Synodality Cannot Ignore the Climate Crisis: Seán McDonagh – View Video Now

Jan 28, 2022 | 0 comments


Synodality will not have relevance for younger generations unless our ‘walking together’ addresses the issue that will soon have the greatest impact upon the lives of everyone.

This was Columban ecologist Sean McDonagh‘s stark warning to a Zoom gathering of over 160 on the evening of Thursday 27th January. You can view a recording of this event below.

Organised by ACI and supported by the ACP (Association of Catholic Priests), the event drew the largest attendance so far in ACI’s Zoomed series of Synodality discussions.

Resisting the tendency to look to clergy to lead the charge on climate awareness, Fr McDonagh argued that instead those with knowledge of and expertise in climate science and ecology should be invited into parish discussions, and even to give homilies that relate the Gospels to those concerns. Clergy generally do not have the necessary training.

Necessary adaptation such as the retrofitting of homes and the radical reduction of agricultural methane emission – and lifestyle change – will require local discussion and action – and so will practical issues such as the heating and lighting of church buildings.  All of these matters are suitable for discussion in the very different church culture that synodality will oblige us to build at parish level.

This should also be an ecumenical effort, he insisted – because an effective response to the climate challenge will involve entire local communities.

For everyone the climate crisis will involve lifestyle change – called for by the Gospel also.


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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.


"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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