Theme: Is Lay Involvement at a Crossroads?

The Second Vatican Council, with its core understanding of Church as People of God in communication with Christ and with each other, envisaged an empowering role for the laity. The failure in the intervening decades to realise this vision has caused widespread disappointment and for many of the faithful, dismay.

At our Conference last year the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Diarmuid Martin, showed that he is keenly aware that indifference to belonging to the Church has become widespread and that an 'unchurched' generation has emerged. He has also shown how indispensable is the collaboration of the laity with their specific capabilities and gifts in areas of special concern such as faith formation, family life, personal relationships, education and parish life. Initiatives undertaken are most welcome, but their outcome will be determined by the degree to which laity is enabled and encouraged to have a role in their shaping, as well as their execution.

The kind of community needed to day is one that is endeavouring to live out its faith convictions by the witness of its attitudes and activities. This is a challenge to the prevailing individualistic consumerist culture. There are many today who do not see the fact of belonging to a Church community as meaningful to their lives. The human need for God means that people have to come to know what Christian mission is about. It must meet their authentic spiritual needs in a way that leads to willing commitment and the wish to share with others.

The present crisis calls for changes in the structures and regulations of the Church to enable it to respond to the call to mission now. It necessarily raises questions concerning effective dialogue and lines of communication within the Church community. It requires input by the laity into the liturgy, the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, diaconate for all, and effective parish councils.

The Conference will provide opportunities for open discussiort on these matters.

<< Go Back