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Irish bishop decries secularism September 29, 2004

In Irish bishop has warned the faithful against "the false and destructive notion that religion is a purely private matter."

Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick issued a pastoral letter, recalling the message that Pope John Paul II brought to Ireland on his visit there 25 years ago. Irish Catholics are currently marking the anniversary of the papal visit with a variety of public events.

Remembering that Pope John Paul had encouraged the Catholics of Limerick to bring the message of the Gospel into public life, Bishop Murray said that Irish society today "is a world in which the Gospel has never been before." The challenge of evangelization is greater now than it was in 1979, he said, and Pope's challenge to the faithful "still needs to be faced."

The Bishop of Limerick said that although Irish society embraces pluralism and tolerance, religious beliefs are restricted from public discourse. He said: "It sometimes seems that religious belief is tolerated provided it does not have any influence on the political stance that people adopt!" At a time when society suffers from many ills-- notably the breakdown of family life-- the world needs the Christian message more than ever, he said.

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