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How to design a roadmap of the future

· Ireland prepares itself to receive the Pope ·

What will Pope Francis bring to Dublin? “He will challenge us to be authentically the Church in a changed culture”. This is how Archbishop Diarmuid Martin summed up the Irish community’s expectations of the upcoming papal visit on August 25 and 26, on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families. This festival of families is one of the most important events of this series of international gatherings, and will take place Saturday evening, 25 July, at Croke Park. The prelate emphasized the excitement that can be felt throughout Ireland. Monsignor Martin explained that Pope Francis “appears as a modern pope”, having a “special appeal”, his “humanity and human warmth attracts”. His greatest talent lies in how he “win[s] hearts for what the teaching of Jesus involves, not through imposing or judging but through winning and attracting”. He added that while the Pope reasserts doctrine and moral norms, he also understands that people face difficulties and live in “grey areas”, but he doesn’t exclude them for that.

Going into further detail about the reality that is Ireland, the prelate pointed out how much the country has changed since Pope John Paul II visited it in 1979. Pope Francis is aware of this change: “He realises that the many dimensions... of Irish Catholicism and the Irish missionary endeavor that have diminished”.

Obviously, in a visit of little more than 36 hours, the Pope will not be able to “work miracles” and most probably, he will not even be able to “design a new roadmap for the Irish Church”, but he will be able to provide “the instruments on which that new roadmap can be drawn”. Further, noted the Archbishop, “We all have to understand that while you can still draw maps on paper, maps today are different. They are interactive and constantly being updated”. In this regard, the Pope will encourage the Church of Ireland to remain in step with the world and a culture which is changing.

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Sept. 25, 2018

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