The Irish Synod

On 10th March 2021, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference announced a new Synodal Pathway for the Catholic Church in Ireland leading to the holding of a National Synodal Assembly within the next five years.

The Bishops summarise the purpose of the Synod as: Solidarity, Outreach to the Peripheries and the Promise of a New Pentecost. They say they will be “listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church in an Ireland faced with rapid transformation.”

In particular the bishops website tells us that the Synod will examine:

Secularisation of Society.
Shocking Revelations regarding historical abuse.
The need to promote peace-making and a culture of welcome.
Listening to the Cry for Transparency – greater participation and accountability in the Church.
Discovering the Family as “Domestic Church”. We see the tremendous potential for the support and renewal of faith within the family. The restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic prompted a new discovery of the family as the “domestic Church”.

Connecting with Young People.
Honouring the Contribution of Women – the critical need to honour the contribution of women, to hear their deep concerns, to formally recognise their roles and articulate new models of co-responsibility and leadership involving all lay people – women and men.

In other words it the Synod will be a checklist for the progressive agenda to secularise the Church and is likely to promote ideas such as the ordination of women (dressed up as female deacons), the recognition of same sex couples etc.

It does not appear to be willing to address the serious problems facing the Church in Ireland such as the lack of meaningful Catechesis, the poor formation of many Catholics, the decline in Mass attendance, the lack of a serious vocations programme etc.

While it would be imprudent to judge the outcome of the Synod early indications and recent pronouncements of some bishops are not encouraging. We will monitor developments as they occur.

Catholic Action
On a positive note this issue of Catholic Voice shows what can be done when faithful and well formed Catholics are motivated to Catholic Action – for an example of this see John Lacken’s article on page 17. This is a good example of the importance of Catholic Action and shows that Catholics on the ground can achieve change for good and that shepherds will listen to the heartfelt and respectful pleas for fidelity. It shows that even in these difficult times we must never give up fighting for the Truth – read it and be encouraged to do similar in your parish or diocese.

It’s “Not An Act of Charity” to Withhold the Truth – Cardinal
There is “no need” to modify the statement in the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the morality of homosexual acts, Utrecht Cardinal Willem Eijk, of the Netherlands, a trained physician, has said.

“One cannot escape making clear that sexual acts between people of the same sex are intrinsically evil, as are all sexual acts which are not marital acts and are not open to the gift of motherhood and fatherhood,” he explained to the National Catholic Register.

Homosexual acts, he added, are against nature, that is, against God’s created order. He reminds that the Church’s teaching stems from Holy Scripture and is “unchangeable” because it has been taught throughout the whole Tradition of the Church.

His Eminence clarifies that it is “not an act of charity” to withhold the truth on God’s created order and thus on the moral natural law, because this hinders people from following Christ.

It is likely that the Cardinal will be persecuted for proclaiming the truth because the Western “democracies” don’t allow freedom of expression when it comes to the all powerful LGBT lobby.

Irish Priests Under Penal Laws Once Again
The government sponsored suppression of our faith continues and while we may see a return to public worship at some point in May it is clear from government announcements that restrictions on numbers will remain in place for the foreseeable future. As we go to press it looks likely that attendance at Mass will be limited to 50 people regardless of the size of the church – this is utter nonsense. If restrictions are still necessary then the numbers allowrd to attend must be in accord with existing social distancing rules meaning that it would be possible for our larger churches to allow hundreds of worshippers in a safe manner.

In the meantime the persecution of faithful priests and catholics continues. There is a video on social media showing the heavy handed tactics of An Garda Siochana in Athlone. Young American priest Father Patrick Kimball was asked to leave his confessional at the Corpus Christi Church in Athlone where he was confessing a small number of people and offering Mass ( the crime of 2021). The Garda then proceeded to make their presence felt disrupting the small number of people who were praying after Mass and demanding that they leave the church – the scene looked more like something one would expect in North Korea and was totally unnecessary.

Meanwhile, Bishop Athanasius Schneider is sending his support to Irish Catholics who gather for Rosary rallies in front of their churches in defiance of the regime which has made attendance at Mass a “criminal offence.” Bishop Schneider who grew up under communist persecution says that the current suppression of Mass by the Irish government is “tyrannic” and “draconian.”

For him, it is clear that such a “systematic suppression of the Holy Mass exceeds the mere health safety.” He hails the “heroic example” of Irish Catholics who during the time of the Penal laws clandestinely celebrated Mass all over the island. Let us pray that Irish bishops join him in encouraging Catholics to avail of the sacraments and resist the persecution of secular authorities.