20Aug Bishop Edward Daly – An appreciation

Paddy O'Kane writes a personal appreciation of the late Edward Daly, bishop of Derry from 1974 to 1993. Paddy refers to Edward Daly's outspoken views on the topic on mandatory celibacy for priests. He quotes Edward Daly from his book ‘A Troubled See.’
“I ask myself, more and more why celibacy should be the great sacred and unyielding arbiter, the paradigm of the diocesan priesthood. Why not prayerfulness, conviction in the faith, knowledge of the faith, ability to communicate in the modern age, honesty, integrity, humility, a commitment to social justice, a work ethic, respect for others, compassion and caring?
Surely many of these qualities are as at least as important in a diocesan priest as celibacy – yet celibacy seems to be perceived as the predominant obligation …”

18Aug Seminaries perpetuate gender inequality in church

Soline Humbert, writing in the Irish Times, states that the problems of Maynooth, and all seminaries, go far beyond what has been spoken of in recent times and in a challenging article argues that "Seminaries perpetuate the unjust rule of men over women in the church".
However as "patriarchal hierarchical structures die, new communities and ministries are born, witnesses that, in the risen Christ, there is no longer male and female. We are one."

16Aug Prising open the door – women deacons

Brendan Hoban, writing in the Western People, feels that many have missed the true historic significance of the commission, established by Pope Francis, to examine the issue of the ordination of women as deacons .
"Leaving aside the ordination issue it has been obvious for years that women could have been involved at a much higher level in church affairs but that they were systematically excluded by an unapologetic sexist mentality in the Vatican."

"The cat is out of the bag. By establishing the commission and outlining its remit, Francis has effectively opened up the issue of women’s ordination for discussion, even though a few short years ago his two predecessors tried ‘definitively’ to close that discussion down. A few short years ago we weren’t even allowed to think about women’s ordination. Now the Catholic Church is officially considering the ordination of women deacons.
August 2, 2016 may well be remembered as a crucial day in the history of Catholicism."

16Aug Ecology, Economics, and Ethics

In response to Seán McDonagh's call for more discussion in church about issues that matter and are relevant to the lives of all people rather than silly season tabloid fodder Joe O Leary replied with a long response that includes an article by Stefano Zamagni, on “Ecology, Economics, and Ethics”.
We carry it as a stand alone post rather than a reply as it is well worth reading. Our thanks to Joe.

15Aug Silly Season Scrum: Archbishop Martin and the Media

In the wake of the controversy aroused by Archbishop Martin's comments about his decision to transfer the three Dublin diocesan students from Maynooth Seán McDonagh wrote in the Irish Independent last week to express his surprise and disappointment at the issues that exercise and energise some of our bishops and most of the media.
"nobody mentioned three of the most significant documents of the modern Church - The Joy of the Gospel, Laudato Si’ : On Care For Our Common Home and The Joy of Love. These are pivotal documents in the modern Church and yet, they were missing for the debate.
I look forward to the day when the media - if they are genuinely interested in the future of the Irish Church- will afford the same time, interest and energy to discussing the latter as they have to this week's Maynooth story. "
Perhaps we could apply that wish for the media to church as well and even to commentary on our website!

09Aug Sharing a vision

Jeannine Gramick writes in the NCR about meeting old friends at the annual conference of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests in Chicago.
"I had found them 40 years later -- concerned about a Vatican II vision of church and yearning for a community with the same hopes and dreams for justice and peace. They seemed to have found this vision in Pope Francis and to have realized community in a group called the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests."

Is there any learning for ourselves to be gleaned from the experience of our U.S. friends in AUSCP?

08Aug Women Deacons; ready, willing and able

With the appointment of a 'Commission of Study on the Diaconate of Women' by Pope Francis there might be a temptation to suspend the debate on the issue until they publish a report. However as Vatican commissions tend to be very long running affairs it is necessary and good that the debate continues in all local churches.
Judith Valence writing in America Magazine gives a very interesting account of how the issue is perceived in Chicago.
"Maureen Garvey often serves alongside her husband, Deacon Kevin Garvey at their parish ....... 'We had the exact same training, two nights a week, one weekend a month, summer internships,” she says of her husband’s formation studies. “I wrote every paper he wrote. The only thing that was different was on the day of ordination, I had tears in my eyes when all the guys were called up [to the altar] and they left their wives sitting in the pews' "

05Aug Reflections at a Funeral

Gabriel Daly attended the funeral of Seán Fagan and has now penned some thoughts on Seán's funeral and 'the suffering and injustice inflicted on him by the leaders of his own church.'
'The presence of a bishop at Seán’s funeral would have been a golden occasion to express metanoia and the readiness to respond more sensitively to the the message of the Gospel. It would have meant so much to his family.'
'It cannot be said too often that peace, unity and friendship in the church do not depend on agreement about matters that do not belong to the essence of the faith. What the Gospel prescribes is willingness to live together in peace, friendship and respect for ideas and attitudes that one cannot share, and finally, if possible, even to be open to the desirability of reform. .......
Pope Francis is leading with words of mercy and healing. Why are we not following?'

Gabriel Daly is author of 'The Church always in need of Reform', Dominican Publications, www.dominicanpublications.com

04Aug Ministry with the freedom of poetry and the colour of marriage

Seamus Ahearne casts his eye over some of the topics that are currently exercising bloggers and bishops; i.e seminaries and diaconate and the future of ministry.
Seamus as usual views them in the wider context of living the good news, of being a living church. "Deacons. Students. Priests. Bishops. Everyone. All of us have to find our bearings in that mess. The tidiness of the past is gone. The Church has to lose control. Ministers have to be strong. Men, women, married, unmarried (as ministers) – who cares (it is so totally unimportant). All that matters is the world of faith is celebrated with humility."

03Aug The problems with seminaries

With the ongoing controversy about Archbishop Martin of Dublin deciding to remove all 3 of Dublin archdiocese's students from Maynooth Tony Flannery suggests "The solution would have to involve a radical revision of our understanding of ministry and the requirements necessary to become a priest. So, rather than just tinkering around with Maynooth, the Irish church needs to initiate a process of discussion at all levels to discern what type of ministry is best suited for the Church of the future."
".... we need courage. The problems in seminaries is only one part of a much greater malaise in the church. Trying to re-create the past is not the answer. Significant change is needed."