Church Needs to be Consistent on Human Rights: Linda Hogan

Mar 25, 2022 | 0 comments

Human Rights
and the
Challenges for the Church

Linda Hogan

ACI was honoured to host Professor Linda Hogan as guest speaker for this Zoom call in our Synodal Pathway series, on March 24th 2022.

The recording is available below.


A divided approach to human rights in the past – and the ‘chilling’ effect of three different aspects of the church’s current stance: these call for consistency on human rights if the church is to be persuasive on the principle of equality.

This was the theme of Professor Linda Hogan’s Zoom presentation for ACI on Thursday March 24th 2022.

She gave a thought provoking account of the concept of Human Rights including the intellectual arguments around conflict between the common good and the individual’s human rights.  We heard that the language of human rights is essentially a universal language of human flourishing, wellbeing  and community that is shared by people of many faiths and those without a religious faith.

Professor Hogan described how Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium had no reservations about looking outside the church and condemning inequality in relation to social exclusion and poverty – while failing to resolve inequalities that exist within the Church.

Pointing to the chilling effect of ongoing shortfalls – in the church’s attitude to women, in some of its official language on sexual orientation, and in its recent handling of theological dissent – Professor Hogan endorsed the view that if inequality is an evil – as argued by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium – the Church fails to see this when it looks inwards due to its blindspot in relation to internal inequalities.

Strongly supporting Fr Tony Flannery in his advocacy of a respectful and respectable process by the CDF in its handling of theological differences, Professor Hogan expertly fielded other viewers’ questions and comments – including how the principle of human rights can be compatible with the principle of hierarchy in the church.

You can watch complete recording of Linda’s important and elucidating talk, and the ensuing discussion below:

Professor Linda Hogan of Trinity College, Dublin – Chair of Ecumenics, School of Religion – is an ethicist with extensive experience in research and teaching in pluralist and multi-religious contexts. Her primary research interests lie in the fields of inter-cultural and inter-religious ethics, social and political ethics, human rights and gender.

More than ever, the intersection between human rights and religious traditions and their importance in a global context remains a geopolitical flashpoint. Linda is at the forefront of international debates on the intersection of religion, gender and human rights.


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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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