“Pope Francis has invited the global church to a conversation about our future, and to share stories of our reality right now. We are called to dream dreams together, and he wants everyone’s voice to count. The conversations we are having across the diocese are going on all round the world, and all the findings will be discussed in a diocesan gathering in March 2022 followed by a written response that we will publish and that will form part of the national submission.”
Below is the submission of our Parish to the Diocese of Northampton:
There were three Conversations held in our Parish in which all four questions were considered. Aproximately 25 People attended in total.
Additionally we received two written submissions from two of our teenage parishioners.
Themes emerging from our conversations
Question One: What does it mean to be a Catholic?
To be a follower / disciple of Jesus Christ –being in love with him.
Fulfillment, sense of family, being around like minded people – worldwide community.
Being under the authority of the Pope
Rooted and immersed in the sacraments.
Having the celebration of Mass at the centre of one’s life.
To be rooted in history – a real and tangible connection with the saints.
Identity and something valuable to pass on.
Question Two: What are some of your experiences of the Church doing something well?
The Second Vatican Council and its implementation.
The Church wraps itself around you with love in times of personal crisis.
Religious Education in our Catholic Schools.
Universality of the Church.
Good and swift response to the challenges of the pandemic with the provision of livestreaming.
Effective Marriage support.
Effective bereavement support.
Modern and creative catechesis.
Question Three: What are some of your experiences of when things have not gone so well?
Clergy abuse crisis. Culture of secrecy and cover-up. Seeking to protect the institution.
Atrocities in the Irish Church especially around the care of children and vulnerable people.
The Vatican appears to be too political and divided.
Too much pressure placed upon clergy – not given enough support or encouragement.
Lack of pastoral direction from the centre regarding issues related to LGBT +.
Lack of engagement with young people.
Quality of liturgy in some parishes is very poor stemming from a culture of complacency.
Pope Francis often appears to be too negative and uninspiring. Too critical of the clergy.
Question Four: What are our dreams for the Church?
More consistent pastoral approach from the clergy – presently no one priest seems to say the same as another. Better training needed?
Clerical celibacy should be optional.
Women’s Ordination should be reexamined.
Update Catechism to reflect Church teaching regarding transgender and LGBT + issues.
More educational resources for home Catechesis as well as for schools.
More activities for young people.
Pope Francis should be more supportive and less negative of his Priests. Perhaps he could smile more to radiate the joy of the Gospel.
Female servers at all Masses including in the Extraordinary form.
Separate robing facilities for male and female servers.