The Synod on Synodality has been rightly critiqued for numerous reasons. That doesn’t mean we should ignore the results of the local meetings…
Today I read a nice synopsis of the Irish meetings. Ireland has of course been in a cultural and ecclesiastical free fall for a while now. But still about 75% of people who live there identify themselves as Catholic, regardless of whether they actually believe and practice the Faith regularly (a much lower number to be sure, maybe around 15%). There might be some lessons to reflect upon.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments. Did you go to a synod meeting? What was your experience?
2 thoughts on “Ireland’s Metasynod”
This is really interesting. Regarding the desperate desire to include young people: I am a relatively young person (31), i was received into the Church in 2018, I have been active in the “young adult ministry”, am active now in the Legion of Mary, etc etc. I consider myself active. My parish is not very traditionalist, but my diocese is one of the better ones I would say and so our most liberal parish probably seems very traditionalist to other diocese.
Anyway, I heard about the “listening sessions” happening at my parish (in USA) and i had two thoughts: “that would be interesting” followed quickly by “whats the point”. At least from where I am sitting, I see 50% of Catholic young people engaging with the Church and trying to be involved, 30% desperate to deepen their faith, and 20% just going through the motions. Again—my diocese may be unusual in this regard.
Regarding faith formation: I taught 8th grade ccd this year—confirmation year. My classroom was 25% completely uninterested in anything I had to say, 70% aware and passively learning a lot from their parents or the internet or their own study, and 5% completely on fire and enthusiastic and invested in their faith. The program I was given to feed these kids—this was my first year and I have no prior experience with teaching—was not great. My co-catechist was actively falling away from the Church due to personal issues and did not complete the year with me (pray for him, please). When I went through RCIA i had no less than 6 different and independent occasions where people told me they wished there were classes for existing Catholics because they felt they would understand better as adults.
Early faith formation os extremely important, but it is probably not important that it be centrally administered. If Churchs do not have the resources to offer religious education they should not feel obligated to do so, amd should instead offer some kind of education they DO have the resources for. People are hungry for truth but honestly just dont know where to find it. Apathetic parents and antagonistic teachers, friends, and media turn teach kids to suppress this hunger so they turn into young adults who at best know they should be engaged with the Church but dont understand why or how.
Im an accountant, I have an MBA, I think sometimes in business terms. What is the one thing every Parish has that no one can get anywhere else?
Sacraments. Use the sacraments to draw people in. Use the sacraments to educate people. Use the sacraments to connect with people. I am not an expert, but to me that is the strategic advantage that the Church has that is not being effectively leveraged. What if the Church told a student “no, you cant be confirmed” for some valid reason? That would pop some brains and drive some curious questions. Instead i was told that nothing i taught mattered to my ccd students because every single one of them would be confirmed no matter what.
If the church doesnt treat sacraments like they are special and important, the lay people wont treat them that way either. Thats the bottom line.
This turned into a bit of a screed, sorry for that. God bless you, thank you for this!
Right on regarding the sacraments, including confirmation. I was thinking about doing a post on this topic… maybe some kids simply need to be informed that they will do more harm than good to themselves by being confirmed… but there’s a hive of issues here, pastoral, spiritual, and canonical.
Further, if the Church doesn’t markedly depart from the imitation of the world, then she offers rocky soil for the kids. Seriously “conservative” liturgy, even if not the TLM, is a good start… the world doesn’t offer that, and it does rock music way better.
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