ACI Input to Irish Feedback for Universal Synod 2024

Jun 14, 2024 | 0 comments

This below is clipped from page 62 of ‘Towards October 2024 – Summary of Contributions from Dioceses and Groups of the Catholic Church in Ireland’

Asked to envision a synodal church of the future ACI contributed the following:

25. The Association of Catholics in Ireland

• The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI) has wholeheartedly supported Pope Francis’ Synodal Church initiative from Day 1. The ACI is committed to the reform and renewal of the Church in the spirit of Vatican II.

• Recognising that there was no understanding of the meaning of synodality, the ACI undertook a series of talks on Zoom to educate the laity so as to make meaningful contributions to the Conversations in the Spirit and the resultant parish, diocesan and national syntheses. These talks were open to all and promoted to our members, on our website and social media and to the media.
• We carried out our own Conversations in the Spirit and also made questionnaires available to members and on our website, for those who could not participate in the Conversations. All these inputs were included in the preparation of our synthesis to the national synthesis.

• Following this the ACI were invited to participate in the National Pre-Synodal Assembly in Athlone in June 2022.

• We are currently providing a series of talks on Zoom addressing concerns identified in the synthesis. There are initiatives in adult faith formation and workshops to inform of positive initiatives for practical faith expression that resonate with practicing church members and those on the margins and outside the Church tent.

• In Kildare and Leighlin Diocese there is constructive action in developing a synodal pathway with a St Bridgid’s Day information letter outlining several initiatives which are similar to the Dublin Diocese synodal process. The diocesan synodal team is reaching out to lay people to gather feedback, collating progress and referencing best practice with local and lay group initiatives for further dissemination. However on a local parish level the process is patchy, dependant on already embedded structures or lack of them.

• Dublin Diocese have embarked on a programme of formation and training for parish pastoral councils, catechists, funeral team ministry, funeral leaders, ministers of the Word, ministers of Holy Communion, lay led liturgy ministry. Conversations in the Spirit are used in some of these training programmes.

• In Dublin Diocese a number of parishes have established funeral ministry teams. In some parishes lay members have carried out the committal at the graveside or in the crematorium. Interestingly, the Conversations in the Spirit have been used in the training of the ministry teams.

• However, the reality is that in many parishes around the country there has been no mention of synodality or the Synodal Pathway since October 2023. This will continue unless the clergy support the synodal process.

A summary of that complete Irish feedback document can be found by clicking here.


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ACI’s Campaign for Lumen Gentium 37

The Promise of Synodality

What we have experienced of synodality so far gives ACI real hope that a longstanding structural injustice in the church may at last be acknowledged and overcome.

As all Irish bishops well know, the 'co-responsibility' they urge lay people to share - as numbers and energies of clergy decline - has been sabotaged time and again by canonical rules that deny representational authority and continuity to parish pastoral councils.  ACI's 2019 call for the immediate honouring of Lumen Gentium Article 37 becomes more urgent by the day and is supported by the following documents - also presented to the ICBC in October 2019.

The Common Priesthood of the People of God and the Renewal of the Church
It was Catholic parents and victims of clerical abuse who taught Catholic Bishops to prioritise the safeguarding of children in the church

Jesus as Model for the Common Priesthood of the People of God
It was for challenging religious hypocrisy and injustice that Jesus was accused and crucified. He is therefore a model for the common priesthood of the laity and for the challenging of injustice - in society and within the church.

A Suggested Strategy for the Recovery of the Irish and Western Catholic Church
Recovery of the church depends upon acknowledgment of the indispensable role of the common priesthood of the lay people of God and the explicit abandonment by bishops and clergy of paternalism and clericalism - the expectation of deference from lay people rather than honesty and integrity.

For the full story of ACI's campaign for the honouring of Article 37 of Lumen Gentium, click here.


"Come Holy Spirit, Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Saviour, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen."

Saint Pope John XXIII, 1962 - In preparation for Vatican Council II, 1962-65.

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