Jean Vanier challenged Catholics to examine what the Church should be like, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said.
Speaking at a celebration of the L’Arche founder’s life at the Riasc Centre in Swords, Co. Dublin, the archbishop of Dublin praised the late humanitarian’s understanding of the Beatitudes as rooted in “a deep and thoughtful insight into the person of Jesus and his teaching and the implications of that teaching for people of faith and for all of society”.
Christian faith involves radically discarding worldly interpretations of life, Dr Martin said, observing that Jean Vanier realised how those who are most rejected and despised by society have the most to teach it, and that the mystery of the Cross could be understood from a personal encounter with the discarded of the world.
“Fundamentally, Jean Vanier’s reflection on the Beatitudes is not just a nice and inspiring spiritual reflection. He is telling us about the Church. He is challenging us to re-examine what the Church should be like,” Dr Martin said, noting that the Church must “radically reject the false world of convention”.
The Church, he continued, must be gentle and avoid aggressiveness even in the way it teaches its orthodoxy.
“The Church must seek unity and understanding and reconciliation in the way it exercises authority. The Church must be free to proclaim the truth of Jesus, a truth founded in love,” he said.
Jean Vanier died in Paris in May, aged 80.