Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Quebec Cardinal–Considered Potential Successor To Pope Francis–Named In Sexual Assault Lawsuit

 Canadian Cardinal Ouellet accused of sexual assault | TRT World

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, a prominent figure in the Vatican who has been considered to be a possible successor to Pope Francis, was one of 88 clergy members named in a class action against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec on Tuesday, as the Catholic Church faces its latest allegations of sexual abuse.

Key Facts

Ouellet, 78, who has not been charged with any crimes, is named as a perpetrator in the lawsuit, which represents 101 victims who were allegedly sexually assaulted by priests in the Quebec church, mostly as minors, since the 1940s.

According to the lawsuit, which was first obtained by Radio Canada’s investigative program EnquĂȘte, Ouellet allegedly assaulted a 23-year-old female intern, identified as “F” by grabbing her and putting his hands down her back in several instances, including a massage in which she claims he reached too far down her back, between 2008 and 2010.

Ouellet, who was appointed Archbishop of Quebec in 2002 and made a cardinal by the late Pope John Paul II one year later, has been considered a possible successor to 85-year-old Pope Francis, who said last month that the “door is open” to retirement.

The allegations are part of two class actions filed Tuesday, including one against the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Francophone Canada, which includes 193 victims of alleged sexual abuse by 116 members of the organization.

The Quebec archdiocese, which contains 40 parishes and 452 priests, and attorney Alain Arsenault, who represents the alleged victims, did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Forbes.

Key Background

The lawsuit comes less than two months after the FBI launched another investigation into 57 clergy members in the Archdiocese of New Orleans who allegedly sexually assaulted minors on trips across state lines. 

Stories of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church emerged in the 1990s following cases in Argentina, Australia and Austria, and again in 2002, when the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team reported the Catholic Church’s cover-up of years of abuse. 

A 2004 report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, found more than 10,000 people made allegations of sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002. 

A subsequent report that was requested by the Catholic Church in France and released last October found roughly 330,000 children have been sexually abused by members of the French Catholic Church since 1950.

Swiss bishops' Synod report: Catholic Church denies equality to women and excludes LGBT people

 Swiss Bishops' Conference - Wikipedia

On Monday, the Swiss Bishops' Conference published a document for the upcoming Synod on Synodality in Rome reporting the Catholic Church was seen as suffering from clericalism —as well as "denying equality to women" and excluding "people with LGBTQ identity."

"Several official church positions on the role of women in church and society, on sexuality and lifestyles are perceived as pejorative and exclusionary," the Swiss report said according to CNA Deutsch, CNA's German-language news partner.

"The Synodal Assembly of Switzerland, held on May 30, 2022, in Einsiedeln Abbey, finalized the report based on comments and requests for adjustments," the bishops explained. 

"This assembly had the task of combining the reports that emerged from the diocesan phase of the synod into an overall national report."

The document says nothing about the number of participants in the surveys that were to be part of the worldwide synodal process. 

In Germany, the "number of faithful who participated in the survey on the World Synod of Bishops in the dioceses" had been only "in the lowest single-digit percentage," reported CNA Deutsch.

"In Switzerland, the debates and the synodal questionnaires raised awareness of the importance of baptism for the life of the Church," the bishops said

"It was emphasized that a synodal church increasingly recognizes 'the royal, priestly and prophetic dignity and vocation' of the baptized."

Two points, in particular, were emphasized, namely "overcoming the experience that many people are excluded from full participation in the life of the church" and a critical examination "of the clericalism that still exists in some places."

The report also said synodality would only succeed once "clericalism is overcome and an understanding of the priesthood increasingly develops as an element that promotes the life of a more synodically oriented church."

On clericalism, the 11-page report said: "Criticism of the exercise of power by ministers is ignited by observations of clerical mentality, abuse of power, ignorance of the realities of life and culture in Switzerland, devaluation of women and rejection of people from the LGBTQ spectrum, retreat into individual identity notions of being a priest, lack of attention to people, disinterest in the poor, etc."

In another section, the report also cites minority votes. These are mainly aimed at "questioning the need for a synodal culture for the Catholic Church, not changing the role of priests and the current hierarchical shape of the Church, limiting the influence of lay men and women in the Church, and more preservation and promotion of traditional forms of liturgy, especially the 'extraordinary form.'"

