Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Brady: Listening is key to fighting suicide epidemic

THE country’s most senior Catholic cleric has urged society to listen to its young people in an effort to tackle the tragedy of suicide.

Cardinal Sean Brady said young people were faced with great difficulties in finding a job and forming a family and one of the greatest challenges was to communicate to them an appreciation for life and its positive values.

"The ability to listen is necessary in many areas of life but this is one which it is extremely urgent. Suicide is now the biggest killer of young men in Ireland, but not only young men," he said in his homily for New Year’s Day.

"It is vitally important therefore that society, as a whole, takes on board its responsibility in this matter and give careful consideration to the challenge of listening appropriately to the concerns of young people."

The current difficulties at home and abroad also featured in Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s New Year’s homily in which he acknowledged that society entered 2012 "with many doubts and anxieties".

He said the past year had shaken administrations and economies and the repercussions were keenly felt by ordinary people. But he said faith would help overcome fears, stressing: "As believers we also enter into this New Year with a spirit of indomitable hope and with renewed commitment to work together to build up what is good."

Archbishop Martin acknowledged there was a need for greater dialogue about faith and its role in society. He said while there had been a radical change in how society set its values, the contribution of the Christian faith and Catholic Church should not be downplayed.

"There have been dark moments in the history of the Catholic Church which have been unveiled in recent years. Church leaders have over the years overstepped the boundaries of their legitimate mandate.

"Yet the contribution of individual believers and of the Church as an institution to Ireland’s development and social culture has overall been positive," he said, urging a "mature dialogue" free from cynicism.

"Certainly criticism or even rejection of the Catholic Church and what it represents is legitimate. But criticism is different from negative and cynical caricature of faith or spin."

Archbishop Martin and Cardinal Brady welcomed 2012 as the year when the International Eucharistic Congress will come to Ireland and the hope it will boost Catholic faith here.

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