‘Holy’ Joe Humphreys, of the Irish Times
Anything unusual/unsettling in the Irish Times?
Catholic Church is one of the only institutions in Irish society that talks about fundamental values, meaning and human purpose.
On top of that, it promotes an egalitarian ethic that is highly commendable in both ambition and scope. The command to “love your neighbour as yourself” sets a moral benchmark for Christians that, despite bordering on the unattainable, is nonetheless capable of inspiring benevolence in its adherents.
What’s not to like about Jesus’s anti-capitalism? Or Pope Francis’s social conscience? Secular humanists may baulk at the theological reasoning behind the claim that “everyone is equal in the eyes of God” but they must surely observe its sentiment.
The Catholic Church also serves a particular purpose in Ireland by providing the basic unit of community. For historical reasons, the parish remains a key identifier around which sports clubs, fundraising efforts, political campaigning and educational activities typically revolve. It is also the place towards which many people gravitate to commemorate important events like birth, marriage and death.
This poses a challenge for humanist reformers. Should one try to dismantle existing community bonds in order to build a better and fairer society? Or should one work with church bodies to try to achieve the same goal?
Joe Humphreys, more at link below