Pope Francis announced a Synod on Synodality in March 2020 to "provide an opportunity for the entire People of God to discern together how to move forward on the path towards being a more synodal Church in the long-term."

The process to prepare the synod started with consultations at the diocesan level in October 2021. A continental phase is scheduled to commence in March 2023, according to the Synod on Synodality's website. The final and universal phase will begin with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme "For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission," at the Vatican in October 2023.

Catholic Order Struggles to Raise $100 Million to Atone for Slave Labor

 Jesuit Advocates

A prominent order of Catholic priests vowed last year to raise $100 million to atone for its participation in the American slave trade. 

At the time, church leaders and historians said it would be the largest effort by the Roman Catholic Church to make amends for the buying, selling and enslavement of Black people in the United States.

But 16 months later, cash is only trickling in.

The Jesuit priest leading the fund-raising efforts said he had hoped that his order would have secured several multimillion-dollar donations by now, in addition to an initial $15 million investment made by the order. Instead, only about $180,000 in small donations has flowed into the trust the Jesuits created in partnership with a group of descendants whose ancestors were enslaved by the Catholic priests.

Alarmed by the slow pace of fund-raising, the leader of the group of descendants that has partnered with the Jesuits wrote to Rome earlier this month, urging the order’s worldwide leader to ensure that the American priests make good on their promise.

The American Jesuits, who relied on slave labor and slave sales for more than a century, had discussed plans last year to sell all of their remaining former plantation lands in Maryland, the priests said. They discussed transferring the proceeds, along with a portion of the proceeds of an earlier $57 million plantation sale, to the trust. Money from the trust will flow into a foundation that will finance programs that benefit descendants, including scholarships and money for emergency needs, and promote racial reconciliation projects.

But the remaining land has yet to be sold and the proceeds from prior land sales have yet to be transferred to the trust, Jesuit officials and descendants say.

“It is becoming obvious to all who look beyond words that Jesuits are not delivering in deed,” Joseph M. Stewart, president and chair of the Descendants Truth and Reconciliation Foundation, wrote in his letter to the Rev. Arturo Sosa, the Jesuit superior general. “The bottom line is that without your engagement, this partnership seems destined to fail.”

In his letter, Mr. Stewart warned that “hard-liners” within the order maintained the position that they “never enslaved anyone and thus do not ‘owe’ anyone anything.”

In an interview, Mr. Stewart said he believed that the Jesuit leadership remained committed to the partnership, describing ongoing meetings and conversations. The point, he said, was that the descendant community needed the priests to do more than talk.

In his letter, he called on Father Sosa to ensure that the American Jesuits complete the land sales and transfer of proceeds by the end of this year, and secure the $100 million pledge by next year. He also asked the order to deposit a total of $1 billion into the trust by 2029.

The descendants have previously called on the Jesuits to raise $1 billion for their foundation. The Jesuits have said they support that as a long-term goal, but have not committed to a timeline.

Father Sosa declined to comment on the letter through a spokesman.

“We’re challenging them to be more expeditious,” said Mr. Stewart, a retired corporate executive whose ancestors were sold by the Jesuits in 1838 to save Georgetown University from financial ruin, Jesuit archival records show. “How long does it take to do this if you’re committed to it?”

In a statement released on Monday, the Rev. Brian G. Paulson, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, along with the nation’s senior Jesuit leaders said they remained “deeply devoted to our historic partnership with the descendant community and to working together for racial reconciliation and healing in this country.”

Father Paulson and the provincial leaders said they “share in the concern of Mr. Joseph Stewart and other descendant leaders regarding the pace of our fund-raising efforts,” adding that they were “continuing to work with our network partners to secure resources.”

The Jesuits negotiating with the descendants' group over the former plantation lands said that they had hired two outside firms to facilitate the sale of the remaining land, and that they were “in discussions” about the $57 million land sale and how a portion of those proceeds might benefit the descendants’ trust.

The Jesuits announced their $100 million pledge in March 2021 as part of their efforts to make amends for their history of profiting from slavery. The order relied on the plantations and slave labor to sustain the clergy and to help finance the construction and the day-to-day operations of churches and schools, including Georgetown, the nation’s first Catholic institution of higher learning.

