11Jan ACI Statement of Objectives

Statement of Objectives

The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI) is committed to the pursuit of a reform and renewal agenda in the Irish Catholic Church  based on the letter and spirit of Vatican II. We are committed to  helping to re-build (through words and deeds) a unified Church based on the teachings of Jesus
Christ – a Church that acknowledges failures, that is inclusive, compassionate and one which accepts the equality of all believers by virtue
of their baptism.

The ACI is committed to the renewal of the Catholic faith in the changed and changing circumstances of the 21st Century and to the reform of the institutional Church which, at this time, is experiencing conflict, crisis, and lack of credibility.

The ACI believes in particular:

  • That the Spirit speaks through the voices of all the baptised (clerical, religious and lay).
  • In the consequent right of all the baptised to have their voices heard (Sensus Fidelium) in the formation of church teaching and to participate
    fully in the life of the Church, including decision-making at parish, diocesan, national and international levels.
  • In the need for new and appropriate structures at parish, diocesan, national and international levels to facilitate the full involvement of the baptised lay faithful as ‘partners’ in the renewal of our Faith and the reform of our Church in the 21st Century.

The ACI is committed to working collaboratively with all who share these values to bring about:

  • A renewed understanding of the primacy of the individual conscience.
  • The full participation of women in every aspect of the Church.
  • A recognition of the wisdom of God’s people in the shaping of Catholic
  •  teaching especially in the areas of sexuality, ecumenism and ecology.

Membership of the ACI is open to all who share the above objectives –  including members of existing lay groups, ‘non-aligned’ individuals and
members of religious orders/congregations.

If you believe in the concept of a new lay organisation please engage in the consultation process ‘on line’ via the ACP website, by email to  aci.ireland@yahoo.com , or through organising discussions in your local parish

24 Responses

  1. Pascal O'Dea

    Thank you for setting up this link and leaving a coy of the Statement of Objectives (DRAFT) of the Association of Catholics of Ireland (ACI).On Wednesday 6th Feb 8pm, Lord-Bagenal Hotel, Leighlinbridge, Carlow there is an Information Meeting regarding the ACI, all are welcome. Pascal O’Dea

  2. Sean O Duill

    Just to be clear, when you say “The full participation of women in every aspect of the Church”, do you include ordination to the priesthood? I don’t think you should be afraid to say it if it’s really what you mean.

  3. Darlene Starrs

    Democracies have unions! My initial comment would be that you have a constitution that is comprehensive, reasonable, and authoritative. May God Bless Your Work!

  4. Teresa Mee

    2. Sean, I think that ‘the full participation of women in every aspect of the Church’ looks like an all inclusive, incontrovertible demand and includes decision making and leadership positions at all levels. It would be difficult to quote Jesus as denying the obvious.

  5. Noel McCann

    Congratulations to Pascal O’Dea for taking on the responsibility for organising the Association of Catholics in Ireland [ACI] Assembly in Leighlinbridge on the 6th February. I hope his efforts and that of his colleagues and supporters is rewarded with a big attendance on the night.
    This ACI South East Assembly follows on from the November ACI Assembly in the Regency Hotel in Dublin and the recent Cork City Assembly. These local assemblies provide an ideal forum for
    committed people who share the ACI ‘Vision’ to discuss the issues which must be addressed if we are to see a vibrant and inclusive Church emerge and thrive in the future. Ideally, following these assemblies ACI groups will be formed in local parishes and towns where the debate on the issues can be continued.
    We need more ‘leaders’, like Pascal, to ‘step forward’ and organise ACI Assemblies around the country. The ACI Steering Group is available to assist with the organisation of such meetings and will attend on the night – if that is the wish of the local organisers.

    Noel McCann
    [Member of the ACI Steering Group]

  6. Fr S Corkery

    It would be well known that I am not a supporter of a lot of the work of the ACP even though that is not to say that I disagree with all of their work. In fact I would admire certain elements, especially the idea of fraternity among priests and a forum to listen to each other. However, I am not a member nor do they represent me when it comes to “formulating Church teaching” (to adapt a phrase from above). I don’t know enough about the ACI at this stage but it seems to me that it would be important to clarify how the following two statements gel together: “the equality of all believers by virtue of their baptism . . . In the consequent right of all the baptised to have their voices heard” and “Membership of the ACI is open to all who share the above objectives” – there is already an intention towards exclusion here. I guess the issue is who is to do the listening and who is mandated to do the talking. After reading your objectives, I believe exclusion is one thing you want to avoid going forward, and yet it seems build into your foundational document. It leaves me with the understanding that only a particular set of views is acceptable to the group? But then that is true of every grouping of human persons. The myth in our society is that otherwise is the case. Good wishes in any case.

  7. Cathy Kinsella

    Looking forward to the upcoming meeting in Leighlinbridge and find it most refreshing to see the objectives of the Association of Catholics in Ireland including ‘a full participation of women in every aspect of the Church’.

