ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has lashed out at the negative impact the cultures of celebrity and "empty spin" are having on Irish society.
Speaking in Bray, Co Wicklow, yesterday, the leader of the Catholic Church in Dublin claimed that these two empty values were undermining modesty in lifestyle and tempting people into a false view of life based on words and images that are the product of spin.
The archbishop suggested that the "culture of celebrity" and "the culture of empty spin" dominated the media, advertising, fashion and politics and undermined people's ability to look at life as a mixture of challenges and successes, opportunity and failure.
"A culture of spin, because it is empty, will always end up as a culture of arrogance on the part of those who use it, and of frustration on the part of those who fall for it," he warned. In his homily at a Mass to mark the retirement of Marie Dunphy as principal of St Fergal's national school in Bray, Archbishop Martin warned that education must not be just about enabling young people to pass examinations and follow a curriculum.
"It is about constantly working with young people to challenge them, not to allow themselves to get blocked in their own limitations and anxieties and mediocrity," he suggested. "Education is about bringing the very best from within young people; it is about challenging them to go beyond themselves and to be able to dream great things and realise great things."
On the issue of religious education, he warned that education in the faith was not just about commandments and laws but authenticity marked by modesty in lifestyle.
The archbishop's comments follow Pope Francis's decision last week to suspend the German Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, from his diocese over his extravagant spending of €31m renovating his bishop's palace.
The conservative prelate is also accused of giving false evidence under oath in a row with 'Der Spiegel' magazine over his alleged use of a first-class ticket on his flight to India to visit the slums of Bangalore.