Irish Primate Decries Lack of Zeal for Evangelization

Archbishop Brady Says «Sense of Mission» Fading

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ARMAGH, Northern Ireland, NOV. 28, 2004 ( Archbishop Sean Brady, the primate of all Ireland, says that a misinterpretation of Catholic teaching has resulted in a loss of zeal for evangelization.

In an interview with Briefing, the official journal of the bishops’ conferences of England and Wales and Scotland, the archbishop said: «I know in my country there is not the same sense of mission, or culture of mission, maybe out of respect for religious freedom and a sense that one religion is as good as another.»

«People think, ‘Who are we to go bringing our views and imposing them on people of other faiths or no faith,’ and in that sense there has been a reduction in the missionary effort,» said the archbishop of Armagh.

«Of course you respect the sincerely held views of others, and the act of faith is essentially a free act which cannot be compelled and cannot be forced out of anybody,» the prelate said. «But at the same time there is the command of the Lord to go to the ends of the earth and teach what he taught us.»

Archbishop Brady added: «Everyone feels the need to have some commitment, to be serious about something, but the result is, in the words of one commentator, many are serious, mostly about unserious things.

«This is because the autonomous person has to set his or her own agenda. Others — whether priests, parents or churches — are not allowed to do so. And the result is that many have lost contact, sadly, with the old set of values.»

The Irish primate said: «Many are now cut off from the supernatural and seek it in spurious ways through things like New Age spirituality or new religious cults. In a phrase in a book which recently came out, God is missing but not missed.»

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