Faith is not Comfortable – Archbishop Tells Aware Talk in St Patrick’s Cathedral
“Faith is not a comfort zone. Faith should leave you uncomfortable. Faith should leave you challenging yourself.” These were the words of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, who was talking to Irish Times religious and social affairs correspondent, Patsy McGarry, in St Patrick’s Cathedral yesterday evening (Thursday February 16). The event was part of Aware’s Resilience Talks series in association with Veritas.
The Archbishop said his faith encapsulated three things: the dignity of every person as God created them; that God created us as a family and we must give expression to that in the way we live; and that God gave us a home on earth which we must care for. He said faith must bring these three elements together rather than focusing on one or other of them alone.
“Faith is important to me. I have my own simple, inadequate faith. But faith can also become a comfort zone in which people can move away from the realities of life. Faith can damage people. The Church created people who are guilt ridden and scruple ridden and that is not what faith in Jesus Christ is about. Faith should free people,” he commented.
Archbishop Martin said he asked himself about the future of faith citing changes in religious practice and how a faithful future could be established for Ireland which was not like it was in the past. “The biggest challenge to my faith is that I haven’t been able to do something better to bring people back to faith,” he said.
The Archbishop spoke honestly of the times throughout his life when his resilience brought him through. He spoke of the child abuse scandal and his anger that it could happen in the Church of Christ. He said that people often told him that they admired what he had done but he said he didn’t want admiration – anyone who had read what he had read and heard what he had heard couldn’t but do what he did, he stated. However, he said he faced criticism from some within his Church.
He said he drew his resilience from his faith and from his friends. He suggested that it was genetic and that his parents had brought him up to be resilient. He also spoke of his ecumenical friendships with his Church of Ireland counterparts.
Photo caption – Patsy McGarry interviews Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in the Lady Chapel of St Patrick’s Cathedral.