Addressing the opening session of the 29th MacGill Summer School and Arts Week in Glenties, Co Donegal last Sunday night, he said: “A State which simply delegated a wide part of its social responsibilities to a church had gotten it wrong. A State which takes over the entire package is on equally dodgy ground.”
The archbishop was speaking on the theme “The Irish Economy – What Went Wrong? How Will We Fix It?”.
He said: “I believe that for too long now in Irish politics we have lived in a ‘fix it’ mode and that perhaps the day has come for one of those occasional quantitative and qualitative leaps which have also characterised the history of Irish politics.”
Calling for politics to be changed rather than merely fixed, he said “part of any qualitative change must involve the relationship between church and State, between church and politics in a changing Ireland”.
Delivering the annual John Hume Lecture, he said that, when he spoke of the changing role of the church, “I would not want to give the impression that it is all about being more compliant and more tolerant towards today’s thought processes”.
“I am not giving, as some would claim, a sort of blessing to a more secular Ireland and nowhere more than in Ireland does secularism paradoxically like to be blessed.
“Nor am I favouring the more radical response of those who would tell me: thanks for coming, now you can go off back to Drumcondra, back to your sacristies, back to your historical past and keep your historical hangovers out of our lives.
“The Church in Ireland has to move away from any temptation to maintain an attitude of dominance. But no one wants a church which would just give a moral veneer to the ways of society,” he said.
“Certainly a situation in which a church took over day-to-day responsibility for the running of most of the school system and of our hospitals was – and still is – an anomaly.
“But the answer, I believe, is not simply handing everything over to State bureaucracies whose efficiency has certainly yet to be proven, and in some cases efficiency may not even be the word to apply.”
He said the economic crisis posed a “real challenge” to Government institutions.
“Many organs of Government and financial regulation, national and international, watched by heedlessly as the evident signs of ‘heedless self-interest’ flourished and grew. And indeed, the organs of civil society and intermediate groups – including many aspects of the media – joined in the heedless euphoria of recent years.”
No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to us or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.
The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.