Irish Catholics have demanded major changes in the church’s attitudes towards various different groups, including the LGBTQ+ community. A document entitled ‘The National Synthesis’ has been sent to Rome, featuring input from members of all 26 Catholic dioceses on the island of Ireland, as well as other religious congregations and interested parties.
The report was conducted in response to Pope Francis launching the worldwide Sydonal Process of listening and discernment in October 2021. Since that time, Catholics across Ireland “have been engaging in prayerful listening and reflection,” surrounding the Pope’s chosen theme – ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission’.
“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,” the document reads.
It continues by saying that the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people would involve “less judgemental language in Church teaching,” and “a revision of its understanding of human sexuality in light of recent scientific and sociological research, alongside a recognition of the lived realities of LGBTQI+ and other couples.”
In an LGBTQ+ focus group conducted as a part of the Sydonal Process, people called for an apology from the Church.
“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,” the report states.
In addition to becoming more welcoming and inclusive of queer people, the document also outlines that Irish Catholics want attitudes towards women, divorced or remarried people, and single parents to improve. It also urges the mandatory celibacy rule to be removed for priests.
— CatholicBishops (@CatholicBishops) August 16, 2022
Speaking on the newly published report, Archbishop Eamon Martin writes: “The National Synthesis document points to many challenges for the handing on of the faith in this country, including a need for inner healing and hope, especially among those who have suffered abuse by Church personnel and in Church institutions.”
He explains that the “listening process has identified the need to be more inclusive in outreach, reaching out to those who have left the Church behind and in some cases feel excluded, forgotten or ignored”.
Following its publication, former president of the Republic of Ireland Mary McAleese described the document as “explosive, life-altering, dogma altering, church altering”. She explained that it had come “not from the hierarchy, not from Rome, but from the people of God,” and that it demonstrated “the momentum of the people of God for change”.
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