14Dec New website for ACI being considered

The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI)  Steering Group met on Tuesday  11 December 2012. The meeting focused on two issues:

  • The design of the ACI Website
  • Organisational issues.

Since the November General Meeting, three members of the Steering Group have been concentrating on the website project. Discussions have been held with a number of website design companies and a range of options are being considered. A final decision on the website will be made shortly after Christmas and the plan is to launch the website as soon as possible thereafter.

To progress the discussion on organisational options for the ACI, a number of individuals with expertise in organisational structures, particularly in the voluntary and community sectors, were consulted since the November meeting. Discussion papers submitted by these individuals were considered at the recent meeting. Work on this key issue will continue in the New Year.

The Steering Group would like to acknowledge the support received from those individuals who have assisted in progressing the website project and those who offered advice and guidance on the issue of organisational structure.

Since the November meeting the Steering Group has been in contact with a number of groups and individuals around the country who are either organising at local level or else seeking support and advice on the best way to proceed in support of the ACI initiative. The Steering Group recommends using the ACI email facility aci.ireland@yahoo.com – any communication submitted via this email facility will be accessed only by members of the Steering Group.

— submitted by Noel McCann, on behalf of ACI Steering Group.

11 Responses

  1. Rosaline

    Am I the only one who feels very uncomfortable with the setting up of a separate group for lay people? At this time in the church’s history I believe it is more important than ever not to create yet another division between lay people and clergy, no matter how similar the goals might seem. We are all Church. Perhaps Jesus’ words, “May they all be one…” would be worth some open-minded exploration in the context of the wisdom of setting up separate groups for the laity.

  2. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    Sorry Rosaline but I don’t believe this is going to happen. It appears each section of each association in each country is in a race to emerge as the one true Association. All the while, their collective platforms twist and turn and change. This is to be understood. The thoughts and ideas of the ACP are not those of the Pfarrer Initiative, although they have a common thread; the association of US catholic priests have a separate agenda and they don’t know how they relate to the other groups. These are priests who were born in a system where they pay homage to many kings in their lifetimes: bishops and cardinals and Popes and church committees. If they slowed down for one moment, concentrated on the common thread, focused on a strategy to make the parishioner network their large voice worldwide, we would lead them to their goals very quickly. The ACP numbers of their test group show this. Instead, they try to conquer their own day to day agendas in hopes that they make the right decisions which will lead to their ultimate goals. This is how the world is run to this day and this is why it’s in the mess it’s in. It’s called lack of foresight.

  3. Maire

    I hope and pray that priests and people who hold dear the aspirations of the ACP will not be made up of ACP and ACI., but rather become the Association of Catholic Priests and People (of Ireland) ACPP (I) All have a common Baptism, aims and objectives. This would make clear that the laity are truly valuable members of the Church.

  4. Mary A

    The understanding is that these two groups, ACP and ACI are at different points in their development and are therefore working to their strengths in the reality of the church today.

    The groups are indeed working closely together and are constantly discerning – through prayer and guidence – a convergence point where both can work together as one organisation when the time is right.

    Practically, both groups are run by volunteers, with limited resources and rely on the energy and donations of their supporters so that they can grow in confidence and forma a structure where they can possibly merge one day.

    Your patience, understanding, prayers and support is needed more than ever with this fledgling so that it can grow to reach its goals and aspirations and bring about the reform and renewal desired by so many.

  5. Catherine

    I agree completely with Rosaline and Maire. I’m very disappointed with the idea that there be an ACP and an ACI. My understanding up to now was that one of the objectives of the ACP would be to rid the Church of the division between clergy and laity and to unite us as God’s people working together for the building of the Kingdom… An ACI would surely be a backward step. I sincerely hope and pray that this seemingly divisive move will never succeed.

  6. Association of Catholic Priests

    Reading all of the above contributions, I’m beginning to question my own understanding of what’s in mind for the Association of Catholics in Ireland.

    I had not been seeing the ACI project as a backward step from ACP’s move to promote unity. Assuming as I did that the clergy belong to the ‘Catholics in Ireland’, the people of God, the faithful, as do the many other categories including Religious, Bishops, ‘laity’ whoever that includes, I see ACI as an umbrella forum, something like an on-going on-line synod or national assembly.

    How exactly it’s going to work I don’t know. No doubt the vision is developing through the meetings and preparations of the steering committee, influenced no doubt, by the suggestions coming in on that mail line they’ve given us, to which I have not as yet contributed. My thinking cap is undergoing repairs.

    Teresa Mee

  7. Mary A

    I think what the ACI are doing is taking a brave step to start something desired by so many people. They seem to be doing it in a very open and transparent way e.g. they spent all Summer looking for feedback from people and are now trying to start a website. This should be commended as this whole area of reform in the church is a murky area with little support for those who feel the need to finally grab the bull by the horns and start somewhere.
    What the movement needs now is for people to become involved and to support its growth and development in whatever way they can.
    Rosaline, Lloyd, Maire, Catherine, Teresa and all other readers out there – please don’t lose heart! So much has been achieved since this time last year – there is a great sense of hope instead. Just remain patient, flexible and open to where you may feel called to support this venture, so much is at stake.

