To be relevant in the 21st century the Irish Catholic Church needs to become more educated, warm, welcoming, diverse, socially committed, ecumenical and sacramentally vibrant.
This was the message given by Trinity College Theology Professor Siobhan Garrigan to a large gathering of members of the ACI in the Regency Hotel, Dublin on October 11th – at the launch of a national conversation on the church of the future.
The universal claim implicit in the term Catholic, founded on the simple reality of baptism, requires radical renewal on all fronts if the relevance of the Church is to be assured, Professor Garrigan maintained
Other speakers – Mark Patrick Hederman OSB, and husband-and-wife team Seamus O’Gorman and Patricia Higgins – adverted to the serious need for an updating of the church’s teachings in relation to sexuality and the family – and the profound challenges facing the ongoing Vatican synod on the family in Rome – given the very serious questions relating to the ‘relevant family experience’ of its bishop members.
‘Don’t look for power’ – this advice came strongly from Mark Patrick Hederman.
Strong reliance on the Holy Spirit, combined with a readiness for new responsibilities – these would in themselves be sufficient to guide the revival of the church of the future.
This is merely a brief overview of the wealth of ideas covered by the speakers. More detailed coverage will follow on this site in due course.