THE NEXT Archbishop of Dublin has said the future Church must be less authoritarian and must have a feminine as well as masculine face.
Dublin Coadjutor Anlibishop Diannuid Martin, a former Vatican diplomat and an expert on international justice issues, said the Church had to learn to become a new sort of institution. He said he wanted to be a new style of archbishop and that he wanted the Church to be a "listening Church".
He said: "There must be much more aggressive reaching out to young people ... many women feel they are not understood by the Church."
During a press briefing, Archbishop Martin reflected on the changes in Dublin since he was a seminarian.
He said: "Dublin of the 1960s was a long, long time ago, and there are huge differences between now and then. Most of these are positive — when I left Dublin, in some parishes there was 70 per cent unemployment; now we are close to full employment.
"Obviously, there has been an increase in secularisation and a drop in attendance at Mass, but the number of people going for Confirmation and Communion is extremely high. That seems to suggest that there is a willingness and desire among parents to transmit something to their children that is important to them."
Archbishop Martin, 58, was named coadjutor of Dublin in May. He will become leader of the Dublin archdiocese upon the retirement or death of Cardinal Desmond Connell, 77.
He first revealed his vision for the future Church during his homily at the Rite of Welcome in St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, Dublin.
lie said: "The Church teaches with authority, but it should never be an authoritarian church. The teaching Church must be obedient to the word of Grxl— it realises that all gifts in the church are not of our making but are received from the Spirit.
"The Church must therefore be a humble Church, just as Mary, model and exemplar of the Church ... was able to perceive the message and the identity of Jesus at his coming into the world."
He added: "A listening Church today will become a more welcoming Church for women, appreciating the work of women in society and in the family. The Church, in its structures, must listen to what women say. I mean listen not just in a passive way. The Church in Dublin must become more visibly a Church with a masculine and feminine face."