Dublin Priests Blanking Archbishop on Parish Consultation?

Nov 26, 2018 | 7 comments

On Sept 3rd 2018, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin asked each parish in the Archdiocese of Dublin to carry out a preliminary consultation on how to proceed with Church renewal after the World Meeting of Families in August.

Some ACI members based in Dublin are reporting that their clergy have so far shown no sign of taking up the Archbishop’s request.

Speaking at Mass in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral on Sept 3rd, 2018, Archbishop Martin noted that what was involved was not a political style consultation, but a call to each believer and faith community radically to interiorise what the challenge of faith in Jesus entails in our contemporary culture.

Archbishop Martin said each parish and parish community could find its own path of reflection, with the help of the Parish Pastoral Council. “The idea is to gather as wide a variety of ideas as possible and not simply repeat the ideas of one or other group and so begin to set out a realistic agenda for renewal of the Church in the years to come,” he said.

The Archbishop stressed the importance of addressing questions about faith. “Why are we no longer captivating so many of our young people for the message of Jesus Christ? Which models of pastoral activity and reflection are most likely to win the hearts of young people for the message of Jesus? How do we teach young people about prayer? How can our parishes respond to these challenges? Which aspects of our dominant culture make it harder for people to understand the message of Jesus? I am thinking, for example, about a widespread individualism that invades everything from personal life to our economic vision.”

Archbishop Martin said “The question now arises: where do we go forward now in the challenge of renewing the faith we carry in our own hearts and renewing the life of the Church?”

Parishes were asked to begin this reflection in the period of the Feast of Saint Laurence O’Toole on November 14th, 2018.

Would ACI Dublin members please feed back their experience of being consulted on this challenge to renew the faith of the diocese?


  1. Aidan

    Interesting, but sad, that Archbishop Martin distinguishes, as reported above, between ‘parish’ and ‘parish community’.

    Since ‘parish community’ obviously encompasses all the laity, who makes up ‘the ‘parish’ as envisaged by Archbishop Martin? Is it the priesthood on its own? If so that would make the local clergy separate from the parish community; an untheological concept and one that tends towards denying that the lay people and local priest together make up ‘the parish’, not just the priest on his own.

    Similarly, ‘the Church’ is not ‘the hierarchy’ but all the People of God, laity and priesthood together, albeit in different roles.

  2. Colm Holmes

    I attended a parish assembly in Blackrock parish on 13 November. A total of 18 attended, all aged over 50. We filled 5 flip chart pages with over 30 suggestions. After the meeting the Parish Council decided to leave out all the radical suggestions and published only 6 of the suggestions:
    1. Develop and promote a Youth Parish Pastoral Council.
    2. Explore the use of Social Media to engage and connect with younger people.
    3. Conduct a parish consultation with young people to gather their views.
    4. Consider the need for a catechist in our parish.
    5. Promote Adoration as part of preparation for the Sacraments.
    6. Promote family prayer.
    I am aware of Parish Assemblies having taken place in Ballybtack/Killiney (30 attending) and Gardiner Street (20 attending).

    • John

      Hi Colm.
      I’m interested what was the reason for the sanitisation?

      • Colm Holmes

        Hi John,
        You can read the notice in the Newsletter of 25 November 2018 on the Blackrock Parish website which suggests that the Parish Council and the parishioners on 13 November came up with these 6 points: They did not. The meeting on the 13 November came up with over 30 suggestions, although the notice in the Newsletter only lists these 6. I am assuming that the Parish Council under the guidance of our PP Fr John Delany selected these 6 points. There was no voting on any of the suggestions at the meeting on 13 November.

    • Aidan Hart

      Colm, sad that all those who attended your Parish Assembly were so small in number and all over 50.

      No doubt the small number attending was a direct result of generations of laity being ignored and having no say in anything in the parish. And yet the Parish Council decided to ignore all the “radical suggestions” of the meeting and particularly to ignore the fact that the greatest interest in the extraordinary meeting had been shown by the over 50’s, suggesting instead a Youth Parish Council. How divisive and what a negative incentive to involve in the parish by those over 50s who did take the trouble to attend!

      Surely the one Parish Council should represent, as far as possible, a full cross-section of all those showing an interest in the Catholic faith and attending Sunday Mass – young, middle aged, elderly, female and male. A single age Council is not what is needed as it will tend to ignore the feelings and wishes of the other age groups and alienate them further. It is rather naive to think that the absence of so many young people and those aged between 20 and 40 is purely down to them not having a Parish Council of their own and that they are likely to return to an active Catholic faith and involvement in parish life by being represented by such a Council.

      It would be interesting to know what the ‘radical’ suggestions were which the current Parish Council decided to ignore.

  3. John

    So I’m assuming(and I know you should never do that) that the priests, who are answerable to their bishop,are not engaging in this due to the fact that they have some sense that it might actually bring some change (and thus changes their status and role), or they think it’ll go nowhere(it’s happened before) or because it will just cause hassle for them or because they actually just don’t care….they have their way and that’ll do people fine.

    I guess they will be brought into line by their bishop of course?

    I wonder what would happen if the Priests who do want real change, and there has to be at least a few (although I’m starting to lose faith in that), ignored their bishop and went ahead and implemented changes…..even the most radical changes e.g. have women participate in the reading of the Gospel(I can’t believe I’m identifying that as a radical change)??

  4. Phyllis Behan

    Foxfield/Kilbarrack and Bayside held their parish assemblies in NOvember.


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