The Church in Ireland now looks to the next generation of priests for renewal, according to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
Speaking at the priestly ordination of Edward Cosgrove SJ in the chapel of Milltown Park on Sunday, the Archbishop of Dublin told the Jesuit he had “become a priest at a new time in the history of the Irish Church”.
Archbishop Martin said it seemed like his own generation is handing “a weaker and more fragile Church” to the next generation – a Church that is now “fewer in numbers, weakened by scandal, less credible due to our life style”.
“We look to your generation now to call the Church to renewal”, he said, continuing that he prayed that the ministry of the next generation “will be marked by an ever closer configuration to Jesus Christ” and a style of life and spirituality appropriate to their calling.
Archbishop Martin said that the priest “can never become obsessed with his own authority”.
He said those who exercise authority in the Church must act, not out of an arbitrary obedience to rules and regulations, but “from an obedience which through prayer seeks to enter into the mystery of the bond between Jesus and his Father”.
He noted that the two most fundamental dimensions of the priestly life of Blessed John Sullivan, who was beatified in Dublin on Saturday, were his practice of poverty and of obedience.
He said that the key to Fr Sullivan’s holiness lay in his “continual conversion in his life of poverty and in a life of configuration to Christ through prayer”.
“The Church,” he added, “is called to continual reform. The Church is called continually to identify sinfulness in its ranks – each of us is called to identify sinfulness in our hearts – and to repent and to return in all humility and purification to our true calling.”