THE DIRTY BUSINESS OF REFORM

I guess in my head I knew that the business of reform was not going to be popular. However it is only in recent days that it has begun to dawn on me just how dirty a business it might be. As the launch of my reform initiative, The Roncalli Community, draws closer, efforts to discourage me from this work have intensified. Attempts to throw me of my path, range from: ‘you’re wasting your time’, to ‘you’re being disloyal’ to ‘do you honestly believe this is the Lord’s work?’

Maybe just to take my cue from this last comment, yes I do. I firmly believe the work of reform is the work of the Lord. I am convinced of this. I see this not as disloyalty but rather a labour of love for the Church. I believe this work is both essential and urgent. This is what the Roncalli Community is all about. A number of priests have been in touch telling me that they agree with much of what I am saying but feel that to be associated with this endeavour may do them harm. Whilst I can understand this, it is in itself further evidence of the need for reform.

Quite often when I speak of reform I am accused of being far too vague, of indulging in waffle. This week’s rumblings seeks to put some meat on the bones of the project. Listed below are some of the headings for reform that we will explore in the new Roncalli Community should you decide to join. These do not represent decisions but rather issues for prayer, discussion and possibly prophetic action.

Women at every level including governance
Women as future of the Church
Three week yearly refresher courses in Knock for priests in ministry
Minimum of six months off after six years in role
Closure of seminaries
Satellite mini seminaries in front line parishes
Lift the stigma re seminary formation and homosexuality
Accept Ireland as a Mission field and with this acceptance the consequences for formation
Women and men formed for the new mission of the Church
Theology of prophecy
Close half the churches in the diocese
Green the Church, presbyteries
Huge sale of church land largely for social housing
Building of purpose build rectories, accommodating semi communal living
These Centre’s to be responsible for ten/twelve parishes
Develop the celebration of Laurence O’Toole across the diocese
Suspension of Confirmation
Seekers of the Spirit preparation course for young adults for Confirmation
Minimum of three hours preparation for Baptism
Minimum of five hours preparation for Marriage
Restoration of Benediction
Monastery Day toe in waters of Siloe
Prophetic protest. Target the minister of health or the abortion clinic
Restore Midnight Mass at Midnight
Ensure that at least one Church in each cluster is open for Confession every Friday
Revamp Confession
Build on the Confessions in shopping Centre idea to fuller shopping Centre ministry
Sacred but modern music/ child friendly dramatisations of Gospel stories in shopping malls
Mass in Mall
Choices for people to have Catholic funeral outside Mass
Choices for people to have marriage celebration outside Mass
At least one Sunday School per cluster of parishes
3/6 year terms for bishops
Selection of Bishops how and by whom
Women as moderators/ administrators of diocese
Prudence re more money for historical compensation
Stop saying abuse will not happen again
New theology of sexuality beautiful not dirty
Parish as schools of prayer/ teaching contemplation
Explain Mass
Greater welcome for LGBT into Church
Blessings for aforementioned
Blessings for those in second unions
Divest two thirds of Catholic schools
Monthly gathering of other Christian denominations
End of reserved Eucharist end of tabernacles
Recovery of sacred silence
Monasteries: curse of over talkative monk
Reparations public act of penance once a month pro cathedral
General Amnesty of many dislocated groups
Liturgy for all the alienated constituencies

This is by no means exhaustive but forms part of the body of work that we face in the coming months.

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