Need for Catholic Church change evident to ‘anyone with two eyes in their head’

The report synthesising Ireland’s feedback on the synod on synodality is very clear.

“Anyone with two eyes in their head can see that renewal in our church is clearly and urgently necessary.

“The challenge is to find the good way of renewal,” says Archbishop of Dublin, Dermot Farrell.

The Catholic Church in Ireland and across Europe is on “a journey towards another way of living, with God, and with each other,” he says.

He was referring to insights gained from synthesising the diocesan feedback from of Ireland’s synod on synodality. The synthesised report was sent to the Vatican on Monday.

The feedback called for several major changes.

These include: a greater role for women in the church, including ordination; removal of mandatory celibacy for priests; radical change in the Church’s attitude to LGBTI+ and other marginalised people; a much greater role for the laity.

Campaigners for reforming the Catholic Church in Ireland are hoping the report will help bring about radical change to the Church.

As an institution it is increasingly out of touch, they say.

On Tuesday, Ireland’s former president Mary McAleese described the National Synthesis document as “explosive, life altering, dogma altering, Church altering”.

The document had come “not from the hierarchy, not from Rome, but from the people of God”, facilitated by the “openness of the process” which “was never the case before,” McAleese pointed out.

It illustrates “the momentum of the people of God for change,” she said.

“Clearly there was a very, very strong movement for reform and change and this is reflected fairly and truthfully” in the synthesis document, she added.

“There’s no denying those voices now.

“I hope when it is received in Rome it will be fully honoured.”

She particularly referred to the LBGTI+ focus group, which prepared its own uncompromising report, published with but separate from the Elphin diocese report.

That report has since “gone viral,” she said, while “its powerful voice drew particular attention in the national synthesis document”.

In the letter sent with Ireland’s feedback, Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin said it pointed “to many challenges for the handing on of the faith in this country”.

There is “a need for inner healing and hope, especially among those who have suffered abuse by church personnel and in church institutions”.

Fresh models of responsibility and leadership are needed, he wrote. These will especially recognise and facilitate the role of women, as well as men.

“Our listening process has identified the need to be more inclusive in outreach, reaching out to those who have left the church behind and, in some cases, feel excluded, forgotten or ignored.”


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