Catholic World News

Church should present moral teaching with sensitivity, says Dublin archbishop

February 25, 2015

Speaking on the hopes and challenges facing the Church in Ireland, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin called for a greater sense of community and for sensitivity in presenting Church teaching.

“Where the Church argues from general principles, there is inevitably the feeling on the part of others that it is somehow against the concrete individual men and women who have a different viewpoint,” he said. “This is made more complex if Church leaders – or self-appointed Church spokespersons – use language which is insensitive and over judgmental.”

“The Church has to learn to voice its criticism clearly and without fear, but it must always do so in language which respects her Master, Jesus Christ, who never criticized those with whom he may have disagreed about their morals, except with those who were hypocritical and all too often the hypocrites in Jesus’ judgment – it is clear in the Gospels – were the religious leaders,” he added. “The Church needs to learn the art of criticism from the Gospel itself.”

“I am always struck by the manner in which Pope Francis seems to be able to speak clearly about doctrine, and yet respect and embrace those who cannot find their way to follow that doctrine,” he continued. “His starting point is usually not that of being head of the Catholic Church, but that of being a sinner … The Church has to learn a new way to criticize in such a way as not to alienate, but also the Church must avoid giving the impression that ‘anything goes.’”

 


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  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 25, 2015 6:27 PM ET USA

    I would settle for the Church presenting any type of moral teaching in our parishes. All we hear each Sunday is scripture study, and the issues in the real world are avoided because it seems that any controversy is to be avoided.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Feb. 25, 2015 8:06 AM ET USA

    "Jesus Christ, who never criticized those with whom he may have disagreed about their morals, except...the religious leaders...The Church needs to learn the art of criticism from the Gospel itself." Not only religious leaders. E.g., Christ criticized Martha's preoccupation with the worldly, but Mary chose the better part. He criticized His disciples when they were preventing the children from coming to Him. He criticized with a whip the money changers in the temple. Casting pearls before swine?