We have heard much in recent times about the pain the institutional Church is undergoing because of its obvious failure to deal appropriately with the horrifying incidents of child abuse by some clergy in many dioceses.  These crimes have damaged victims and their families, have caused anguish to hard-working clergy and religious and pain to core believers of the Gospel message.

But the response is not be one of despair, rather one with faith in the Holy Spirit to seek new ways to show that the message of Christ is as vital and real today as it was 2000 years ago when Jesus said "I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark: but will have the light of life (Jn. 8:12).  Yes, there is much in Irish society that is dark. Lack of integrity and increasing dishonesty which has been revealed to us in recent tribunals.  Dishonesty often begins in small ways yet we see how it grows and becomes almost a norm in our once respected institutions — all towards selfish ends.  Is it any wonder that young people are disillusioned by the establishment and all its institutions?  Where are they to find a satisfying purpose in life? Is binge drinking the answer?

How do you preach the Gospel today in such a way that people of all ages and races and especially the young are helped to rediscover core values which light up the path of life like cat's eyes on a country road. Without doubt, "The Church", not the Christian message, must change fundamentally to meet the needs and to represent the call of all touched by the Spirit to serve in our complex world. Patriarchy and authoritarianism have had their day

As people of God, we are all responsible for the life and mission of our Church. Is it not time for such responsibility to be exercised collectively in a forum to deal with issues, e.g. liturgy, education, selection of bishops, the involvement of women in decision making, and a range of matters that concern us.

It is hoped that those who participate in the Conference will include some visionaries who will be able to outline a possible shape of a future church which will be as fresh and inviting as those early days in the upper room when the disciples received the Holy Spirit and were galvanised into action, confident that they were not alone in their mission.


<< Go Back