  8. shane gallagher

    I think Pascal is to be congratulated for spearheading the setting up of this initiative, and certainly should be supported on the night. Our voice is the biggest asset we have, and provides the greatest opportunity we have for progress and change. With many voices we might even turn the tide of this sometimes faceless, leaderless Irish church and delve out a place in which we all will feel involved, included and empowered in our faith. Best of luck on the night!

  9. Darlene Starrs

    Yes, I too, wish you well and you know I wish I could be there.
    I have a question of clarification for Fr. Corkery. You like the comradery that this forum affords you as a priest, but you disagree with the work of the ACP as well. I do recall, that the ACP has outlined their purpose and objectives. What part of their purpose and objectives, do you reject? and why? I wanted to ask you that because I’m not sure I’m understanding you, and I would like to give you the opportunity to articulate your position and perhaps one of the priests from the ACP could address you for those of us watching and listening. In fact, I’m going to go back and reread the goals and objectives of the ACP.

  10. Eugene Murray

    Does not this ‘Statement of Objectives’ place the ACI in a position whereby it challenges the supremacy and infallibility of the Pope? If so, is this not a replay of the Hibernian vision (liberal in nature) vs the Roman vision (more feudal in nature) which led to Ireland being given to the Norman King of England by the Pope to enforce the latter at the expense of the former? If so what now? Whatever happens we cannot make the same mistake – feudalism does not sit easily with the Irish character. To wish to live in harmony is a desire for peace and tolerance. To be harmonized is to be subjugated. Kindest regards to all.

  11. Fr S Corkery

    Darlene Starrs,
    The thing I admire most is the concern ACP showed for Fr Reynolds and others (that I don’t know about). What I cannot accept is the self-assumed mandate to redesign the Church. That does not represent me. I believe renewal starts with deep inner conversion. Only from there does the voice of the Spirit gain traction within each of us. For me, the context of questioning and deepening my faith is my fidelity to the See of Peter and the Magisterium. I pray for our bishops very often. They are men who need a lot of support and prayer, especially in these times. They are human beings too, called to an extraordinary ministry. As priests we take an oath of fidelity prior to our Ordination and we do so of our own volition and free-will. It means that the context of our mission is to live out(using words only when necessary) the deposit of faith. It cannot simply be changed. The issue of development of doctrine, which is the intent, of most of the ACP constitution, must take its lead from Lumen gentium Chapters 1-2. This is the Second Vatican Council’s inspiring statement on the essence of the Church and the context for our meditation and reflection on the way forward. Dei verbum is the other beautiful document from the Council which helps fill out the nature of the sources of our faith.
    As a non-card holder, I guess I am not expected to actively promote their policies. But also as a non-card holder, am I not entitled to share with you the things I admire and dislike? I believe both stances are possible because, like all other institutional groups, the ACP is not beyond reproach. Finally, any thoughts on the “equality” issue which I was referring? Sean

  12. Joe O'Leary

    The drop-dead papolatry above could find a corrective in St Columbanus, who did not hesitate to scold popes for their own good, even though he was one of the staunchest defenders of the papacy.

    I see nothing in the statement of objectives that contadicts the deposit of faith. It is perfectly orthodox to say that “the Spirit speaks through the voices of all the baptised” and that they have the right to “have their voices heard (Sensus Fidelium) in the formation of church teaching” and that there is a “primacy of the individual conscience” and that teaching on women and sexuality has to be renewed and developed.

  13. Aodh

    Can someone explain what the ‘spirit’ of Vatican 2 is and how this differs from the spirit of other councils? Surely all were the work of the Holy Spirit and that is contained in what the Councils actually said and not what we want them to say?

  14. Darlene Starrs

    Thank you Father Corkey for responding to my question and clarifying your concerns. I know it helped me and I’m sure that it helped others, including the ACP. I disagree that the ACP is redesigning the Church, and that includes, Catholic teaching. I believe the ACP are genuinely responding to the changing circumstances of the Church and the world. I believe all of us concerned, and that includes yourself, have a profound regard for all that our faith and tradition embodies. The fact of the matter is that, We, as the entire Church cannot turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the event of Vatican II. I believe most of us understand, that Vatican II was an inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and as such, it comes with an obedience to us, from its’ author, God.
    Inherently, Vatican II calls all of us to follow the Lord’s lead in recognizing and accomodating the new gifts, the new wine, as I call it. In order for the Church to facilitate the Vision of Vatican II, there are new circumstances to grapple with, and so there will be change. No one intends to throw the baby out with the bath water, however, We, as the entire Church, must allow for Christ and what He is doing, because it is His Church. I agree with you that it is from our deep relationship with Christ, that the direction for change must come and the implementation of change must come. I realize that it is not everyone who cries “reform, reform” is onside with Christ, nor those who cry “Lord, Lord”, but rest assured, and I don’t think I’m overly confident here, rest assured, that this renewal intiative in Ireland, is wrapped in the mantles, of Christ, Of Mary, and of St. Patrick.

  15. Sean (Derry)

    Darlene and Aodh, you correctly state that “Vatican II was an inspiration of the Holy Spirit”, however we must be very careful not to confuse the ‘Holy Spirit’ with “the spirit of Vatican II”, a term used to justify and excuse every possible individual interpretation of the Council Documents. Vatican II (guided by the Holy Spirit) for example never called for married priests, women priests or the redefining of marriage yet I often hear these (and many other demands) mentioned under the banner of ‘the spirit of Vatican II’.
    I guess a lot of people prefer the ‘spirit’ over and above the actual content and meaning of the Documents.

