Friday, June 14, 2024

Theologian slams hierarchicalism in diocesan mergers

The manner in which two West of Ireland dioceses were merged last April has shown that the Irish Church leadership talks the talk of synodality but doesn’t walk the walk according to a leading theologian. 

Fr Eugene Duffy, theologian and priest of the Diocese of Achonry, writing in the Furrow that “After 900 years, two diocese Achonry and Killala, would be merged with neighbouring dioceses…came as a shock to the people and priests of the dioceses concerned, none of who had been invited to attend” the announcement in Tuam cathedral. “It was an entirely hierarchical event…and once again exposed the sharp disconnect between the rhetoric of magisterial teaching and the reality of ecclesial life in practice.”

He adds: “Just as people and their priests were beginning to raise their expectations about the emergence of a more synodal style of church, their hopes have been undermined.” 

Dr Duffy asks: ”Perhaps one might have to accept the reality that, in fact nothing has changed.” 

He adds that a more Synodal approach should be taken with future boundary changes which might lead to “a much more imaginative and more meaningful reorganisation emerging.”