Young people 'pressured not to get married or have children'
A leading Irish archbishop has said that young people are being increasingly pressured not to commit to marriage or children by society and are "surrounded by a contraceptive, anti-birth mentality".
In a wide-ranging speech in Rome, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin said that there is considerable pressure on younger generations to "resist becoming tied down by commitments, relationships or attachments".
The primate of All Ireland said that employers are adding to this pressure, expecting young people to be "flexible, movable, able to travel and work long, unsocial hours".
"On the one hand they are surrounded by a contraceptive, anti-birth mentality with its increasing indifference to abortion, whilst on the other they are offered a technocratic, commodification of child-bearing which, if necessary, can be accessed independently of any sexual relationship," Archbishop Martin said.
His comments were made yesterday in an address at a conference at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, ahead of the Pope's visit to Dublin later this year.
He said that the theme for the ninth World Meeting of the Families in Dublin is The Gospel of the Family.
But that communicating the Church's message about the family has not always been easy.
Archbishop Martin also said that almost 40 years on from the last papal visit to Ireland in 1979, the role of religion and faith in Irish society has changed.
"There are ongoing calls from some quarters for the removal of the Church's perceived remaining influence in schools, healthcare and public policy making," he said.
"We have to be aware, in communicating the family, that there are those who feel they can no longer trust our message, because they have been hurt and betrayed in their families by their experience of Church. The sins and crimes of sexual abuse in the Church have not only had tragic consequences in the lives of victims and their families, but have also, as Pope Benedict XVI put it in his Pastoral Letter to the Faithful of Ireland, 'obscured the light of the gospel'.
"In this complex and often negative environment we are challenged to learn new ways of communicating our sincerely held perspectives about family and other matters."