“The adult faith to which we are called … is a faith which is owned, which has been worked through.”
So insisted Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin, in a recent homily for the feast of St Kevin of Glendalough. Insisting on the need for a personal and robust adult faith in the current climate of rapid change the archbishop deprecated the tendency to mistake a faith in some chosen authority for the faith we need to have in God alone.
Quoting the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini of Milan (1927-2012) the archbishop continued: “It is absolutely essential for the mature Christian to acquire personal, inner convictions in order to be a serious proclaimer of the gospel in a pluralistic world buffeted by conflicting opinions.”
“It is no longer adequate to cite the Pope and say, “The pope says this …,” or to cite another pope and say “This other pope says that!” No! More is demanded of us. Like Newman, our crisis—the crisis of the clergy and engaged laity is a crisis of vision. This is nothing new. In the reading we heard, “one says, ‘I belong to Paul’, and another, ‘I belong to Apollos’ (1 Cor 3:4) But this aligning behind our favourite ‘authorities’—be they popes, theologians, or religious ‘influencers,’ in the end, holds us back. It hinders us standing on our own two feet before our Lord (see Romans 14:4).
The archbishop also insisted upon the need for adult conversion, to complete the journey of faith and to ready ourselves for the task of faith formation. Here again he drew upon the wisdom of Cardinal Martini.
“This journey to adulthood in the faith demands a type of conversion, what one might call a conversion of our vision, a conversion which is ‘proper to one who has learnt to reason [for themselves], to grasp the reasonableness of faith thanks to a journey, perhaps a tiring one, that makes them capable of enlightening others’.”
To read the archbishop’s complete homily, click here.