Church must reach out to alienated members – Primate

Catholics will continue to ‘witness strongly’

Archbishop Eamon Martin has said the Church will continue to “witness strongly” in modern Ireland but must find a way to reach out to Catholics who feel alienated from some of the Church’s controversial teachings.

The archbishop also said he sees “green shoots” of recovery in the Church particularly amongst “young people who are committed to their faith and want to share it with others”.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic, the Primate of All-Ireland encouraged Catholics to be “courageous” in expressing their views.

“It’s about trying to marry the wonderful teaching of the Church with the many pastoral challenges we are facing.

“I am aware that people are trying to live the difficulties and challenges of the Christian way of life in the modern world. The only way to do that is with a heart full of the mercy of God. In this way we are able to accompany people and encourage them to have a personal relationship while at the same time be called to conversion and called to change in their lives,” the Primate of All-Ireland said.


Referring to the result of the referendum on same-sex marriage, Dr Martin said “we have to remain courageous with our message”.

“More people than we think do support the Church’s understanding of marriage. We have to be strong.”

Despite the referendum result, he said “the task of witnessing to the family still remains”.

“In fact, perhaps now it’s more important than ever that we continue to witness strongly, confidently and in a committed manner to what is such a core teaching for society,” the archbishop said.

Archbishop Eamon said that one of the lessons of the referendum was that the Church must find a way and a language to express Church teaching in a way that is not alienating. “Sometimes language can be offensive to people, and we need to be aware of this.

“We [the bishops] have appealed for people not to use language that is offensive”. He said that the problem was magnified by the fact that the Church often uses language that makes sense in a theological or philosophical context, but not in the context of public discourse.

Archbishop Eamon will represent Ireland at October’s Synod of Bishops in Rome along with Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at which controversial topics like homosexuality and communion for divorced and remarried Catholics will be discussed.