Politics, not church, will make 'a just society'
It is the role of the new Government and the 31st Dail, not of the Catholic Church, to achieve a just society, a senior cleric said yesterday.
Speaking a week after Taoiseach Enda Kenny declared "a democratic revolution", Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin called on "young people with vision" to enter politics.
On the Government's plans to update the 1937 Constitution, Archbishop Martin warned that marriage between a man and a woman was "a fundamental good in society" which deserved "a unique protection".
But in a major address on 'The Relationship between Church and State' in Mater Dei College, he acknowledged that the law should guarantee people in other forms of relationship their fundamental rights.
Dr Martin "welcomed very much" the announcement by Education Minister Ruairi Quinn of the establishment of a National Forum on School Patronage.
But the archbishop cautioned that pluralism in education was not an easy task to realise.
"Simply providing greater choice will not guarantee true pluralism," he added.
However, he said there was a need for parents, who had been effectively excluded in the church-run school system to date, to become more involved in the school system.
"Parents must be more involved at the school level," he said.
He said his remarks should not be considered a specific attack on the new Government or on its predecessor.
Mature relationships bet- ween church and State helped social stability and brought out the best from both, he continued.
"Giving to Caesar the things of Caesar means that the church respects the autonomy of the secular sphere," he said.
"It also means that Caesar does not play God and does not try to banish God out of the reality of society into the most remote private corner of individual conscience."
Archbishop Martin quoted the Pope's belief that "the church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible".
Accepting that the church did not have all the answers, Archbishop Martin insisted that it "must always have the internal freedom to take positions that are culturally unpopular".