Irish Bishops to Invest in Adult Faith Formation ‘Right Away’?

Jun 23, 2022 | 0 comments

Ireland’s bishops may move decisively to boost adult faith formation right away – because that move does not need to be approved by next year’s Universal Synod on ‘Synodality’ and is clearly called for by almost all of the diocesan synthesis reports published in June 2022.

This is reported by the Irish Catholic of June 23rd, 2022 – in the wake of an all-Ireland get-together of synodal personnel in Athlone on June 18th.

Other ‘hot-button’ issues that need the oversight of the papacy and the approval of the universal church – such as the ordination of married men and of women, and greater inclusiveness towards the LGBTI+ community – will be referenced by the Irish national synodal synthesis report now in preparation, for transmission to Rome.

Auxiliary Bishop Michael Router of Armagh

“Adult faith formation in particular in this country is essential because it emerged for so many people when trying to respond to the synodal questions and questionnaires and the whole process of consultation that people found it hard to grasp some of the concepts and the language that we use as Church,” Bishop Michael Router of Armagh told Jason Osborne of the Irish Catholic. Faith formation was “something that the Church in Ireland has failed at over the years” – leaving many people with only a primary school understanding of their faith.

Bishop Fintan Monaghan of Killaloe

Bishop Router has particular experience of adult faith formation, but he is far from being the only Irish bishop to favour this emphasis.

“The whole reason we exist is to spread the Gospel and be a missionary Church,” according to Bishop Fintan Monaghan of Killaloe, speaking in the wake of the Athlone gathering of bishops and other synodality personnel. “We have to free ourselves up to do that. This point was strongly made by one participant and there was a general level agreement.

To read the entire Irish Catholic news item, click here.

Ireland’s Faith Formation Crisis

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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.

Prayer

"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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