The Atheist, the Archbishop and the Saint
On 5 September 2019, I was present in New Ross for the opening address by Archbishop Eamonn Martin at the annual Kennedy Summer School. His talk was entitled ‘What is the role of faith in our politics?’ (Later published in The Furrow, October 2019) and was responded to by Senator Ivana Bacik and Michael Kelly, editor of the Irish Catholic. In her response to the Archbishop’s talk, Ms. Bacik, who described herself as an atheist, objected to Dr. Martin’s insistence that Catholic politicians bring their faith convictions into their work of public representation of the people who elected them. In a later column in the Irish Times, Ms. Bacik described this position as ‘deeply problematic’ as it would amount to a theocracy, given that the majority of Irish voters and politicians continue to be Catholic.