Norwich, England, May 9, 2017 / 14:04 pm
Neither the narrow narrative against religion nor the real failings of the Church should define the role of Catholics in public life, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has said.
"Our challenge is to present to the world the edifying and inspiring witness of people of faith," said the archbishop. "We are impacted by the process of secularization. We live, breathe, work and believe alongside people of other traditions, faiths and none and the pressure on believers to conform, to become just like everyone else, is often immense and overpowering."
The Northern Ireland-based Archbishop Martin, who is Primate of All Ireland, delivered the 2017 Newman Lecture May 8 at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. He gave an Irish perspective on the Church in the public sphere, and his speaking notes were published on the website of the Irish bishops' conference.
About 78 percent of Ireland's 4.76 million citizens self-identify as Catholic, according to the most recent census. This is a decline of five percentage points over a five-year period.