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Archbishop's Rimini address

Irish Times, - Friday, August 27, 2010

Paddy Agnew (“Support for archbishop belies way he has been written off at home”, Home News August 25th) fails to mention that the support for the archbishop comes from the group AGM of Communion and Liberation (CL), with whom the Archbishop has had a long association going back many years. It is akin to saying that a Fianna Fáil minister got great support at a Fianna Fáil ard fheis; hardly surprising.

Mr Agnew then tells us that “church observers” – whoever they are – this week have emphasised that the reinstatement of the two Dublin bishops by the Pope in “no way represents a vote of no confidence in Archbishop Martin”.

Really? Why then did Archbishop Martin not make himself available to the Irish media to say as much and answer legitimate questions arising from the resignations? Instead he chose to mention the resignations as a three-line afterthought in a three- page letter released only to clergy, in August, when evidence suggests that the decision was made by the Vatican months before?

Having announced the resignations on Christmas Eve last, surely the now reinstated bishops deserved an equally public announcement, yet the archbishop went on holidays, not even telling his brother bishops about the Vatican decision. And finally, why did the Vatican not announce the decision with a note of support for Archbishop Martin knowing quite well that the decision would be seen as a rebuke to the archbishop? The numbers for the “church observers” line just don’t stack up.

We are also told by Mr Agnew in his news article “Primate criticises poor quality of debate”, with no hint of irony, that Archbishop Martin speaking to crowds of CL members in Italy, complained about the low bar in Catholic intellectual debate in Ireland.

How can we Catholics have a quality debate when our archbishop, who has dismissed the democratic notion of a diocesan synod, regularly engages in megaphone criticisms of his priests, his own youth ministry, the Catholic press, his fellow bishops; refuses to name alleged “strong forces” at work in the church and leaves the country refusing interviews rather than allow any intelligent questioning of himself or his current policies and strategic direction for the Dublin Diocese.

President McAleese rightly praised Archbishop Martin for his leadership in dealing with child sexual abuse. The church is moving on and so must Archbishop Martin’s style of leadership which seems implacably wedded to the easy soundbite and stubbornly refuses to open itself to legitimate scrutiny, which all others in public life now accept as necessary in a modern society.

Yours, etc,

The Irish Catholic,
Bluebell, Dublin 12.