  16. Fr S Corkery

    Ms. Starrs,
    cool. Glad it helped. It occurs to me more and more these days that some of time it is the interpretation of words which can be the cause of much of the uncertainty. Take for example the very word we both used to describe the activity of the ACP – “redesign”. And indeed the ACP constitution uses it also – three understandings of the same work floating around between us!
    The ACP say : “A redesigning of Ministry in the Church, in order to incorporate the gifts, wisdom and expertise of the entire faith community, male and female.” Does such a statement include an acceptance of the invalidity of admitting women to ministerial orders? Anyway, that is just as an example of what I mean.
    Lovely event in Armagh today and hopefully it will be a very blessed time for everyone up there.
    I have studied the Council documents a lot and those who write commentaries on them and the primary idea is not collegiality among bishops, vernacular liturgy, power sharing executives, etc., etc. but “the universal call to holiness.” I cannot recommend Lumen gentium Chapter 5 enough to you. The point about the Church is that its own members are not fulfilling their true vocation when they are embroiled in internal political wrangling. The call of the Council was to go out to the world and proclaim the good news – not to retreat into a boardroom to talk about going out. We are called to live our faith boldly and authentically on the streets.Only in Christ is there salvation – coming to understand that is a lifetimes’s occupation all of its own!! Anyway. God bless. Thanks for the encounter and the opportunity to explain myself better.

  17. Joe O'Leary

    Collegiality was central to Vatican II, which tried to complete Vatican I’s interrupted work on this difficult issue. As we know, the promise of the Council was thwarted and papal centralism is more entrenched than ever. Lay participation has also suffered as a result, with dire consequences for the universal call to live the Gospel.

  18. Con Curtin

    I would like to support Paschal in his efforts to establish an alternative forum for the discussion of Church issues that we are all passionate about – and urge everyone to support him on February 6th in Bagenalstown

  19. Eddie Finnegan

    “Lovely event in Armagh today and hopefully it will be a very blessed time for everyone up there.”

    Good to see Fr Sean back on here, and good to see that they’re finally sorting out Cloyne and Limerick and Armagh. But am I the only one (to coin a letter-writer’s cliché) to get a bit fed up with new bishops expressing themselves “shocked” and “nervous” and “humbled” and “honoured” at their appointment? With a whole raft of new bishops in the offing, I look forward to the guy who struts forward to the TV cameras at his new cathedral to announce: “Jeez lads, what took yez so long? Yez all knew I was the only man with a dog in this fight. Bring it on!”
    Just for a change, y’know.

  20. Ned Quinn

    Eddie, you are priceless! Amid all our angst, you bring us back down to earth with a smile. But beneath that brilliant wit, there lurks, I am sure, a wise and incisive spirit. And I’m not talking about the jamies!!

  21. Fr S Corkery

    Thanks Eddie. Whatever about the “struting” – could be a little unseemly but a bit novel alright! – my personal hope is that the new blood gives us all a lift! To Joe O Leary, I chose the word “primary” very carefully so as to avoid precisely having to use the word “central.” Collegiality is central to Christianity at every level and it requires effort and a re-commitment every time we gather because faces change and relationships have to be reclaimed and renewed. Now collegiality in a governance sense – that is one precise meaning of the word and that was a central theme at the Council. But my reading of the documents thus far leads me to conclude that personal holiness is the primary idea that prepares for genuine collegial relations. God knows each of us by name. This is a truly beautiful truth of our faith – each of us is baptised personally by our name. There is a tension always between personality and communality in Catholicism. Each of us is personally responsible for our actions and yet we go to God together as the Bride of Christ, the Bridegroom. Primacy and Episcopacy suffers from the same tension but tension is not necessarily a negative. Collegiality will always be a work in progress so long as relationships continually need renewing. The IEC motto is as good a summary perhaps as one can get: Communion with Christ and with one another. In a Church context you cannot have the latter in a meaningful way without the former.

  22. MJT

    Eddie, you remind me of the time when shortly after he was elevated to Armagh, Cardinal Thomas O`Fiach said that although they had looked, they had not been able to find anyone better for the job.
    And of a Priest friend who observed of the same man, “He was a rare case of a man who had all the qualities to be a bishop- but they made him one anyway!”

  23. Eddie Finnegan

    MJT, don’t get me started about Tom Fee, my neighbour, mentor and friend. I’m a bit like the (?apocryphal)Corkman who, years after Cosgrave replaced Jack Lynch, always asked: “Would that be the real Taoiseach you mean or the present man?” Around Crossmaglen, two or three primates later, we’re still inclined to ask: “Would that be the real Cardinal or the present man?”

  24. John Lawless

    A small local group meeting of ACI for the West Waterford area will be held on Wednesday 30th January at 8 pm. All who are interested in the work and objectives of ACI are welcome. For further details, please contact 087 2733929.


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