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Ireland: Msgr. Martin (Dublin), “Recover the role of God in society and in the hearts of youth”

“As university chaplains, you have a unique vision of the minds of a great part of youth in Irish society. You can see their hopes, ambitions, problems, anxieties and fears personally; and you can see their faith and understanding of religion personally”. That was the introduction of Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, on speaking to the chaplains of the diocese, who are carrying out the “most effective and esteemed ministry of the Church regarding youth”, in accordance with the questionnaire completed in Dublin with a view to the Synod. And with a view to 2018, the Archbishop pointed out that “the youth pastoral, above all, will have to focus on education to faith”, helping youth “to gain the skills to speak the language of faith sincerely, in a world in which such language may be regarded as an alien language”. Chaplains will have to help youth “to gain the ability to discern”: today, youth are “inspired by values such as honesty, freedom, integrity and tolerance”, but since “the Irish society is losing its Christian roots”, those words “may acquire different meanings”. Faith is part of culture, but “it implies a different way of living within any culture”: therefore, it is necessary “to shape the community of believers, welcoming youth, and helping them to go beyond superficial borders, in order to recognise the presence and the purpose of God in all people and things”. “A great number of young people speaking about faith feel themselves excluded”; “It is not enough to analyse the way in which the role of God has been reduced in Irish society; we must find a way to recover the role of God in society and in the hearts of youth”.

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