Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vatican embassy closure was a mistake but it's time we moved on, says Martin

ARCHBISHOP of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin said it was time to "move on" from the row over the closure of Ireland's embassy to the Vatican.

After an Ash Wednesday Mass on the campus in University College Dublin, Dr Martin said that while he believed it was a mistake to close the embassy at the Villa Spada in the Holy See, it would reopen in time.

"I think it was a mistake to close it, but let's be realistic, for a moment," he said. "For some period of time you'll have a non- resident ambassador, a very competent person, a very committed person, I don't think the polemic is helping anybody anymore. I think -- move on. I'm not saying it should be forgotten but it becomes the dominant issue, every day there's something about it.''

Dr Martin was asked if he though it was appropriate that disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law attended farewell receptions for the Irish and UK ambassadors in the former embassy , as revealed in the Irish Independent.

He replied that it was probably the case that he would have been invited along with other cardinals.

"If they were saying they were doing things specifically in his honour it would be a different thing, but in diplomacy you work with the people that are there. It's a very complicated business and sometimes you may have to work with people you don't agree with," he added.

Dr Martin told students that it was not easy for young men and women to live in a culture where God was mentioned less and less.

Meanwhile, Bishop Donal McKeown, auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor said last year's Trocaire Lenten collection raised€8.2m, while it is estimated that in the six and a half weeks to Easter, Irish people will spend €800m on alcohol.

"Per head of the population the five million Irish spend more on drink than the Ugandan economy has to spend on everything -- health, education, roads etc. There is something wrong there," he said.

In his Lenten message, Pope Benedict said the season offered us an opportunity to reflect on Christian life.