Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and Professor Tony Fahey, sociologist with the ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute), will address a public seminar on the topic “The Future of Europe – Challenges for Faith and Values” in All Hallows College, Grace Park Road, Dublin 9.
The event will be chaired by RTE presenter Marian Finucane, and is organised jointly by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice and Studies, the Jesuit quarterly.
Professor Fahey is responsible for the Irish section of the major European Values Study which aims to explore the moral and social values driving people in European countries and to examine the values underpinning European social and political institutions. Ireland has been part of the European Values Study since its beginning and project’s three surveys, carried out in 1981, 1990 and 2000, have tracked the significant changes which have occurred in Ireland in our values and attitudes and in our religious beliefs and practice.
According to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Pope Benedict’s choice of name was a clear indication of the Church’s desire that a future Europe would be a Europe of values. But the key question remains: how do we go about establishing that?
“In the modern day world, Christians must live and be involved in the projects of our time yet remain unswerving in their loyalty to the message and person of Christ. The task for the Church is to evoke but not impose the conviction that loyalty to the message of Jesus is indeed the key to a Europe of true values,” says Archbishop Martin.
Professor Fahey’s findings indicate just how challenging that task might be in an increasingly secularised Europe where many people have not only abandoned institutionalised religion but have a problem with ‘belonging’ to anything, says Fr. Fergus O’Donoghue SJ, editor of Studies “For example in Spain, only three per cent of people between the age of 18 and 30 belong to a trade union or a political party!”