Friday, April 26, 2013

Fordham University Address

Fordham Centre of Religion and Culture, New York, 24th April 2013

“Ireland has changed and Ireland is changing. The other evening I was at a lecture in the Italian Embassy in Dublin about Ireland in renaissance times. I was struck by two quotes chosen by the lecturer. The first was from Pope Pius II, Piccolomini, written in 1458 looking at the situation of Europe at the time. He concluded his three sentences on Ireland writing: “since nothing worth remembering took place there during the period we write about, we hurry on to matters Spanish”. I can tell you, much worth remembering and much that we would prefer not to remember has taken place in the Ireland of recent times.

The second quote was from Petrarch who, in the latter part of the 12th century, noted about Ireland: “in one year you will hardly hear it thunder once. No thunderbolts cause terror here, no lightening ever strikes”. That quote should make anyone who still had lingering doubts recognise that climate change is a reality!
I entered the seminary in Dublin in October 1962 just one week before the opening of Vatican II. The winter of 1962/63 was one of the bleakest winters for decades and our seminary was a very cold place in more ways than one. My memory of the seminary is of a building and a routine, a discipline and a way of life which seemed to have been like that for decades. Even to someone who was not a revolutionary, it all seemed so out of touch with the world from which I had just come, and in which my friends were thriving. But you were not supposed to think that way. Things were to be done as they had always been done. The Catholic Church was unchanging, but that was about to change.

For years now people looked to Ireland as a vibrant and sustainable model for strong economic growth. Countries were told to follow the Irish example. Today the economic situation of Ireland is full of uncertainties, precisely at a moment when confidence and trust are urgently needed. On the other hand, for decades Ireland was looked on as one of the world’s most deeply and stably Catholic countries and today Ireland finds itself along with other parts of Europe being classified as “post-Catholic”.


Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin


Notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin

Archbishop of Dublin