‘Catholic Church faces challenges’ (Letter to The Irish Times, 11 August 2020)
Breda O’Brien attributes Catholic Church problems and an alleged shortage of priestly vocations to weakness in our faith communities caused by hostile cultural forces (“Catholic Church faces challenges as places of worship reopen”, Opinion & Analysis, August 8th). I think her analysis is mistaken and avoids dealing with the many “own goal” issues over the past century which cry out for urgent reform within a closed patriarchal system.
Unfortunately, the powers that be refuse to listen to the People of God and good pastoral priests. Many Catholic adults who value democracy and justice for women in the leadership, governance and ministry of the church have walked away in the face of absolute intransigence.
I think the majority of Irish people do not reject the central Christian teachings that reality is gracious, God is love, life is multidimensional, and that our response should be joy, love, and care for all, plus ongoing action for justice. However, many Catholic adults disagree with limited clerical opinions on contraception, homophobia, the suppression of women and outdated hierarchical systems.
If celebration of the Eucharist is central to the development of faith communities, it is indeed tragic that vital sustenance is being denied to parishes worldwide because of man-made restrictions and medieval misogyny. There is no shortage of excellent women and men in every parish with the talents for priestly ministry and parish leadership. Catholic people are now aware that enforced celibacy is completely unjust, anti-woman and potentially dangerous in some cases.
We need to speak out for reform so the Good News may be accessible to all. It is not possible to evangelise today in the language of sexism, misogyny, patriarchy, homophobia or exclusion.
Dundrum, Dublin 16.