Features

Voice for change: Eamon Martin on why the Church in Ireland needs to reinvent itself

07 June 2017 | by Lorna Donlon

 

In this testing time, the Church in Ireland must reinvent itself if it is to survive, its leader tells Lorna Donlon

Ireland’s ecclesiastical capital, the ancient city of Armagh, stands sentinel-like above the surrounding borderlands. It is barely 10 miles to the nearest crossing point between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Drive along the twisting country roads and the join between the two jurisdictions appears seamless. Yet, post-Brexit, this may become a new, harder form of frontier.

For the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, the Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, the implications are profound. His official residence is in the shadows of the imposing twin spires of St Patrick’s Cathedral, which from its hilltop stares across to a neighbouring hill and Armagh’s other St Patrick’s Cathedral, the seat of the Anglican Arch-bishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. Saint Patrick is said to have founded his principal church here in ad 445. As you stride past the elegant Georgian streets and terraces, which are built on the old defensive rings of the city, history, like the afternoon rain, sweeps in upon you.





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