IRISH INDEPENDENT SATURDAY DECEMBER, 26, 2009.
Church must hold a national synod to solve its problems,
by John Cooney
"With Galway’s Martin Brennan under persistent pressure to fall on his crozier after the resignations of four ‘Murphy’ bishops, the first healing step has been taken to assure victims of clerical sexual abuse that the Catholic Church in Ireland is no longer a safe haven for prelates who have let innocent children suffer at the hands of paedophile priests... 2009 was the year that bishops became accountable for their misdeeds and inactions. " Priests have no national conference having disbanded from fatigue of being largely iognored by know-all bishops who are still under the illusion that they are the officer corps...What may lie ahead is a slimmed-down church which may have joyous lay participation as far as liturgy is concerned but remains essentially under the rules directed by Romeward-looking bishops too afraid to champion the case with Pope Benedict for new forms of ministry allowing married male clergy, and women, married or single, to become priests. Neither Cardinal Brady nor Archbishop Martin support these aspirations which have been favoured for at least twenty years now by the vast majority of Irish Catholics..."
Thank you, John Cooney for this article.
I am heartened by the pressure that Catholics in Ireland have brought to bear on the hierarchy. It is long overdue. Yes, the people turned up the heat and the prelates fell on the croziers, as they should.
The fallout has been deeply felt especially by the older generation.
My cousin, Noreen, from County Laois told me that two elderly women, devout church-goers, told her that they were no longer attending Mass as a result of this horrific scandal. It takes a lot to shake the faith of our elders, but the Murphy report of the sex abuse of minors in the Dublin Archdiocese has been a tipping point for many.
But will the Vatican get the message, or will it be business as usual?
If Irish Catholics insist on a decision-making role in the selection of bishops, and in parish, diocesan and national councils, then this could be a first step. Perhaps, they will lead the way in moving away from an unaccountable, hierarchial church to a more open, participatory church, where they people are partners in decision-making.
I hope the Irish call on married priests and women priests to serve the community. In the early Celtic Christian community, Ireland had both married priests and woman priests. It is your ancient heritage. Why not reclaim it?
The institutional church cannot continue to discriminate against women and deprive the church of the gifts that women bring to heal and transform the Body of Christ. Ireland has taken the lead with two women presidents, why not now with women priests and bishops?
May St. Brigit of Kildare, leader and bishop pray for us.
Bridget Mary Meehan