29Nov Killaloe laity and clergy want significant change in Church

A report of wide-ranging discussions between clergy and lay people in the diocese of Killaloe about the state of the Church reveals substantial support for change in areas such as married clergy and the ordination of women.

New roles for lay people, women in ministry and appreciation of local priests, were also identified as priorities by a majority of those who participated in the discussion groups, while the promotion of vocations and priests from abroad coming to minister in Ireland were identified by a minority.

Seven hundred people, including clergy, took part in the Listening Process discussions that have given rise to the report. Their deliberations started in October last year and since then, they have had regular meetings in twelve clusters of parishes across the diocese, to identify what they consider priorities.

Eleven of the twelve clusters reported that they consider new roles for lay people, appreciation of local priests, married clergy and women in ministry to be priorities in renewing the Church.

Nine of the twelve saw the ordination of women as important while four listed care of the clergy. Only three identified vocation promotion or married deacons as key issues and two cited having foreign priests minister here.

The report said that, “despite feelings of disconnect with the institutional Church,” many people feel, “a strong affinity and connection with their local parish community. However it is also true that hurt or anger with stances or decisions taken by the institutional Church impacts negatively at local parish level and leads to people walking away,” the report notes.

Diocesan spokesperson Fr Brendan Quinlivan, said the listening process was, “an opportunity for all our people to engage in the conversation about the Church. Change and growth can only happen if we engage in open and honest conversation with one another.”

While many of the issues raised at the Listening Process forum are ones which are for the institutional Church rather than ones that can be addressed locally, a member of the steering committee for the discussions said it was nonetheless with raising them as this could influence overall Church policy.

“We may not be able to effect all that people are asking, these are issues on which the wider Church must decide,” Ms Maureen Kelly admitted. But, she said, there is, “much we can do locally to ensure that the issues are addressed,” because, “Church begins on the ground and that has a wider impact.”

“The issue of ministry of women is frequently raised as one we cannot change but there is much we can do locally to enhance the participation of women and their input to decision-making at local level.”

4 Responses

  1. Kevin

    Well done folks !!! Keep going (-).

    God bless you all in and through this.

  2. Dáithí Ó hAodha

    Well done. Great to see this open-minded, inclusive and fresh approach. It would be brilliant to see this happening on a nation-wide basis. Spread the word.

  3. Anne

    As a member of the Killaloe laity, I do not wish to be disobedient to the Church. We have a grave responsibility before the Lord to uphold the teachings of the Church and to pass on this great treasure of our faith to our young people who are starved of the truth for so long (as I was and many of my colleagues) due to erroneous and watered down Catholicism over so many years, which continues also today. We now have to look at EWTN to get good homilies or good teaching or go on the internet to find true Catholicism. Those who wish to remain faithful are truly living in very difficult and painful days. But the Lord sees and knows everything and this world is not the end for us. God bless you.

  4. Darlene Starrs

    The enormity of having “Bishop Kieran O’Reilly” allowing for a listening process is absolutely incredible. I have yearned for well over 30 years for there to be a listening forum in my diocese of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and it has not happened. Any and all change, no matter what context we are talking about, begins with Listening. I cannot emphasize enough, how important, this first step, of listening is and how vital it is to any renewal of the Church. Again, our example comes from God: “If today, you hear His Voice, harden not your hearts”……as they did at Meribah..etc. Listening and Receiving is our prayerful, respectful, and honest posture before God and our brothers and sisters in Christ. From there, real communication can happen and hence positive change.
    I so applaud the work of the Killaloe diocese, everyone, clergy, religious, and the laity. You have set an example for the world over for how renewal in the Church needs to begin. Nil Desperandum!