Next few years vital for church, says Martin
THE next few years will be among the most crucial in the long history of the Irish Catholic Church, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said yesterday as he called seven young men to the diaconate, the last step before becoming priests.
In his homily at an ordination service in St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Co Kildare, Dr Martin told the deacons that their ministry in Ireland would not be easy.
"We are at a truly crucial moment in the life of the Irish church," he said. "These words are not just platitudes."
Insisting that there was little time to procrastinate or to allow things to drift without direction, Dr Martin said: "The church of the future will have to change and inevitably will be different."
But he signalled that there would be no change in the Catholic Church's rule of celibacy. Noting that the deacons were pledging themselves to a celibate life, Dr Martin described celibacy as not just renunciation of sex but as a positive attitude of commitment.
"The priest is freed from the personal care for a family in order to be able to give himself with all his heart to pastoral ministry.
"The priest renounces a legitimate intimacy so that he can be more intimate in his love of Jesus," he said.
Two of the deacons, Paul Ludden and Derek Ryan, a Redemptorist, will serve in Dublin, with the others working in dioceses around the country.
James Cullen will be based in Ferns, Co Wexford; Kevin Heery in Meath; Eugene O'Boyle in Tuam, Co Galway; Thomas McHugh in Armagh; and Sean Maguire in Kilmore, Co Cavan.