By Sarah Mac Donald - 15 December, 2014
There will always be a tension in the relationship between the Church and society and the message of Jesus has to be lived out within the cultural realities of the world in which we live, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said on Sunday.
Speaking at the Church of Our Lady of the Wayside in Kilternan, which has recently been renovated, the Archbishop warned that faith is never a flight from reality.
“It is not a comfort zone into which we can retreat and ignore the tough and demanding questions of today. Our faith must be twenty-first century faith,” he said.
Because faith is a call to witness, the Archbishop told Kilternan’s parishioners, faith has to be lived in whatever world we live in, yet it never belongs to that world and must enable us discern and break out of what is conventional at any individual moment.
“This is not easy,” he acknowledged and added, “We can easily become victims of the inadequacies and deceptions of the culture in which we live. We can be trapped and fail to see the shallowness of many aspects of life.
He criticised the many who today decry the errors of the recent past in our Irish society and economy yet quickly forget “how much all of us in our own way were part of a culture of empty celebrity in the days of prosperity in Ireland”.
In his homily on Sunday, Archbishop Martin said the message of Jesus is not a message which can leave us comfortable or passive.
“The opposite of prophecy and witness is empty conformity. The opposite of integrity is not just dishonesty but also apathy and resignation and not doing anything.”
The Church’s message must, however, be a message of hope and of rejoicing.
Nonetheless, he recognised that there are many reasons to be anxious about the Church today.
“Numbers attending Mass have gone down, due to a changed vision of life and the decision of many to live their life without any reference to God, as well as through scandals and how they were managed.”
He underlined that refurbishing a church is never just a matter of re-establishing past beauty. “It is about renewal, it is about the future,” he said.