Pope Francis (second left) and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin

This morning.

On Today with Sean O’Rourke, hosted by Keelin Shanley, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin talked about how the World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin in 2018.

It’s described as the “world’s largest Catholic gathering of families” and happens every three years. Pope Francis hopes to attend.

From this morning’s interview.

Keelin Shanley: “Archbishop, the World Meeting of Families [Congress]. First off, why was Dublin chosen or how did you manage to bring it to Dublin, I suppose is the real question?”

Diarmuid Martin:I didn’t ask for it. The pope decided that he… I was told the pope was thinking, you know, Dublin and if that was the case, would I, would I accept. And that’s the way it went. The pope himself told me that there were two other…generally speaking, it’s once in Europe and then once somewhere else… that two other European cities had made the request, that he felt that Dublin would be an interesting place for him to come to and to reflect on, on family, family in the church, family in society. That that would be not just a reflection for Ireland but a reflection coming from Ireland for major parts of Europe.”

Shanley: “That’s interesting so two other European cities, they’d asked for it?”

Martin: “Yes.”

Shanley: “Ireland hadn’t asked for it?


Shanley: “And yet he came to you and asked…”

Martin: “It was…in a sense…it was embarrassing because I was asked and told under no circumstances to say this, and at the same time, there’s a parallel process going on among Irish bishops wanting to invite the pope and I couldn’t say ‘well, you know, the pope is looking at this’.”

Shanley: “And do you think the pope will come in 2018, at the same time?”

Martin: “He has, he said to me that he hoped he would come or, if not him, his successor, that’s the first thing you have to say, the pope will be 80 next month or in December. So he’ll be 81 and a half by the time this event would take place and, obviously, you know, that poses questions as to what he would be able to undertake at that particular time. One thing is certain that, you know, if he does decide to come, he will come to something, to a different Ireland but also with a very different understanding of what the pope coming to Ireland is about. I hear people saying ‘the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit’ as if these were two separate things. The pope would come to Ireland for the Meeting of the Families – and that would be the primary purpose of him coming and most of his time would be dedicated to that. And when he goes to a country…when he goes to an event, for example, and…in Krakow, he went to Auschwitz and he went the marian shrine in Czestochowa, but if he went there and back in both cases in the morning, there weren’t those huge events that we are associated with the papal visit in 1979 and I think if he were in Ireland going outside the actual meeting, he would go in a framework which would stress that he’s here in Ireland for the Meeting of the Families.”

Shanley: “Right, so it would be a much lower key event than we would have seen before?”

Martin: “A different kind of event. But it’s primary purpose in coming was to the World Meeting of the Families. As I say, to bring a message for Ireland, to bring a message from Ireland for families, particularly in Europe.”

Shanley: “It’s interesting, I mean since he became pope, this pope has been very interested in the family, it’s very much put at centre stage. And yet, when the church begins to talk about families, there is always the ‘well, why are these usually older men, unmarried, with no children themselves, why are they talking about family?’ How difficult is that? That bridge?”

Martin: “I think, you know, we can have lots of discussions around the family and the difficulties of the family as an institution but I think all of us realise that when family, when families work, they bring stability to society, in a way that no other institution does. If you look at the trans-generational dimension of families, the idea of the nuclear family that we had – mother, father, two children, a boy and a girl – that really is a distortion of the real notion of family. Family is the place where values are passed on from one generation to the next, where families bring – through the love and the support they give – within their own homes and in society and, if that breaks down, then everybody should be concerned about it.”

Shanley: “And would that be part of this next World Meeting of Families? The embracing of new types of families, including same-sex couples, divorced couples, separated couples?

Martin: If you start going around, looking at a whole series of categories, you miss the important, most of us know, we’re able to identify what is family – whether that’s in Africa, whether it’s in South America or in Ireland. And there’s a huge variety in families. The same thing is, we often say the church is opposed to the idea of family. I’ve gone to meetings recently and one of the questions they ask is: hands up anybody who says their family here is the ideal family? And, of course, we all know that isn’t the case. We all know that there’s imperfection in us, in all our institutions. But does that mean that we have to renounce the idea of having an ideal to which people can aspire? Of having with young people, saying to them, look, this is a vital part of your search for happiness in your life. Get ready for it…”

Shanley: “And what is that ideal? As you would see it, that the church would aspire to in terms of family?


