Pope Francis has told Irish bishops their role should be one of a “goalkeeper”, ready to take shots from any direction, according to a report in the Irish Times on Friday, Jan 20th, 2017.
According to the report, Archbishop Eamon Martin, has said that the pope’s questions are ‘practical, not political’. “He asked how do we begin a dialogue with young people? … We should meet with people the way they are.”
Irish Catholics who believe the regular practice of open dialogue in the Irish church has been too long delayed – and who are also concerned about the growing tendency for young Irish people to discontinue Mass attendance – are likely to be encouraged by this emphasis.
The focus on dialogue with youth is probably significant also, as the next synod for the world church will be in October 2018, on ‘Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment’.