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Dublin archbishop calls for solidarity in face of financial crisis

By on Friday, 26 November 2010

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin delivers his homily during Ash Wednesday Mass at University College Dublin (PA Wire)

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin delivers his homily during Ash Wednesday Mass at University College Dublin (PA Wire)

The Archbishop of Dublin has called for solidarity in the face of the country’s financial meltdown.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said the Christian community should be a “model of solidarity” when he was speaking to graduating students at the Mater Dei Institute of Education earlier today. As the country faces the worst financial crisis in its history, the archbishop called on students not just to share “financial resources but also our own talents and abilities and our basic humanity and love”.

He said: “Ireland in its current crisis requires obviously to keep its feet firmly on the ground in addressing the unprecedented challenge we have inherited. We must be lucid about the mistakes of the past and the uncertainties of the path forward. A political climate of anger about the past and anxiety of the future could also lead to a negative politics which is only ‘against’.

“The basis of that national purpose must be solidarity. It will be solidarity among us all in the face of the challenge. Solidarity, however, cannot be dished out across the board in equal-sized portions, as a common percentage of cuts or additional revenue. Solidarity is the art of measuring in proportion to specific needs; it involves that special insight which comes by looking at reality through the lens of focus on the vulnerable.”

Archbishop Martin also alluded to the publication of the Murphy report which investigated the Church’s role in covering up clerical abuse in the Archdiocese of dublin. He said that openly testifying faith was becoming difficult for many people as a result of the abuse scandals.

He said: “Today is the first anniversary of the publication of the Murphy Report, an anniversary which will reawaken the pain and the anger of many survivors of abuse.”

The Vatican’s visitation of Irish seminaries and religious houses of formation started earlier this month.

  • Patrick Mulvey

    At long last a Catholic bishop has spoken about the economic crisis that is engulfing the whole of Europe.

    Of course he is quite right; when nations face calamities such as Ireland's financial catastrophe, bishops should counsel their flock to pull together in the public interest. The lessons of the 1930s show that many false prophets will arise in times of financial depression to spew their odious politics of hate, expropriation and persecution of helpless minorities.

    One point that follows on from his thesis, though, is the importance of debt forgiveness, which Christ stressed in the Gospels. It is not sufficient that his flock should show forbearance, it is necessary that the creditors acknowledge their moral culpability in this squalid drama by forgoing some of their previous ill gotten gains.

    One point, however, is puzzling; why is it only now that the members of the episcopacy are waking up to the moral implications of the depression and its antecedents. Today's tragic events were preceded by years of foolish people enslaving themselves to debts that they struggled to pay off, in order to pursue fatuous dreams of being property magnates This was compounded by dishonest and greedy behaviour by employees of financial institutions, who advanced money to their hapless victims in the knowledge that they would not have to pick up pieces of the ensuing mess along with the dishonest antics of our politicians and financial authorities who, for various discreditable reasons, turned a blind eye to all of these shenanigans.

    All of this behaviour was utterly sinful and was quite conspicuous to all and sundry and yet our bishops, Irish or English, seemed to enjoyed the slumbers of Rip van Winkle whilst all the world and its dog leapt onto the hand cart to Hell.

    Patrick Mulvey

  • Michael.


  • Ratbag

    I agree with everything you say, Patrick. Archbishop Dairmuid Martin, as always, is spot on. His red hat is long overdue…

    When Ireland was awash with money, it behaved like lottery winners on acid; not giving a flying fairy cake for those who dared to warn them of the impending doom to come, lest they would be called 'unpatriotic', 'defeatist' or 'begrudgers'. They voted the current government in several times. Now that things have gone belly up, they are blaming the euro, the banks and the government without a dose of 'mea culpa' for their part in this sorry mess.

    They looked down their noses at the ones who kept Ireland going with billions of pounds from their own meagre earnings over the years – I'm talking about the emigrants who had to leave Ireland in the first place to find work and survive and diligently sent a few quid home by post… even if they could not afford it to keep themselves going in low paid jobs and digs…

    I read a letter in The Irish Times the other week from someone who suggested that if the Irish who live abroad contribute money of their own to help Ireland, the country could stave off the IMF etc. Oh, so the Irish of whatever generation were not good enough or regarded as Irish (plastic paddies is one derogatory name) during the good times are now good enough to be asked to dig deep in their pockets?

    OK, so long as the Irish who want to return home after all these years get first refusal for housing and the benefits they deserve for supporting your sorry butts… personally, I can't see that happening, can you?

    I love Ireland and would defend it to the death as my country…but why defend the indefensible behaviour of those who should know better and as good as abused their position?

    It's perfectly acceptable to aspire to a good quality of life and keep a sensible head on you and your focus on the things that really matter – including your faith. To go overboard and throw God out of the window along with the sense you were born with was bound to end in tears and gnashing of those veneered teeth.

    I never envied my Irish relatives for their obsession with property and money because of the baggage that goes with it. I certainly don't envy them now.

    If things were fine and dandy with the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland then there would be no need for an apostolic visitation. I hope they will take the help that the Holy Father is giving them with good grace and a strong sense of contrition for turning a blind eye to those heinous crimes reported in the Ryan and Murphy reports – and come back stronger, assertive, robust … and become part of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide and not a law unto themselves.