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Irish Archbishop seeks weekly mobile phone switch-off

Archbishop Sean Brady or Armagh has called on Irish people to switch off their TVs and mobile phones once a week.

Speaking at Mass in Duiske Abbey, Kilkenny on Sunday, he said the "incessant noise of modern life" was "threatening to tear society to pieces" and appealed for a return to "a sound of silence".

Independent Catholic News reports that he said many people are now asking the questions: "Has Ireland lost its soul? Have we lost our spiritual and moral bearings? Have we thrown out the best of the old for the worst of the new?"

Many people in Ireland are experiencing "alienation from life itself", he said. "For some, this alienation can take the form of self-harm or, ultimately suicide."

The archbishop called for the danger signs of suicide to be treated "with the same vigour as the issue of reducing road deaths."

Archbishop Brady said he is concerned about changes in Irish society. He said: "There are fundamental changes in Irish society, which are hardly for the better. They are worrying signs that our reputation for hospitality and neighbourliness is in danger of being reduced to a commercial facade, a mask we wear for the tourists, an essential part of the 'Irish brand'."

"We also live in a world, of constant noise and incessant rush," he said. "Our ears are constantly exposed to the ceaseless chatter of talk radio, the rap and pop of digitised and downloaded music, and the endless melodies of mobile phones as they ring in the street, the car and yes, even in the church."

The Archbishop said he was convinced if people turned off TVs, personal stereos and mobile phones one day a week to reflect and pray "they would notice a significant improvement in their mental, emotional and spiritual well-being".

Archbishop asks Irish to turn off TVs and mobiles (Independent Catholic News 8/6/04)

Archdiocese of Armagh | Archbishp Sean Brady
Duiske Abbey
Archbishop says Ireland losing a generation to drink (CathNews 5/3/04)
A Spirituality of Non-Hurrying (Ron Rolheiser 9/5/04)

9 Jun 2004