Shanley: “When you talk about permanence, fidelity, love, you could find permanence, fidelity, love in any type of relationship and I suppose that is around the key issues of family and the Catholic Church. It’s had so many families around Ireland feel that they are not respected equally by the Catholic Church, if they are a same-sex couple or if they are, you know, a non couple or whatever the individual kind of family is made up as. Do you think you will extend out to these families and bring them in?”

Martin: “I think there’ll be ways in which you can do that, but not sort of generalised decrees saying there’s an amnesty for this group or an amnesty for that group..many of these things can be looked at on an individual basis.”

Shanley: “What does that mean?”

Martin: “Well, you’ll have to find the particular circumstances in which people find themselves in and begin to reflect on that and see are there elements which really belong to the church’s understanding of marriage present in people who don’t fully realise those..”

Shanley: “I, I don’t… sorry, not to be..but I don’t fully understand there. Are you saying, for example, two women living together with two children which, if they’re permanent, faithful…”

Martin: “In that particular case, my first concern would be about the two children. And to see that they receive from the church and from society all the support that is there, despite, and, you know, without going, despite the fact that it’s, it’s a different type of relationship to the church’s teaching on marriage. One of the big challenges, if you take, for example, what is it in today’s world, why is it that so many people are not getting married? Why are people afraid of a commitment for life and what is that saying? These are big societal questions that we have to look at..”

Listen back in full here

57 thoughts on “Chosen Ones

  1. bisted

    …poor Keelin…she had a hard morning with spoofer extrordinaire Bruton and then the clerical gibberish from Martin…fairplay

  2. Spaghetti Hoop

    “…..why is it that so many people are not getting married?”

    Er, personal choice, Archbish. Get your nose out of other people’s personal affairs!

    1. ahjayzis

      He has a divine right to know what we’re all getting up to with our mickeys and vajayjay’s, in fairness.

  3. Jake38

    The Catholic Church is entitled to have whatever attitude they like to marriage. As long as they do not seek to ram it down our throats. Same applies to RTE.

  4. nellyb

    In this day and age it looks like scifi convention. Our alien friends discuss human sex and social phenomena they can’t understand even after trying repeatedly.
    Leave us be, fellow aliens, we are NOT trying to change your planet’s celibate culture, it’s none of our business. But we’re happy to charge you for conference facilities and enjoy your burlesque fashion style with infusion of delicate white laces. They look good on underskirts and chamber maid aprons.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Epic cosplay, but the photo ops were a bit weak. Pope was a bit Avril Lavigne, but some of the cardinals were hands on.

  5. Gorev Mahagut

    “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

  6. Tony

    If it wasn’t a Bishop speaking in a bigoted anti-Catholic country, the points he raises are very valid. Anthropologically speaking the family is going through huge changes, and as it is the basic building block of society, these changes cannot but have wider implications. Gay marriage, single mothers, older parents and decline in marriage numbers are interesting in themselves, but their implications moreso. Hope we get a chance to debate these properly without the juvenile spouting that passes for commentary here.

    1. ReproBertie

      Martin: “I think all of us realise that when family, when families work, they bring stability to society”
      Shanley: “two women living together with two children”
      Martin: “In that particular case, my first concern would be about the two children.”

      Is that one of the valid points you think he raised? That the notion of what is a family has changed and when they work they’re good but that’s no reason to ditch the homophobia

      1. Tony

        So what if he is concerned about the children? And it might because of the stigma they may feel because they are coming from a different family situation from others. Which is why he says that he hopes the church and society can support them. Isn’t that just his point of view? Did you not see that or were you too busy reaching for the homophobia slur?

        1. ReproBertie

          Instead of excusing his comments read them. He said that when families work they bring stability to society. Then his first reaction to a hypothetical same sex familyis concern for the chidren. He’s given nothing other than the fact that the family is two women and two children and his notions of changed families and societal stability vanish in the face of his institutionally ingrained homophobia.

          He hopes that society can support them but he needn’t worry. Society voted overwhelmingly to support same sex couples.

          He hopes the church can support them but he is a authority figure in the church and can have direct influence over it so why waste time hoping when he could take action to ensure they support them?

          1. Tony

            Why wouldn’t he be concerned for the children of a non-traditional form of family and hope that people support those children as they grow up. All children are subject to bullying based on any difference they might have- hence his urging that society and church would help them. Instead you call him homophobic.
            if a secular person had said that the children of same-sex marriage needed us to support them, you would have applauded.
            Sorry Bertie, this makes you a hypocrite, a bigot and a virtue signaller in the ranks of Moyest. And by the way, you have almost made the word homophobic meaningless with your endless search for offence.

