The role of women and LGBT people in the Catholic Church is discussed by the European bishops
Delegates representing the Catholic Church in Ireland, along with another 200 in-person and 390 online delegates from across Europe, will gather at a gathering in Prague starting Monday to develop recommendations for the reform and renewal of global Catholicism.
The landmark European Synodal Assembly in the Czech capital is the next stage in a radical process of wide-ranging consultations within the church initiated by Pope Francis in 2021.
The gathering will agree on a set of “priority calls to action,” which may include recommending a change in the position of women and the language of the church in relation to LGBT relationships.
The four Irish delegates, who will attend the gathering in person, will be led by the leader of the Irish Church, Archbishop Eamon Martin. Another 10 delegates will attend the gathering online.
according to dr Martin, “the Irish team recognizes our responsibility to bear the fruits of what has been shared at many gatherings across Ireland over the last 15 months”.
He said “important issues” emerged from these consultations regarding the need for healing and renewal in the church and the search for “new ways to give hope.”
Some 15 issues emerged from the Church of Ireland’s consultations with tens of thousands of people in Ireland’s 26 dioceses on the future direction of Catholicism. They were published in a National Synthesis Report published last August.
The report’s recommendations included a call for leadership and decision-making roles for women, including ordination to the diaconate and priesthood, and greater inclusion of LGBT people.
The report described church officials’ covering up of physical, sexual and emotional abuse as an “open wound” and said the church needs inner healing and atonement for abuse.
Other topics included concerns about the sharp decline in faith practice, priesthood vocations and religious life, co-responsibility for lay people, and increased accountability, transparency and good governance. Many people said they felt that decision-making and authority was exercised exclusively by priests and bishops.
One of the Irish delegates attending the Prague Assembly online on behalf of the Church of Ireland is former journalist Ursula Halligan, who is the coordinator of the lay reform group We Are Church Ireland.
Speaking of Irish Independent She said: “As a Catholic gay woman, I am delighted to be part of the Irish team taking part. I see my acceptance as a truly positive sign and a sign of hope that our church is truly listening to one another and the Holy Spirit and evolving into greater wisdom.”
She described herself as “fully supportive” of the synodal process and said she wanted to “contribute constructively to the process”.
Archbishop Eamon Martin said that Irish Independent that delegates will share and highlight “the main resonances from the listening they have been involved in at the local and/or national level” in Ireland.
“Equally important will be listening by delegates to identify issues or experiences that were not part of our experience in Ireland,” he said.
Irishman Colm Holmes will attend a prayer vigil with other members of European Catholic reform movements outside the Hotel Pyramida in Prague, where the gathering is taking place. He told that Irish Independent: “Our call for equality is a call to continue the synodal process. That means lay and clergy working together to discern and decide the best way forward.”
He explained that it was also a call for equal numbers of lay and clergy at the synods in October 2023 and October 2024. “If these synods consist of only 400 bishops and a small symbolic number of lay people, it will completely undermine and discredit the synodal process.”
The Irish delegation will make a six minute presentation during the Plenary Assembly in Prague. On Thursday afternoon the bishops will be handed a summary of all the recommendations from the European churches to be submitted to the synod in Rome in October.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/role-of-women-and-lbgt-people-in-catholic-church-to-be-discussed-by-european-bishops-42328695.html The role of women and LGBT people in the Catholic Church is discussed by the European bishops