Dear ACP Member
The Irish Bishops are inviting submissions on methods/models to be adopted before the Synodal Pathway consultation gets underway. They are seeking submissions of no more than 300 words, by 23rd May.
The ACP Leadership has prepared a draft submission and invites members to comment on it. Please note the parameters allowed in making the submission, as per the notice on the website of the Irish Bishops.
From the Irish Bishops website: Initial Submissions Easter to Pentecost 2021
Before embarking on the Synodal Pathway consultation, between Easter (5 April) and Pentecost (23 May), 2021, bishops are inviting submissions to reflect on what methods/models to adopt in these coming two years of conversations. For example: focus groups, questionnaires, deep-listening sessions; written submissions; family-focused gatherings; summary of findings of assemblies that have already taken place across dioceses; and/or conferences.
These submissions, in not more than 300 words, are not yet about the themes for the Synod but rather how to go about this phase of setting up the initial conversations.
Question: What would be your preferred option for engagement in a conversation process about the Synod?
ACP members are invited to submit their comments on the ACP draft Submission (see below) BEFORE Monday 10th May to firstname.lastname@example.org
Members comments and observations will inform the actual ACP submission to the Irish Bishops Conference.
ACP Leadership Team
John Collins, Tim Hazelwood, Roy Donovan, Gerry O’Connor.
ACP Draft Submission:
Synodal Pathway – ACP ‘initial conversations’ draft submission
- The proposed task force – to be credible and effective – needs to stand its ground in a context that is very different to what has preceded this important, ground-breaking initiative. The ground rules are almost as important as the process itself which needs to take account of the present unease and distrust of traditional modes of authority underpinning the crisis in Irish Catholicism, the low morale, energy levels and number of priests, the ever-declining numbers of ‘practising’ Catholics and not least the problematic legacy of the child sexual abuse scandals.
- We are coming from an extremely low base and from an indisputable acceptance that what has worked before will not work now, and that for the Catholic Church to respond to its central purpose of spreading the Good News it will have to be a very different Church from what it was in the past.
- Key constituents of the process are: (i) respect (ii) realism (ii) credibility (iii) inclusivity (iv) an open agenda; (v) transparency; and (vi) ownership – all of which should be reflected in its leadership and its modus operandi. In delivering these, both reality and perception are important.
- In discerning what God wants of the Irish Church, we need to attract the engagement of people of faith, commitment and ability, but from a different gene pool from heretofore.
- It is crucial that parameters of time, conditions, agenda and strategy are not cast in stone or any other mechanism accepted that can be interpreted as controlling, ruling out specific areas or evidence that the conclusion has already been arrived at.
- The suggestions proposed to guide submissions – focus groups, questionnaires, deep-listening sessions; written submissions – all have their merits but repetition and unnecessary discussion need to be avoided.