‘Canon Law Must Catch Up With Synodality’: Fr Brendan Hoban to ACI

Jun 25, 2021 | 0 comments

Fr Brendan Hoban, co-ordinator of the Killala diocesan ‘listening’ process.

As Catholic Canon Law still reflects the top-down model of church that still too often lingers in Ireland, despite Vatican II, canon law will need to ‘catch up’ with the ‘inverted pyramid’ model of church required by synodality.

This was emphasised by Fr Brendan Hoban of the ACP on Thursday 24th June, 2021 – in a strongly attended Zoom presentation sponsored by ACI. He did not underestimate the difficulty this very different ‘way of going’ could present for clergy of his own generation.

Fr Hoban was responding to a question on the current availability of canon law as a means of blocking collaboration with lay people anxious to develop the influence of parish pastoral councils.

The Killala listening process has culminated in a diocesan decision to move to a consensual model of parish governance, in which parish pastoral councils will share responsibility with clergy and take advantage of the readiness of parents of young children to participate in the spiritual development of their children.

These are a key group in any parish, Fr Hoban insisted. “They might not be at Mass every Sunday but they are interested in their children having some kind of spiritual sense. They don’t want their children to disbelieve in God. They want them to have some sense of liturgy, of worship – some sense that God is close to them.”

A purpose-designed children’s Mass has been enthusiastically received in the diocese as a model for the future.

To listen to a complete sound recording of Fr Hoban’s presentation on June 24th, click here.

A later written and detailed account of the Killala process was published by Fr Hoban on the ACP site here.

Further information on the Killala listening process can be found here.


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