By Lydia O’Kane
During Friday’s press briefing the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin took to the podium to speak of his experience of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.
He described it as being grace filled, but he also spoke candidly about his skepticism before coming to the gathering and how the Church in Ireland had not connected with young people enough.
Connecting with Young People
It was a sentiment he echoed once more in an interview with Vatican News following the briefing in the Holy See Press Office.
“I do feel sometimes saddened by the fact that in my life and ministry as a priest and as a Bishop I don’t have enough connections with young people and therefore, perhaps I’m losing out on the tremendous gifts that they can bring to the life and the mission of the Church”, he said.
Speaking about what he has learned at this Synod, the Archbishop noted that, “there are many young people in Ireland with huge talents and huge gifts to bring to the life of the Church; it’s my task to identify them, encourage them, inform them to understand the contribution that they can make and then of course to engage them and involve them in the life of the Church.”
Clerical Sexual Abuse
On the issue of clerical sexual abuse which has rocked the Church in Ireland and beyond Archbishop Martin said that, “we need to earn trust..” and the way you win back trust is one person at a time, and therefore, I think this will be a slow process of rebuilding Church, rebuilding trust in the Church.”
Asked about his hopes for the final document of this Synod, the Primate commented that, he wasn’t too sure he had huge hopes for the document, but then added, “I think what might make the difference is if we go back and share our experience; the process that we’ve been engaging in over the past month, but not just over the past month. This Synodal journey began two years ago, it would be a terrible shame if the Synodal journey ended with a final document. “He said, what needed to be done now was to go back to the dioceses and regions in Ireland and “reproduce some of the process and some of the experience we had here in Rome…”