Theme: There has to be a better way - living more humanly

In the times we are living through the call for spiritual leadership has been heard with growing frequency but without much sign so far of its being effectively met. Nevertheless the cry is being made in all sincerity. It comes from a deeply felt concern that the way our society has gone in our lifetime has become dire not just for ourselves but even more so for the next generation. Is it possible to bring about a radical change in our prevailing thinking and attitudes that will move us towards a shift in our own evaluation of what life is about and how it should be lived?

The area of faith and prayer is still the area in most urgent need of renewal in an Ireland increasingly disenchanted with current religious expression and practice. The Irish church has been characterised by devotionalism and sentimentality, and this has created patterns in the Irish mind: lay people have come to believe that the devotional way is the way to heaven. There is a need to develop a spirituality, to have a gospel-based dynamic clearly visible as being in fidelity to the example of Christ. A gospel-based witnessing community would engage with contemporary issues and challenges, and this must result in more positive growth in our society towards what is truly human.

More attention is needed to "secular spirituality", a spirituality that deals directly with the world which God so loved. This spirituality will be in dialogue with science and technology, with daily work, skilled and unskilled, recognised and unrecognised, with the environment, and with the political, economic and social life of our democratic State.

It has been said that the real challenges to the Irish Church are in the areas of faith and theology as they face a powerful social and cultural interrogation. For many, the Church is not longer credible in that many of its teachings, especially its attitudes to sexuality, and its priorities such as the maintenance of existing structures, do not connect with the lives of people today, do not help them to know Christ nor assist them to act in good conscience in complex situations. There is a need for serious interchange and debate between the major themes of Christian faith such as creation, incarnation, redemption and resurrection and the major strands of current cultural life in science, politics, the arts, the media etc.

Spiritual leadership is not just for the ordained; every baptised person has a call and a mission. The mission is to live and to spread the gospel. That means they have potentially at least, the call to leadership.
The following points will be considered at the Conference:

The Conference will attempt to consider how to shape a spiritual leadership that will give us motive and courage to follow the example of Christ and the gospel values he urged us to accept as necessary if our humanity is to gain its fulfilment.


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