‘Open Forum on the Family’ Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin Saturday 21st March 2015

Mar 14, 2015 | 6 comments

ACI Logo for Synod on Family Consultation_400 x 174

‘Open Forum on the Family’

Regency Hotel in Dublin
Saturday the 21st March 2015

You can book a place by emailing your name(s) and a telephone number to info@acireland.ie
Registration will also be possible on the day from 10.30 am.
Online booking is available here

Pope Francis has urged the lay faithful to engage actively in the consultation process in advance of the 2015 Synod on the Family. In many dioceses and parishes around the country consultation is  underway, mostly focused on the Lineamenta and the associated questions circulated by the Vatican.To provide ACI members and supporters with an alternative approach to the consultation process the Steering Group is organising an ‘Open Forum’ on the Family’ in the Regency Hotel in Dublin on Saturday the 21st March 2015.
The ‘Open Forum’ will include a number of short presentations on the real ‘lived experiences’ of people surviving on the margins of the church as a result of marriage break-down, involvement in second relationships, and sexual orientation.The programme, which will be facilitated by Dr. Margaret Nugent from NUIM, will provide opportunities for detailed consideration of the key issues via small group discussions and a plenary session.Dr. Margaret Nugent is a staff member in the Adult and  Community Education Department in NUIM and has extensive experience in working with  community groups, Statutory, Semi-State and Non-Governmental Organisations at home and in Africa, India and South America.

Following the event a report on the proceedings  will be compiled and forwarded to the Conference of Irish Catholic Bishops and the Synod Secretariat in the Vatican.

You can book a place by emailing your name(s) and a telephone number to info@acireland.ie
Registration will also be possible on the day from 10.30 am.
Online booking is available here

ACI Steering Group.


  1. Martin Murray

    Thank you for an excellent day. I was surprised how fruitful it was and how beneficial it felt, despite the weightiness of the subject matter. And it certainly made up for the failure of my diocese to provide any forum at all for the consultation process.

  2. Anthony Neville

    A very worthwhile event, particularly as many parishes did not provide the information nor opportunity for the laity to respond to the Pope’s invitation.

    Hugely beneficial were the contributions from the speakers who set the scene by telling us about how their lives are affected by the attitude of the church to their particular relationship situations.How brave of them to share their personal stories with us. Thank you to each of them.

  3. MartinM

    Having had time to reflect on the day’s discussion I have been led to ask myself, where is the sin that the church seems to focus so much of its attention on and is so fearful of?

    My conclusions are that sex becomes sinful when people get hurt by it, either physically or emotionally. In other words when it involves, promiscuity (sex should be fun but not causal, i.e. between multiple partners or strangers); unfaithfulness (adultery, dishonesty) exploitation (sex trade and pornography); abuse (domestic, rape, pedophilia).

    The bishops can do society a great service by using their position to highlight and tackle these dangers, but wrong to assume they are intrinsic or limited to relationships other than those validated by the Catholic church, i.e. couples that are gay; divorced and remarried; cohabiting; or mixed (inter-church or inter-faith), etc.

    So my message to the Synod of bishops would be – some refocusing is required if you are to engage credibly with the complexity of family life as it is, rather than as you expect it to be.

  4. Noel McCann

    I agree in particular with Tony’s comments about the courage of the people who spoke publicly about their own personal and family situations. I am sure they have done a great service to the many in our own country who are living with the challenges of one or other of the situations covered in the presentations on Saturday. When you reflect on what we heard from the presenters [and others] at the ‘open forum’ it reinforces the need to call for meaningful representation of the lay faithful at the 2015 Synod when ‘far reaching’ decisions on family life are likely to be made. The total exclusion of any representation of women from the Synod decision-making process is a fundamental weakness which will serve to undermine even the positive Synod outcomes. The Synod needs to hear directly, from ordinary women and men,the real, often painful, lived experiences of people struggling with family life and avoid the adoption of rigid, dogmatic solutions which are not suited to dealing with varied and complex family problems.

  5. Soline Humbert

    .A Letter from Lawrence Freeman OSB ,Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation( December 2005)

    Dearest friends,

    It was a very wonderful wedding. It was a perfect ceremony balancing planning and presentness. Later at the reception there was a procession into dinner led by the family and just before the bride and groom came the bride’s sister and her female partner who helped lead the dancing.

    It was as natural and simple as everything else on that happy occasion where the community of family, friends and church pledge their support and share their blessings on the new union.

    As I watched the bride’s sister share her love in the same community without fear or un-ease,

    I remembered the anxiety and fear the family had gone through a few years ago before she came out.

    She had become very withdrawn and depressed and her parents felt unable to help her.

    Then she and her sister asked for a family meeting.They sat in the living room and she gave her parents a letter explaining that she was a lesbian..

    As her father described it to me it was the greatest relief of his life that she had trusted them to know what the struggle was.Her parents embraced her immediately and assured her that their love for her was total and unconditional for her as a whole person. They are a devout and loving catholic family.

    Before the wedding,it seems,the sister had asked if perhaps,for propriety’s sake,she should bring a young man to the wedding and lead the dancing with him.

    But the rest of the family dismissed the idea as a falsehood that would impair the whole of that special and sacred day for them.

    So,what everyone knew and privately accepted anyway was publicly acknowledged and everyone, aunts and uncles and acquaintances,so it turned out,was glad to be able to celebrate without repression or fear.

    Would the churches and the world be so truthful and so loving? In such ways is Christ, the truth that dissolves divisions, invited to the marriage feast of life.


  6. Mary Vallely

    “…to celebrate without repression or fear ” for how can it be called ” a celebration” otherwise? Thank you Soline for posting this reminder of a wonderful example of true Christianity in action. it’s a beautiful, inspiring story. 🙂


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