At their Spring 2021 General Meeting Irelands Catholic bishops decided to embark on a synodal pathway for the Catholic Church in Ireland – leading to the holding of a National Synodal Assembly within the next five years.
For the bishops’ complete statement of March 10th, 2021, click here.
Keynotes of this process, to begin in April 2021, are to be prayer, listening and discernment – ‘open to the Holy Spirit’ – according to the statement. The declared intent is to strengthen ‘the domestic church’ – the role of the family in developing faith and commitment – and to provide ‘transparency and accountability’ in church administration.
“We envisage the next two years as a period of prayer, listening and discernment, involving a nationwide consultative conversation on this theme. This will allow individuals and parishes, religious orders and associations as well as groups, movements and organisations both within the Church and in Irish society at large, to share their insights into the Church in Ireland – past, present and future. It will also include discussion and debate via related information sessions and educational programmes on the meaning and processes of synodality. We will research best practice in listening and synodal processes and assemblies at home and around the world…
“The word “synod” evokes the image of “walking together on the way”. For the Church it is a time-honoured way of working out together the “navigation map” for the Church at particular times. Synodality is about the whole People of God helping each other listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church. Pope Francis emphasises that this is not simply a matter of discussion as in a parliamentary debate. Rather it is primarily a prayerful spiritual time of communitarian discernment. It is about finding the best ways for every baptized person to fulfil the Church’s mission of proclaiming to the world, God’s love and salvation in Jesus Christ…
“From 6 April next, an online page will be available on the Bishops’ Conference website for the submission of ideas and suggestions.
“As we embark on the synodal pathway, we ask for prayers that this may be a time of renewal, reform and new hope for all the People of God in Ireland…”