          2. ReproBertie

            You have imagined a situation and imagined my response and then declare that this makes me a bigot.

            Why would his first reaction be concern for the children instead of, for example, talking about how it was a good example of one of the new types of families that can help bring stability to society? Oh yeah, the homophobia.

            The Catholic church, of course, has always put the care of children top of their priority list.

          3. Tony

            Oh why can’t everyone be like you? Do you agree that children of same sex marriages should be supported by society or not?

          4. Tony

            Why is it stupid? The Bishop stated that he is in favour of supporting children from same sex marriage- and you call him homophobic for it. Maybe it was just a knee jerk reaction to him being a Catholic, but its totally legit to ask you whether you agree given that rather strange reaction.

          5. ReproBertie

            OK, let me explain why it’s a stupid question. During the same sex marriage referendum the No side campaigned using “won’t somebody think of the children” as their central message. Over 62% of the electorate decided that there was nothing to worry about for the children and voted to pass the referendum. This was society clearly demonstrating that it does support the children of same sex couples.

            In a discussion about the family and how it’s changing the Archbishop’s reaction to a same sex family was that “my first concern would be about the two children”. His “first concern” was to hark back to the No side’s homophobic campaign and you consider my reaction strange?

          6. Tony

            Keep on digging if you wish. He clearly states that his concern was that we would support the children. So he agrees with you. And you agree with him. But because he is a Catholic, you take that sentence and mangle it through your own prejudices and you come up with homophobia. Well abracadabra- well done, finding insult and hatred where there is none but your own narrow minded anti-catholic bigotry. So busy seeing specks in eyes that you are blind to the log in your own.

          7. ReproBertie

            Look Tony you can keep ignoring the point and trying to defend the homophobe all you like. It’s nothing to do with him believing in fairy tales and making a living out of the equally gullible. It’s to do with him talking about how “the idea of the nuclear family that we had – mother, father, two children, a boy and a girl – that really is a distortion of the real notion of family” and how “when families work, they bring stability to society, in a way that no other institution does” but as soon as a same sex family is mentioned he rejects all this thinking and his “first concern would be about the two children” because despite the spiel he trots out he can’t shake the homophobia.

          8. Tony

            You’re grasping a bit there Bertie and once again ignoring what he said in favour of some fairy tale of your own. Cant shake the ingrained bigotry. Man says he cares about children of same sex marriages, other man calls him a homophobe. Fupp off please, you’re what makes discourse scary in this country. And you actually used to be one of the sensible ones…

          9. ReproBertie

            He didn’t say he cares about them. He said he’d be concerned about them. Not for them, about them. Why would he be concerned about them? Because “it’s a different type of relationship to the church’s teaching on marriage”? Because he can’t shake the ingrained homphobia and imagine that children of a same sex couple get all the love, support and acceptance they need?

            Your desperation to paint him as a great humanitarian is really amusing though. If he actually gave a toss about the children of same sex couples then he could stand up in church on Sunday and tell his flock to accept them instead of making wishy washy statements about hoping that they get support when it’s painfully clear that the only place they might struggle for support is from elements of his own church.

            You claim I’m “what makes discourse scary in this country” but you’re the one tossing around insults and telling me to fupp off just because my opinion makes you uncomfortable. Perhaps your “So busy seeing specks in eyes that you are blind to the log in your own”.

          10. Tony

            He said he is concerned for the children, you reached for the homophobia gun. No amount of backtracking, obfuscating, whatabouttery, exaggeration, blaming or pretending makes it any other way. Your need to find a sin in a statement is what makes discourse so toxic and sometimes people like you need to be challenged on your ingrained bigotry.

          11. ReproBertie

            Just keep ignoring the point there Tony.

            I have not backtracked, obfuscated, exaggerated, blamed or pretended. I’ve repeated the same point over and over and over and you just don’t want to accept it. Repeatedly calling me a bigot won’t change what his initial reaction was. The archbishop accepts that the nuclear family is not the real notion of a family but still can’t quite accept same sex couples and would be concerned about the children of one. Won’t somebody please think of the children. Every child deserves a mother and a father.

