘subjects of the day’,” the archbishop recalled.

A lack of people capable of doing such tasks today contributes to the Irish church becoming increasingly marginalised in terms of contributing to social and political discussion, Archbishop Martin said.

Such marginalisation is not simply due to “some sort of external exclusion”.

“[I]t is also because the Church in Ireland is very lacking in ‘keen intellects and prolific pens addressing the pressing subjects of the day’,” Archbishop Martin said.

This is “a role especially for competent lay men and women well educated in their faith”.

“The contribution of the Church to the improvement of society will not be attained simply by negative political commentary.

“It will not be attained by morbid and depressive analysis of the woes of the Church.

“It will never be attained by religious media which allow themselves to be reduced to mere blogs of clerical gossip.

“It cannot be attained by creating a neo-clerical Church, focussed just on priests.”

What is needed, Archbishop Martin said, is “a vibrant affirmation of the ‘Joy of the Gospel’”.

Without such an affirmation by lay people, the Church will not produce priestly vocations, he added.


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