‘There is an anger, a sadness, a sense of loss – including, in some cases a loss of faith’ in Ireland – as a result of ‘sexual, institutional, emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual abuse by members of the Church in Ireland’.
This ‘open wound’ needs ‘the courage to go deeper and to fully understand the causes.’
This was the most dramatic passage in the Irish presentation at the European Continental Assembly of the Universal Synod of the Catholic Church, in Prague on Monday Feb 6th 2023 – on themes of exclusion and inclusion and the need for ‘conversion’, if ‘evangelisation’ is to bear fruit and the Irish church is to become the ‘field hospital’ for the afflicted that Pope Francis hopes to see.
Called to ‘widen the tent’ – to greatly expand the number of those so far involved in the Irish synodal process – the delegates welcomed the Universal Synodal process – as an opportunity to begin to hear the call of Isaiah ‘to hear the voices of our brothers and sisters who have become disaffected and discouraged’.
‘There is a deep longing for a more inclusive and welcoming Church. People wish for this enlarged tent to be experienced in liturgy, language, structures, practices, and decision-making. The co-responsibility of all the baptised must therefore be recognised and practised, to overcome clericalism and to ensure full and equal participation of women in all aspects of Church life and ministry and decision-making.’
The presentation was made by Julieann Moran, Secretary to the Irish Synodal Task Group and Fr Éamonn Fitzgibbon, its convenor. They were accompanied by Dr Nicola Brady, Chair, and Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh.
The Church’s Universal Synod on ‘Synodality’ will culminate in meetings of bishops in Rome in the autumn of 2024 and 2025. Ireland’s ‘synodal pathway’ process is intended to lead to a national assembly, or to regional assemblies, on a timeline not yet fixed.
However,’synodality’ as a collaborative and open way of being church is intended to be the ongoing reality for Irish Catholics, from now on.
To read the complete Irish presentation in Prague, click here.