            When it comes to Catholics I’m not bigotted. I lump all fairy tales together irrespective of their chosen book. I particularly have no time for clergy of any faith. They’re all con artists and I find it deeply disappointing that our society still devotes so much time and energy to promoting their con games.

          12. Tony

            “In that particular case, my first concern would be about the two children. And to see that they receive from the church and from society all the support that is there, despite, and, you know, without going, despite the fact that it’s, it’s a different type of relationship to the church’s teaching on marriage”.

            For this you call a man homophobic. Well done you compassionate man. No wonder the word has little or no meaning now when you toss it around like that.

            “Im not bigoted but- they are all con artists….”

            Better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a bigot, than open it and leave no doubt.

          13. ReproBertie

            “two women living together with two children which, if they’re permanent, faithful…”

            Why would he be concerned about the children in this scenario? What is there to be concerned about in a happy, faithful permanent family unit? Oh that’s right. The gays.

            If I discriminated against Catholics you could call me a bigot but I don’t. I think they’re misguided like all those who believe in the fairy tales and I believe that the clergy take advantage of their gullibility.

            It’s clear that you are only defending this man because he’s a member of the clergy. Look, it’s fine. It’s a life time of indoctrination. I struggled with it too. There’s no rush. You’ll get there. The thing about the atheists is, unlike the clergy, they’re not selling anything and they don’t want anything from you.

          14. Tony

            I am defending this man because he said nothing wrong. He just wants the church and society to support children of a same sex marriage. You on the other hand are attacking him merely because he is Catholic. You’re imposing your own prejudices on what he said and coming up with Homophobia.. That makes you the bigot. But like many on here, you don’t even realise you are one. Other people are bad, but we secular, liberal, atheist people are good and by God we will let you know it till you hurt. Its kinda like the shrill thing. Maybe if you stopped calling people homophobic etc, I might take your exhortations of concern more seriously.

          15. Tony

            And dont worry, Im sure the worlds 2.3 billion christians can look after themselves without you knighting for them. Thats how colonisation begins, with the sword wrapped in a sheath of virtue. Im really tired of all the hate you guys spew up in the name of compassion.

          16. ReproBertie

            I called one person homophobic because he made a homophobic remark. It had nothing to do with his religion. That’s you projecting your persecution complex on to my comment.

          17. ReproBertie

            So, again, why would he be concerned about two children being raised in a loving, faithful, permanent family?

          18. Tony

            Because of any discrimination they might suffer from being different to the norm. Thats why he said they should receive the support of the church and society, despite the fact that were from a family different to the churches teaching..

          19. ReproBertie

            Posted my reply in the wrong place but yeah, it’s possible that he’s concerned that the homophobic discrimination of the parents by the church might be carried over to the children.

          20. ReproBertie

            You can keep shouting bigot all you like (9 times so far) but it won’t change the homophobic nature of his comments.

          1. Tony

            Ah he’s not too bad. leave him alone. Everyone deserves a voice- unless of course you’re a snowflake who can’t stand being challenged and therefore would ban people from speaking.

          2. Tony

            Leave the rest of us alone to have our circle jerk of bigotry. Sorry for ruining it with some truths.

        2. ReproBertie

          You know, reading back over the transcript, you could actually be on to something there. He clearly implies that the parents will be discriminated against by the church so I guess he’s hoping that the church will look beyond the parents and spare the children the same descrimination.

          Sadly that doesn’t make him any less homophobic though, what with the descriminating against the parents and all

  7. Mr Reality

    When the pope is over maybe we can ask him why he allowed the military junta murder people in Argentina in the 70’s

  8. Liam Deliverance

    Diarmuid Martin and Enda Kenny both sound like they go to the same school of PR. “Well um, but you see, obviously, well you know, thats not to say, well let me tell you something” Bluster and bullmanure, couldn’t answer a straight question if their lives depended on it, laughable when one is An Taoiseach and one is an archbishop or something. It would appear the old reliable funding model of the Irish family needs some care and attention eh?, not bringing in the dollars it used to. Better get the Pope over. Have a load of pomp and ceremony and sure the money will be flowing into the vatican again in not time.

  9. Neilo

    Ah, Bulman-Ure: the Strangers/Ultravox supergroup we were so cruelly denied by Don Henderson’s death.

  10. Kieran NYC

    When he arrives, can we present him with the bill for the hundreds of millions of euro in compensation still owed to the victims of abuse at the hands of the church?

    Then he can go away and s-hite.

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