The Archdiocese of Dublin hosted the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Saint Mary’s pro-Cathedral on Saturday 30 April. At a Mass to welcome the icon Archbishop Diarmuid Marin, Archbishop of Dublin reflected on the ministry of Pope Francis and how we live our lives as Christians in 2016. He said “The Christian life is a life where we humbly seek to know God and to live his path. Jesus’ message is never one which abandons people in their failure. It is always one which reaches out to draw people to conversion.
“When I say that I have to pinch myself and remind myself that this is not a question of Jesus reaching out to others and calling them to conversion: he is reaching out to me to call me to conversion. All of us are sinners; all of us need to respond to the call of conversion. To think otherwise is to fall into arrogance. We are all sinners. Jesus teaches about sin; however Jesus does not wish us to fall into a climate of fear and negativity. His mercy is always there to reach out to us when we fail.”
Archbishop Martin went on to say that one of the problems is that we live in a world where we so often judge things and indeed people in black and white. He said: “We would like simple yes or no answers on subjects which are much more complex than we wish to admit. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy Pope Francis wants all of us to reflect on God’s mercy. Pope Francis does not set out to change the teaching of Jesus Christ or to say that in life’s choices anything goes; yet he constantly reaches out to those who find that teaching hard to realise in their own lives.
“Where can we find a starting point in understanding Pope Francis position? I find a starting point in the first interview which Pope Francis gave shortly after his election, when he was asked by the interviewer: “who exactly is Jorge Mario Bergoglio”. The Pope’s instant answer was: “I am a sinner”. Then he paused and said: “Let me reflect on that”. “No”, he said, “that is correct, I am a sinner”.
“This is the key to understanding many of Pope’s Francis’s phrases. A Pope who considers himself in the first place a sinner will never be arrogant and harsh in his judgement of other sinners. Even more important, a sinner who has experienced God’s mercy in the face of his own sinfulness will appreciate how that mercy – and not condemnation – is the path which can help others to reach the fullness of God’s teaching. Pope Francis, in another text, has said that the Christian life is not a never falling down, but an always getting up again, thanks to