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‘Real challenge today is not atheism but idolatry’

By Sarah Mac Donald - 31 May, 2016

Archbishop Michael Neary

Archbishop Michael Neary

The real challenge to today’s culture is not atheism but idolatry – the worship of false Gods such as money or a selfish and self-centred life-style of pleasure, Archbishop Michael Neary has warned.

In his homily for Corpus Christi, where he led the annual procession, Dr Neary said the Church today is frequently dismissed and disregarded as it is no longer the dominant intellectual influence in society, and can no longer count on cultural or political support.

Warning about the challenge presented by false gods, the Archbishop of Tuam said, “Not surprisingly in this situation greed overcomes gratitude while selfishness frequently displaces compassion.”

He stressed that today there is a huge temptation to assimilate, to accept and conform to the dominant values which are at variance so often with the Christian faith.

“In this situation it is so easy to pick and choose between different aspects of our Christian faith, to acknowledge publicly what may be popular at a given time but to discard what is no longer regarded as ‘cool’ in our culture.”

The Archbishop said that as people move further along this road, they find themselves confining their faith and Christian values to the private sphere as a matter of private personal beliefs which do not impinge on our public behaviour or attitudes.

“In this we live a kind of double standard, having a private faith but not allowing that faith to be expressed publicly,” he challenged.

“If we attempt to separate faith from life then we do an injustice to both. Faith and life impinge on each other, influence each other, challenge each other.”

Dr Neary said the Corpus Christi procession ought to be both a reminder and a challenge to the faithful that Jesus Christ can never be confined to a tabernacle or a Church building.

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