Improved catechesis is needed to create strong, articulate laity

Dear Editor, I rejoice with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin that “things are improving within the Church” (IC 30/07/2015), but I haven’t the benefit of his statistics. I agree the Church needs a “new generation of strong and articulate lay men and women”, if less certain where this will come from, and what initiatives will bring it about.

Religious illiteracy grips almost any Catholic I know under 50 and this is well on the way to taking hold of a second generation. A clerical friend told me the grammar and vocabulary of Catholicism has been lost among the young and middle aged. We both come from this generation.

For a strong and articulate generation to emerge, improved catechesis at first and second level is needed, with enhanced third level evangelisation and a programme of adult faith formation directed at young and middle aged adults. Experience abroad shows the latter delivers a significant return.

Done effectively, there is little danger of inward looking Catholicism emerging, whether traditionalist or liberal.

Conformist Catholicism is unlikely at present. If the archbishop is right in suggesting the recent same-sex marriage referendum was a reality check for Catholics (and I believe he was, but not as some interpreted it), we can infer modern Irish conformism is secular and many Catholics, including priests and religious, seem happy to drift along. It is to counter this secular orthodoxy that strong and articulate Catholics are needed and they will be anything but conformist.

Yours etc.,

Peadar Laighléis,


Co. Meath.