A call on the World Meeting of Families to reflect on the reality of family life.

Association of Catholics in Ireland, Press Release, 15 June 2018

ACI challenges the WMOF to reflect the realities of family life today.

The ACI Future Families conference report calls for recognition of the families who feel marginalised and unwanted by the Church and for compassion to be shown to them at the World Meeting of Families in August.

The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI) has issued a comprehensive report on the proceedings of their conference Future Families: Challenges for Faith and Society, held in anticipation of the World Meeting of Families 2018 planned for Dublin in August. The conference was held on 14 April at the Hilton Hotel, Dublin. At this public event, speakers and delegates examined the realities of family life, particularly for those who feel abandoned by, or alienated from, the Church because of their circumstances. Focus groups discussed a wide range of topics including:

Treatment of non-traditional families;
Divorced and separated families in the church;
Church’s treatment of LGBTQI people and families;
Child sex abuse;
Catholic priests’ secret families;
Sexuality, celibacy and priesthood.

Among the significant challenges to the WMOF voiced by the participants were:

  • More support and less condemnation of divorced or separated couples. Recognition of the messy realities of human relationships, e.g. trying to raise children in the faith while parents denied Eucharist.
  • Same-sex families to be included in speaker schedule. A special forum welcoming the LGBT community and their families, listening to their stories and restating the emphasis on inclusion in the Church as propagated by Pope Francis.
  • Child abuse victims to be represented at Congress events. Pope Francis to offer a public apology for the Church’s cover-up.
  • Wives/partners and children of priests: Priests to have the right to choose to be married or not. Priests to take responsibility for actions. A workshop to be held at the WMOF.
  • Who is funding the WMOF? Dismay and anger at the changes to the brochure and promotional video, understood to be at the behest of groups outside Ireland.
  • On the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, a teaching not accepted by the people of God, an acknowledgement that this was an error and needs to be changed.
  • Need for women speakers at WMOF: Of the 18 speakers announced only 2 are women, who may be married. 16 are cardinals and bishops. How can they be the main speakers at an event for families? 50% of speakers should be women.
  • Our Church should be a beacon of hope for all people and should be a trail-blazer in promoting the acceptance of all God’s creation in society. The WMOF to be truly inclusive, where ‘all are welcome’.

Conference Report

The conference report has been sent to the organising committee of the World Meeting of Families as a contribution to meeting Pope Francis’ wish for the event to be inclusive and to reflect the reality of life for families today; to Pope Francis in Rome; to the Irish Bishops and to the Papal Nuncio.

A copy of the report is attached for your information.

The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI) is committed to the pursuit of a reform and renewal agenda in the Irish Catholic Church based in the spirit of Vatican II. It is committed to helping to re-build (through words and deeds) a united Church based on the teachings of Jesus Christ – a Church that is inclusive, compassionate, accepts the equality of all believers by virtue of their baptism and acknowledges its failures.

Download a copy of the Report


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  1. Joe O'Leary says:

    16 Cardinals or Bishops and 2 women is the line-up of speakers?

    Is this possible? It pretty much dooms the event to irrelevance.

    Perhaps none of the ACI’s excellent and sensible suggestions will be taken up by the organisers, yet any one of them would do much to redeem the credibility of this event and of the Church in Ireland.

  2. Pádraig McCarthy says:

    In the numbers below, I use “other” for religious or priests or bishops or cardinals. Where one person is listed more than once, they are counted separately.
    From a quick review of the programme for the Congress as on the website https://www.worldmeeting2018.ie/en/Programme/Congress today (June 16), the line-up so far is:

    Moderators of sessions: 19 Lay, 17 other.

    Speakers: 6 Lay (2 women), 10 other.

    Panellists: 128 Lay, 7 other.
    Among the 128 Lay panellists, there are 27 married couples.

    Not all names are given. There are some to be confirmed. The programme is subject to changes.

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