  8. Rosaline

    Teresa, and ACP, I hope you continue to question what is in mind for an ACI and the wisdom of giving your support to another separate group in the church. Do we really want our church to resemble a three-layer cake with the bishops at the top, priests in the middle and laity at the bottom, each group discussing among themselves with little or no dialogue among the three? Think about it: how do the bishops’ conferences or the meetings of the ACP touch our daily lives?

    It goes without saying that Jesus did not come on earth to set up talking shops but rather “that they all may be one…” It has been a few years now since the ACP was set up and I am encouraged by some of the reforms they are attempting to achieve. However, I would love to hear on this site from some of the 1000 members what they are doing at parish level to gather people together to share, to listen, to pray, to inspire, to celebrate Eucharist. The priest in the parish has an extraordinary opportunity at grass roots level and this is where reform begins. Without these basic communities, we can do all the talking and agitating for change we want while running the risk of just going around in circles and losing sight of the ready-made opportunities under our noses.

    In this year of faith, I suggest that we deconstruct the “three-layer cake” and instead, all of us, priests, laity and bishops become free-flowing fountains of living water in our parishes, led by our local priests and parish leaders, with Christ as our Source and everything that this implies for the wider church…

    So, an association of catholics of Ireland? No thank you. WE ALREADY ARE THE CHURCH!

  9. Eddie Finnegan

    Rosaline (8) writes: “However, I would love to hear on this site from some of the 1000 members what they are doing at parish level to gather people together to share, to listen, to pray, to inspire, to celebrate Eucharist.” No harm in a Christmas wish, Rosaline. After all, like Garibaldi’s 1000, these are the shock troops – the greenwood, not the dry.
    .

    Well, Dear Santy –
    In 2013, I would just love to hear on this site anything at all from some of the 1000 members, in addition to the handful of redoubtable reliables who have given such sterling service to the Church, the ACP and to this site over the past 30 months or so.
    .
    I would love to hear from the ?900+? priest members who never utter a cheep out of them on this site that they are really not just paper members, as Fr Joe McGuane of Cloyne suggested in his one characteristically pugnacious contribution well over a year ago.
    .
    I would love to see them coming on here to deny that extreme e-or i-technophobia is a virtue to be cherished in the second decade of the third millennium, or that it is the reason that they haven’t ventured onto this basically simple forum set up to afford them a voice to reflect, discuss, and comment on issues affecting the Irish Church and society today.
    .
    Or I’d love to hear even a score of them coming on to explain that they just can’t find the time or energy to go online regularly as they’ve been so busy engaging with the public square over the past thirty-fifty years through their newspaper columns, or their contributions to ‘Reality’ or even ‘Intercom’, or (like that Swiss abbot) stirring up the gríosach or embers from the ashes of their parish newsletters.
    .
    I’d seriously like to glimpse on this site even one of the 500 lads I lived and studied with in North Kildare before, during and after Vatican II. Above all, I’d love to see even one of the six serving bishops from those 500 posting here even once as a furtive token of goodwill.
    .
    And above all, like Paddy Ferry, I’d love to see some sign on this site that the Good News of the ACP has penetrated the borders of the “northern” dioceses, beyond its undoubted presence in Clogher and some pre-evangelization in Kilmore. Yes, there are at least paper members in each of those dioceses: Armagh, Dromore, Derry, and Raphoe has at least four signatures. Yet the evergreen Fr Des Wilson from Down & Connor is the only Ulsterman to make his positive presence felt on this website.
    .
    That’s all for now Santy. There’s a mince pie on the table and the taepot’s on the hob. Watch where you put your foot now.

  10. Dairne McHenry

    I too regret the existence of two organisations, the ACP and the ACI. Ideally they should be together in one. However, I recall the reminder given us at the end of the recent AGM of the ACP. As an organisation of priests, the ACP is particularly vulnerable to being silenced or even closed down, by the hierarchy. A lay organisation has much more freedom.
    Unfortunately in the present climate, it seems both necessary and wise to have the two organisations.

  11. Paddy Ferry

    Eddie, I am pleased that we have at least 4 members of the ACP in my home diocese of Raphoe. I wonder where do you get your information? I also wonder what is that in percentage terms; how many priests in total are there in Raphoe. I have always been very impressed to read on this site reports of the meetimgs of the Clogher ACP and especially the presence, at virtually every meeting, of Bishop Liam. Now, I am afraid my knowledge of Irish diocesan geography is very poor. For me, Clogher could have been anywhere in Ireland — I think I had a feeling it might have been Monaghan. So, you can imagine my surprise and delight when I recently read online a report in the Donegal Democrat that Bishop Liam had issued a joint Christmas Message with his Church of Ireland episcopal colleague — whose name I cannot now recall; I realised that south Donegal could be part of Clogher. A bit more research and I soon discovered that Liam is actually a Bundoran man and, obviously, a committed ecumenist as well. All of that cheered me up to no end. Donegal might well be in the forefront of Irish Catholic renewal after all.
    I would also like tonight to wish all the members of the ACP and the ACI and everyone who supports them in Ireland and beyond a very Happy Christmas and every good wish for 2013. I would especially like to send my very best wishes to my new friends whom I met in person for the first time in the Regency last month, Ger, Jo, Soline and Mary OV: as Ger and others have mentioned, it was a truly uplifting experience. And, of course, to Eddie whom I have not met in person yet but I am looking forward to it. Mary, thank you for your contribution to the abortion debate — the essence of enlightened commonsense as always.
    Beannactaí na Nollag oraibh go léir.


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