At the time of the announcement, they said that they had already deposited $15 million in the descendants’ trust. They had also hired a fund-raising firm with a goal of raising the rest of the $100 million over a period of three to five years. The partnership emerged after a group of descendants pressed for negotiations after learning from articles in The New York Times that the Jesuits had sold their ancestors to save Georgetown.

The Rev. Timothy P. Kesicki, the former president of the Jesuit conference, who helped to broker that initial agreement between the Jesuits and the group of descendants, said in an interview that he understood their frustrations.

“I had hoped to be further along,” said Father Kesicki, who said he had hoped that the Jesuits would have secured about a third of the $100 million pledge by now for the trust, including the order’s initial investment of $15 million.

Father Kesicki, who now serves as chair of the trust, and others familiar with the Jesuits’ efforts pointed to a number of challenges, including the organizational structure of the order, which requires multiple signoffs from multiple people on significant decisions, and the complexity involved in the land deals.

In addition, Father Kesicki said, building a major fund-raising campaign takes time.

“But we need to show more growth,” he said, “and that’s a challenge and a pressure that I carry every day.”

Irish Catholics want ordination of women to priesthood, relaxation of clerical celibacy

 Stock image

A landmark report on the views of tens of thousands of Irish Catholics on reform and the future direction of the Catholic Church has called for leadership and decision-making roles for women, including ordination to the diaconate and priesthood.

According to the National Synthesis report, which is the fruit of consultations begun in 2021 throughout the Irish Church’s 26 dioceses, the role of women was mentioned in almost every submission.

It said the exclusion of women from the diaconate was regarded “as particularly hurtful”, and many young people cannot understand the church’s position on women.

“Because of the disconnect between the church’s view of women and the role of women in wider society today,” young people perceive the church as “patriarchal” and “misogynistic”, the report said.

Welcoming the publication of the synthesis, former president, Professor Mary Mc- Aleese, told the Irish Independent: “The overwhelming view and priority of the People of God” is that “the exclusion and inequality visited upon women and LGBTIQ+ members is not Christ’s way.”

She said the church’s stance had to change if it was to survive and thrive.

The report stresses that the lessons of the past need to be learned, and describes the concealment of physical, sexual and emotional abuse by church personnel as an “open wound”.

Participants in the synthesis said the church is in need of inner healing at every level, and called for penance and atonement for abuse at a national level.

ADVERTISEMENT

The document, which was sent to the Vatican yesterday, acknowledges the impact in recent decades of a major decline in the practise of the faith, and in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Fifteen themes emerged from the consultations.

Apart from the role of women and the legacy of abuse, other themes include co-responsibility for lay people, greater accountability, transparency and good governance.

Many people said they felt decision-making and authority are exercised solely by priests and bishops.

On the issue of clergy, participants expressed appreciation for priests, their dedication, hard work, and pastoral care.

Many support a relaxation of clerical celibacy.

They also recognise that priests are over-worked and often feel burdened by the weight of governance and administration.

Concern was also expressed for an ageing clergy in Ireland.

Adult faith development, resources for lay ministries and collaborative decision- making were flagged by participants as “poor or non-existent”.

Elsewhere in the report, there was “a clear, overwhelming call for the full inclusion of LGBTQI+ people in the church, expressed by all ages and particularly by the young and by members of the LGBTQI+ community”.

The church’s rules and regulations for the divorced and remarried were seen as “draconian”.

Dr Nicola Brady, chair of the steering committee of the Irish Church’s Synodal Pathway, described some of the report’s findings as “stark” and said: “Many of the experiences shared are painful.”

According to Prof McAleese, the opportunity exists now “to radically reconfigure” the Synod of Bishops, extending its membership to reflect the voices of the laity, of women, LGBTQ+ Catholics and the many other marginalised groups.

Church must listen to what the faithful tell it – and act (Op-Ed)

 How women feel undervalued by the Catholic Church

Neither a ladder nor a telescope was required for the Catholic Church in Ireland to see its scale of decline. 

Archbishop of Tuam Dr Francis Duffy spelled it out dramatically earlier this month when he said: “All trends are dramatically downwards with no turning point in sight. I suggest you look at your priest, he may be the last in a long line of resident pastors and may not be replaced.”

