Irish Catholic Mothers: Sean O Conaill
What has been the impact of the past two decades upon the faith and attitudes of Irish Catholic mothers?
I am thinking especially of mothers who had sharply contrasting experiences:
First, mothers whose sons or daughters were abused by clergy, and who then suffered from the culture of secrecy admitted to by the Irish Catholic bishops’ conference in December 2009.
Second, mothers whose sons became priests prior to 1994, when the abuse revelations began. What has been the impact upon them of two decades of scandal? In particular, what has been the impact of this year’s events, including the silencing of some Irish priests?
I suspect that the suffering of the Irish church has been at its deepest for such women in this era, and that the future of the Irish church will depend heavily on the lasting impact of this crisis on the faith and attitudes of Irish women generally. Is that already visible in the very low rate of vocations to the priesthood and religious life – remembering the influence of Irish Catholic mothers on their children’s choice of career in the past?
Surely this should be systematically researched and documented – to inform, for example, the expressed optimism of the papal nuncio? Could the ACP sponsor such research?
“Now this Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Cor 3:17)