Reform of the Irish Church

The Women The Vatican Could Not Silence – video link

Link to recording of The Women The Vatican Could Not Silence. Dr Mary McAleese and Sister Joan Chittister in conversation

Voices of Faith, We are Church Ireland and the School of Religion in Trinity College presented two leading Catholic women in a public conversation to overcome the silence on issues that affect Catholics today and must be openly discussed for the future of an inclusive, egalitarian and harmonious Church.

Six Years Later, anyone willing to right a wrong?

After six years of suspension from public ministry, without even the semblance of due process, Tony Flannery writes that “the memories of that time come back clearly, and I know that there is still a residue of hurt, regret and sadness.” ….
“I do actually believe that my Redemptorist superiors, or indeed the Irish bishops, if they really wanted to, could do something in this present very different climate in the Church, to get the sanctions against me lifted, and to restore my good name.
My biggest complaint from the beginning was the unjust and unlawful procedures that were used to judge and condemn me.”

Mary McAleese to Pope Francis -‘develop a credible strategy for the inclusion of women as equals’

A report on the Voices of Faith International Women’s Day Conference from the National Catholic Reporter and the text of the talk given by former President Mary McAleese.
“Today, we challenge Pope Francis to develop a credible strategy for the inclusion of women as equals throughout the church’s root and branch infrastructure, including its decision-making.”
Mary McAleese

Spiritfest – A positive experience of church

Mary Smiddy, a member of Killeagh-Inch Pastoral Council, was recently involved in a “Spiritfest” which ran the last weekend of September.
Here she gives a report on a very successful event.
“At a time when the church gets much negative publicity I feel that much that is good in our churches and parishes is not acknowledged or recognised. Because of that I would like to share some of our experiences and learning over the Spiritfest weekend.
The event illustrates the vibrancy, excitement and joy that can be found in parishes throughout the country and what is possible with a little planning, preparation and willingness to try something different while remaining true to our faith and traditions.”

ACTA Conference, (the Catholic Church Reform Movement of England and Wales)

Tony Flannery reports on the conference in Birmingham organized by ACTA, the Catholic Church Reform Movement of England and Wales.
The main theme was to reflect on the future of parishes in the context of the rapid decline in numbers of priests available for ministry. 

My Mass of Celebration

Updated 26/01/2017 with video link and further media coverage

Tony Flannery shares some thoughts on his Mass of Celebration, marking the occasion of his 70th birthday and 40 years of priesthood.
“The Mass, for me, was emotional, but beautiful. I have celebrated many big Masses over the years, at missions and novenas, but nothing that touched me to the core like this one.”

Also included is some of the press coverage of the celebration.

Irish bishops divided on issue of married priests and women deacons

RTE is carrying a report that the Irish bishops’ conference failed to reach consensus on proposals by the Bishop of Kilmore, Leo O’Reilly, to allow priests who left ministry to get married to return to priestly work and to consider lifting the bans on ordaining married men and female deacons.
Bishop O Reilly is to be commended for actually listening to the outcome of a ‘listening process” he started with the people of Kilmore diocese.

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP)

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) has produced the first edition of their new newsletter, ‘Leading’.
Mary Bergan Blanchard , editor, says that the newsletter “discusses who we are, why we’re here, and what we do…..
We are a prophetic movement. Organized religion needs to be reorganized. Millions of Catholics have given up their faith in disgust. If we do not regenerate the interest in the simplicity of Christ’s message, who will? It is buried in over 1,750 man-made Canon Laws. Women and all their contributions have been ignored for nearly two thousand years. Enough!………………… We are trying our best to inform all curious people exactly what we are about.”

We’re not ready to meet the Pope

Brendan Hoban in his Western People column questions if we’re ready to hear the message of our Papal visitor.
… “the sad and difficult truth is that we’re not ready in Ireland for the man from the pampas of Argentina or the message of mercy and compassion that reflects the gospel Jesus preached…”
“The terrible tragedy is that we won’t listen because we can’t hear what Pope Francis is saying or accept the direction in which he’s pointing the Church.
The sad truth is that while a defensive Church is up to its neck in denial, our people will have their tongues out for the message Francis brings and the promise he represents ­ wishing it, willing it and wanting it.”

How many priests do we need?

In response to the advertised discussion topic of ” Are We Killing Our Priests?” at our upcoming AGM Prof. Thomas O’Loughlin, President of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain and Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Nottingham draws our attention to an article he has published about the number of priests that are required in church.
He raises some points well worth considering and his conclusions are challenging;”it is obvious that there has been a serious crisis of under-ordination not just since the mid-twentieth century but since the mid-sixteenth century when as an effect of the Reformation debates the full-time, professionalized, seminary-educated cleric became the norm. Bringing the number of clerics up to quota would initially be a great shock to the churches: the education system of clerics would have to be altered radically, the expectation that this particular ministry would be funded by others Christians (who, incidentally, are expected to offer their ministry to the church usually without payment) would have to be swept aside, along with discriminatory canonical restrictions on who can be appointed presbyter within a given community.”

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