So, it is no exaggeration to say the newly published National Synthesis Document represents a make-or-break moment. Its findings, based on consultation with thousands of Irish Catholics, represent a lifeline.

Some will view the demise as a tragedy, others will regard it as just deserts that an institution promising salvation has been brought down by its own weakness. But what this document is attempting to do is listen to the lay person.

It ought to surprise no one – other than an arcane doctrine-bound Vatican elite – that the role of women was a major concern for respondents.

A persistent complaint has been that the church is determined to protect the pulpit as a last bastion of the patriarchy, utterly impervious to change.

But if it is to find the new energy and vitality it so desperately needs, it must address the fact that, for many, the relegation of women is indefensible and unjust. Pope Francis has attempted to tilt the balance, but the moves have been tentative.

In 2020, the first woman was appointed to a managerial position in the Vatican’s most important office, the Secretariat of State. In the same year, the world’s bishops suggested Francis reconvene a commission he had created to study the ordination of women as permanent deacons. They would be able to perform some of the duties of priests but not celebrate mass or hear confessions.

For many Catholics, the lack of real power given to women within the church affirms its status as an anachronism.

ADVERTISEMENT
The treatment of the LGBTQ+ community was also high on the list, in terms of a failure to reach out or imagine a more inclusive future.

These welcome conversations were instigated by Francis in preparation for a synod in Rome in October next year.

Submissions also recorded how physical, sexual and emotional abuse and their concealment by the church in Ireland were described as an “open wound”.

The treatment of that wound is still a source of pain for too many.

And the time for unquestioning obedience has long ended.

The collapse of the moral authority of the church can only be rebuilt from the ground up.

This consultation confirms feelings of estrangement and betrayal.

The fact that the Vatican has chosen to involve its congregation in how it might reform will be regarded as positive.

But trust will only begin to be restored when it shows it has listened and acts on the answers, whether it likes them or not.

Vatican Bureaucrats Aim to End Heroic Vietnam War Chaplain Canonization

 Father Vincent Capodanno, A Priest Forever| National Catholic Register

An advisory panel of theological consultants recently voted to suspend the cause for sainthood for heroic military chaplain Fr. Vincent Capodanno. 

Writing to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican body responsible for canonization decisions, the theologians claimed that Fr. Capodanno, a member of the Maryknoll religious order and a U.S. Navy chaplain who served faithfully and courageously in the Vietnam War with the United States Marine Corps, did not deserve consideration for sainthood—despite the fact that he died on the battlefield while shielding a Marine from enemy machine-gun fire.  

Throughout his deployment with Marine combat units in the jungles of Vietnam, it has been documented that Fr. Capodanno “put the well-being of Marines above his own personal safety.… The priest would move among the wounded and dying on the battlefield to provide medical aid, comfort, and Last Rites.” 

Yet, in an especially shameful statement of cowardice, one of the Vatican consultants involved in the sainthood cause for Fr. Capodanno wrote: “With ongoing military actions in the world today (think Ukraine), raising someone from the military for veneration may not be appropriate for our Church.”

It is this statement, from a Vatican theologian who is completely out of touch with faithful Catholics throughout the world, that tells us everything we need to know about an increasingly out-of-touch Vatican bureaucracy that seems to be attempting to destroy everything that is good and true in the Church—and beyond. Claiming that “raising someone from the military” to sainthood would “not be appropriate” for our Church reveals the animosity that these Vatican-chosen consultants hold toward the rest of us.   

As the mother of a soldier in the United States Army who served courageously in Iraq, I find it difficult to understand the ignorance reflected in such a statement from a Vatican theologian who is so blind to the sacrifice that military families make. Some—like Fr. Capodanno’s family—have made the ultimate sacrifice. Catholics have always been over-represented in the military, and it is a disappointment for them to see how little their sacrifice is acknowledged by the elites within the Church.  

