2014-10-21 17:34:00

AB. Martin: Church must go out and talk to young people

(Vatican Radio) How can bishops better mobilise resources in their parishes and dioceses to bring the Church’s message on family life to young people today? That’s the question on the mind of all the participants in the Synod of Bishops on the Family, as they return home to the challenging task of implementing results of their two week encounter here in the Vatican.  A concluding message to families and final a Synod document were published on Saturday to serve as a road map for discussion and practical action in local Churches, ahead of a second Synod on the Family in October 2015.

Among the Synod Fathers was Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin who spoke to Philippa Hitchen about the message of the Synod and about the difficult task of engaging with young people in his native Ireland…..


"The message is simply a way of entering into dialogue between bishops and families around the world. The teaching of the Church is a very high ideal and not everybody attains that – in fact very few do – so it’s important that the Synod also recognises the existential difficulties, the experience and faith difficulties and gives a word of encouragement.

I think any healthy discussion will have polarities and internal dynamics  - that was the same at the Second Vatican Council. In the long terms there is a fundamental agreement on many things. Particularly we have a long way to go in helping couples and young people especially to understand Church teaching. You can carry out all the statistics you like – that’s the easy part, but the difficult part is what can I do, with the structures and people I have at my disposal, to begin talking to young people?

When young people talk about permanence, they have a very different understanding of time and they live in a world where all these values are looked at through a different lens to the one the Church traditionally lives through. We have to go out and get into that world and talk to people and encourage them and open out what is there within them….

It’s constantly being said that the parish is the place where the accompaniment of families should take place……what help will parishes need and can parishes work together to do that? In Ireland, married people generally don’t feel very happy talking to others about marriage and family life, there’s a certain reticence….on the other hand, everyone here sees it’s the most effective way of bringing others along… "

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