Wednesday 21 February 2018

Catholic writers hurting church credibility – Martin

Diarmuid Martin: addressed 'Faith of Our Fathers' conference in Kilkenny
Diarmuid Martin: addressed 'Faith of Our Fathers' conference in Kilkenny

Sarah MacDonald

ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin has hit out at some Catholic writers who he said lack basic Christian charity.

He also criticised elements of the Catholic media who he said were damaging the credibility of the church.

In an address yesterday to the 'Faith of Our Fathers' conference in Kilkenny, organised by the 'Catholic Voice' newspaper, the archbishop criticised the "growing tendency" towards 'tabloidism' in sectors of the Catholic media in Ireland.

"Accuracy is more important than the exclusive 'scoop', which may often be unfounded," he said.

He hit out at the "worrying phenomenon of blogs, which are not just partial but at times very far away from the charity with which the truth should be expressed".

Catholic journalism, he warned, must not amount to "conformism".

The archbishop said the church needs a media "that is not afraid to expose mistakes and failures, but whose motive is to challenge the community of believers to continue on the path of conversion".

"The Catholic media will not be credible if it does not confront sins, abuse, weaknesses and failings within our community," he said.

However, he suggested that it would be less than objective if it did not also point to more positive events and happenings.

Responding to the archbishop's criticisms, the editor of the 'Irish Catholic' newspaper, Michael Kelly, told the Irish Independent: "The role of a Catholic journalist is a difficult one.


"I think many church leaders struggle to understand the role of an independent Catholic press – loyal to the church while unafraid to point out and highlight what is wrong."

He rebuked those in leadership in the church saying often they would prefer if Catholic newspapers simply reported on "the opening of a new parish centre or reported word-for-word the homilies of bishops".

He said there was "little appetite" among the church leadership for the sort of probing journalism that asks the questions that need to be asked.

"The archbishop speaks of a lack of charity. I would say journalists feel this lack of charity too, sometimes from those who are in leadership positions in the church," he said.

Mr Kelly suggested the difference between the Catholic media and mainstream media was that the former aimed to highlight what is wrong in order to make things better.

Irish Independent

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