Fortunately, the unique sacrifice that Catholic chaplains have made has not gone completely unnoticed. There have been five Catholic priests—including Fr. Vincent Capodanno—who have earned the medal of honor from a grateful country. The citation for the Medal of Honor awarded to Fr. Capodanno posthumously in 1969 reads

In response to reports the 2nd Platoon of M Company was in danger of being overrun by a massed enemy assaulting force, Lt. Capodanno left the relative safety of the company command post and ran through an open area raked with fire, directly to the beleaguered platoon. Disregarding the intense enemy small arms automatic weapons, and mortar fire, he moved about the battlefield administering last rites to the dying and giving medical aid to the wounded. When an exploding mortar round inflicted painful multiple wounds to his arms and legs and severed a portion of his right hand, he steadfastly refused all medical aid. Instead, he directed corpsmen to help their wounded comrades and with calm vigor continued to move about the battlefield as he provided encouragement by voice and example to the valiant Marines. Upon encountering a wounded corpsman in the direct line of fire of an enemy machine gunner positioned approximately 15 yards away, Lt. Capodanno rushed a daring attempt to aid and assist the mortally wounded corpsman. At that instant, only inches from his goal, he was struck down by a burst of machine gun fire.

The story of Fr. Capodanno’s saintliness was described in a book by Fr. Daniel Mode which was based on more than 100 interviews with people whose lives were touched by the holy priest. In the book, The Grunt Padre: The Service and Sacrifice of Father Vincent Robert Capodanno, Vietnam, 1966-67, Fr. Mode includes the story of a severely injured Marine, Corporal Ray Harton, who regained consciousness on the battlefield to find Fr. Capodanno reassuring him that “Someone will be here to help you soon…God is with us all this day.” Fr. Capodanno later died on the battlefield from 27 bullet wounds.  

But this is not the end of the story in the cause for canonization. Archbishop Timothy Broglio, leader of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, told reporters for Catholic News Agency that the Vatican theologians “only make a recommendation to the congregation.…The postulator has already petitioned the congregation to appeal the decision and allow the postulator to respond to some of the questions raised by the theologians.” It is the dicastery that “has the responsibility ‘to determine if the process can continue.’”

At this point, it is important that faithful Catholics begin to pay attention to the ways in which a small but powerful number of Vatican theologians and bureaucrats are attempting to destroy everything that is good within our Church. The controversy surrounding Traditionis Custodes is just the latest example of the animosity that Vatican theologians and bureaucrats hold toward faithful Catholics. Fr. Capodanno said Mass—in Latin—for the soldiers on the battlefield in Vietnam. Ironically, the Latin Mass was likely used against him by the Vatican theologians who claimed that the devout priest was “too fastidious.”  

This is not the first time that theologians have attempted to denigrate the military—especially the United States military. Claiming that because Russia invaded Ukraine we need to disparage all soldiers is an ignorant statement, and the Vatican should be ashamed to have allowed that theologian’s words to stand.   

Heroism in the cause of freedom must be valued. The Father Capodanno Guild, a private Catholic association that was formed to help promote Fr. Capodanno’s canonization cause, has asked for prayers for this noble cause. Fr. Capodanno’s story is inspiring, and his sacrifice should be acknowledged by a grateful Catholic Church in need of saintly heroes right now. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Synod report sees disconnect between many Catholics and Church teaching, calls for more accountability

 Synod report sees disconnect between many Catholics and Church teaching, calls for more accountability

Catholics want greater transparency, participation in decision-making and accountability within parish and diocesan structures, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has said.

Publishing the synodal synthesis document – which was this week forwarded to the Holy See – the Primate of All-Ireland acknowledged that the report reflects the challenges of “a major decline in the practice of the faith, and in vocations to priesthood and religious life”.

“This problem can only be addressed with the deployment of significant resources into programmes for those who wish to deepen their own faith, spirituality and understanding of scripture at a personal or academic level,” the report says.

The synthesis, which is the fruit of the participation of tens of thousands of Catholics across all 26 dioceses, says that: “many young people cannot understand the Church’s position on women”.

“Because of the disconnect between the Church’s view of women and the role of women in wider society today, the Church is perceived as patriarchal and by some, as misogynistic,” it says.

“There was a clear, overwhelming call for the full inclusion of LGBTQI+ people in the Church, expressed by all ages and particularly by the young and by members of the LGBTQI+ community themselves.

“Some called for a change in Church teaching, asking if the Church is sufficiently mindful of developments with regard to human sexuality and the lived reality of LGBTQI+ couples,” the document notes.

