Dublin archbishop says lapsed Catholics should admit their non-belief

By Benjamin Mann
Dublin, Ireland, Dec 14, 2011 / 06:05 am (CNA).- Non-practicing and non-believing Irish Catholics should be honest about their relation to the Church, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told the makers of a TV documentary that aired Dec. 11.

“It requires maturity on two sides: maturity of those people who want their children to become members of the Church community, and maturity of those people who say, ‘I don’t believe in God, I really shouldn’t be hanging on to the vestiges of faith when I don’t really believe in it,’” he said.

Archbishop Martin’s comments were featured in an episode of “Would You Believe,” RTE Television’s investigative series on religion.

Its Dec. 11 episode looked at the issue of Irish parents who have ceased to practice their faith, but still want their children to receive the Catholic sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.

Filmmaker Mick Peelo’s interviews showed many self-identified Irish Catholics seeking sacramental preparation for their children, while lacking either the intention or the ability to pass on the principles and meaning of the faith.

People interviewed for the show gave various reasons for wanting their children to receive the sacraments, despite their own lack of belief and practical commitment.

One woman described the rites of initiation as a “platform from which (children) can question” in later life. Another noted that a child often “doesn’t want to be left out” when their peers are making their First Communion.

While Archbishop Martin called for honesty among adults no longer committed to the Church’s faith, he also acknowledged that the problem’s roots run deep.

“Irish Catholics are very weak, and that’s the fault of generations of the Church in their understanding of Scriptures,” he said, reflecting on teachings that “taught us things about religion” but “didn’t really deepen our faith.”

He suggested that practices of the past may have inspired anxiety, in place of a personal commitment.

“For many people in Ireland, the God we were practicing and teaching wasn’t necessarily the God of love at all. It was a God who inspired fear, it was a God who was sort of a ‘somebody watching you,’ rather than freeing and empowering you.”

The situation calls not only for honesty, but for a more substantial presentation of Catholicism.

“We have to do a radical new look at the way that religious education takes place,” Archbishop Martin said in his interview with Peelo.

“A religious education is not simply for the schools or for school-age. You can’t be a mature Catholic in today’s world just on the basis on what you learned in primary school or secondary school. But we’re not offering an ongoing formation to people in the way that they needed and wanted.”

The makers of “Would You Believe” spoke with several Irish clergy who acknowledged the inter-generational problems surrounding Catholic identity and commitment.

One of them, Fr. John Hassett, is shown baptizing the child of two parents who appear hesitant toward Catholic practice and belief in several interview segments.

But the priest says he encourages parents to show integrity by living up to the obligations of their choice.

“At every Baptism, I finish the ritual, the couples come up behind the altar, and I say: ‘This is a fake – this is a fraud, this is hypocrisy –  if the next time your child touches this holy space is on the preparation of (first) Holy Communion,” Fr. Hassett explained.

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7 Responses to Dublin archbishop says lapsed Catholics should admit their non-belief

  1. pablo says:

    “…“For many people in Ireland, the God we were practicing and teaching wasn’t necessarily the God of love at all. It was a God who inspired fear, it was a God who was sort of a ‘somebody watching you,’ rather than freeing and empowering you.”…

    Shame upon the Archbishop for spitting on Holy Mother Church in that manner.

    The Magisterium has taught that which Christ Himself taught to His Apostles.

    Parents are not rejecting the teachings of Holy Mother Church; they are rejecting the hooey that Archbishops, Bishops and Priests have been pushing because of the Vatican II hi-jacking.

    Cardinals, Bishops and Priests have lost the Faith, but many of the Faithful are still holding to Tradition.

    Pray for the Holy Father.

    *

    Like

  2. JabbaPapa says:

    I absolutely CANNOT agree with this extremely dangerous teaching !!!

    What ? A Bishop teaching that people should deny Christ on the basis of their false disbelief ?

    Approving honesty is one thing, but approving apostasy is unacceptable !!!

    Shameful !!!

    Like

  3. JabbaPapa says:

    Denying God is the ONE unforgivable sin, and that this priest is teaching that it can be legitimate to do so is a straightforward heresy against the very nature of Christianity itself.

    Like

  4. Jerry says:

    Denying God is the ONE unforgivable sin, and that this priest is teaching that it can be legitimate to do so is a straightforward heresy against the very nature of Christianity itself.

    Jabba and Pablo are welcome to their views, but surely the Bishop is simply stating that people need to be honest about where they stand with respect to the Church and the faith. And all parties can proceed from there. Doubtless you two think he is being advised by Freemasons.

    Like

  5. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    There are many Bishops around the world that should admit the same.

    Like

  6. Jerry says:

    Shame upon the Archbishop for spitting on Holy Mother Church in that manner.
    The Magisterium has taught that which Christ Himself taught to His Apostles.

    He wasn’t talking about the teaching of the Magisterium so much as the pastoral practise of the Church in Ireland. You can insult whomever you please, but isn’t it bad form to accuse a Bishop of “spitting on Holy Mother Church”, merely because you don’t agree with him?

    Like

  7. Toadspittle says:

    .
    Toad rather enjoys “…hanging on to the vestiges of faith when I don’t really believe in it,’”
    What should he do? Quit going to mass? His friend el Cura, Don Santiago would be puzzled and saddened.

    Like

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