Saint Patrick's Day Reading

An address by Archbishop Martin of Dublin at Mater Dei Institute on "Church State Relations" :

The Church does not have all the answers to the questions of the day: to claim that would be fundamentalism. The Church cannot simply adopt politically correct positions: to claim that would be conformism. The Church must always have the internal freedom to take positions that are culturally unpopular. The message and the measure of the Gospel should challenge every form of conformism. It is important to remember that conformism can be an expression of narrow conservatism but that there is also conformism which thinks that it is truly progressive. We can become entrapped in positions on many sides of the overall cultural spectrum. The Gospel however should always foster free and fresh thinking.Does Ireland have a cohort of Christians capable of bringing that fresh savour of the Gospel to the complex social, economic and political structures of the world in which they live? Where are they getting inspiration and formation? Are our Catholic schools and our programmes of catechetical formation, especially at second level, equipping a future generation of young Catholic Christians to be able to engage their faith in the day to day configuration of the life of society? Is the agenda of many in the Church too Church inward-looking? These are some of the challenges with which your new and important Institute of Ethics in society will hopefully examine in a dialogue between men and women of different backgrounds, believers and others, in the search for a renewed sense of public ethics.The Church must live in such a way that it reflects the radical newness of the Gospel. The Gospel is radically new with respect to every culture. The Church cannot be forced into the measure of any political platform, just as the Church cannot be forced into the measure of every theological position. The Church is not my Church, nor our Church, but the Church of Jesus Christ. Renewal in the Church therefore is renewal in what is essential to the life of the Church. The Church is not just a sociological reality which can be renewed simply by the application of sociological models of consultation and change management.The Church is the community of the baptised, who live as true disciples of Jesus Christ, formed by the word of God and the teaching of Christian tradition, which gathers in prayer and for the Eucharist and which emerges from the celebration of the Eucharist with a characteristic life-style of charity and sharing.

The rest is here.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is the author of Rekindling the Christic Imagination.

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