A focus group of LGBTQI+ Catholics who participated in the synodal pathway said that the Church should apologise to that group. “This submission suggested that even though the Church rarely condemns gay people these days, it indirectly creates an atmosphere where physical, psychological and emotional abuse of gay people is tolerated and even encouraged”.

Many people who participated in the synod said they felt ill-equipped to articulate their faith in a secular environment.

“Our spiritual growth is stunted. As adult members of the Church, we are not sufficiently grounded in our faith, and do not have the confidence in speaking about our love of God,” one participant was quoted as saying.

“The synodal process highlighted the serious weaknesses in adult faith development in Ireland. Many of the submissions reported that people found it hard to engage with the questions, the concepts and the language relating to communion and mission,” the report said.

It says: “there is a felt need among many respondents for safe and dynamic spaces where people can come together to talk deeply about their faith and increase their knowledge of it.

“This problem can only be addressed with the deployment of significant resources into programmes for those who wish to deepen their own faith, spirituality and understanding of scripture at a personal or academic level.

“Some felt that if we invested half as many resources into the training and formation of people as we do into buildings, we could dramatically improve the life of the Church in Ireland today,” the synthesis asserts.

“The question also emerges whether many Irish Catholics are ‘sacramentalised but not evangelised’,” the report asks.

The role of women was a persistent theme in the discussions at parish and diocesan level. “Several of the submissions called for the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate and the priesthood. Their exclusion from the diaconate is regarded as particularly hurtful,” according to the synthesis.

But, some parishioners sounded a note of caution. “Others expressed a concern that a change in the Church’s teaching would be simply conforming to secular standards and contemporary culture.

“There are other minority, yet strong, voices that believe the Church, rooted in the Catholic Tradition, should not conform to secular standards when it comes to questions regarding gender, sexuality, and relationships. For others, the Church has no credibility in modern society as long as discrimination on the grounds of gender or sexuality exists,” the document says.

The issue of youth and the question of how the Church might engage with them, emerged universally across the synodal process.

“Multiple dioceses and organisations noted the absence of young people in parish communities and many submissions articulated a view that other youth organisations provide a home for young people that is more welcoming than that in parishes.

“There was an openness and honesty in responses from young people. They identified with faith and with the Gospel message and what we are called to as Church. One response clearly conveyed the sentiments expressed by so many: the one thing we, as young people, look for is sincerity. In many instances it was felt that the Church lacked this, or indeed pastoral awareness of the significant challenges faced by young people today. One notable example given was the mental health crisis faced by many young people,” it says.

However, amongst younger Catholics there were also divergent views on the approach the Church should take. “Many young people were critical of the Church regarding the role of women, clerical celibacy and its handling of the abuse crisis. A significant number disagreed with the Church’s teaching on sexuality and the Church’s position on sex was considered as a barrier to participation by some young people.

“On the other hand, some young people said that, for them, the Church’s teaching on sexuality is a welcome challenge,” it says articulating the opposing view.

Most participants appeared to have enjoyed the opportunity to be heard. “Those engaged in the synodal process called for unity in diversity, which does not entail a bland uniformity or avoidance of conflict but an ability to ‘endure conflict’

“Let us keep talking and the Holy Spirit will reveal the path,” one participant quoted in the report said.

Organisers noted that “There is a challenge to sustain the encounter and the participative nature of synodality, grounded in respectful listening, for long enough to arrive at the point where specific decisions are discerned to be necessary, given the risk that such decision points are inevitably difficult for those of a contrary disposition,” according to the document.

Dr Nicola Brady, chair of the synod steering committee insisted that: “Important questions have been set out for deeper reflection and pastoral action at every level of Church life and there will be many more opportunities for people to get involved and help shape this process”.

In a letter accompanying the 27-page report to Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops General Secretariat, Archbishop Martin noted that “since October 2021, tens of thousands of Catholics across Ireland have been engaging in prayerful listening and reflection on the theme chosen by Pope Francis: ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.’

“In a prayerful atmosphere, we heard feedback from the hundreds of conversations that had taken place across Ireland, and from the many submissions that had been collected. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus listening to Jesus, we too experienced our hearts burning within us as we gathered in his name,” he said.