Young Catholics in Ireland Say Their Voices Have Not Been Heard During Synodal Process

They express concern that the synodal process underway might falsely give the impression that all Catholics in Ireland would like to see changes made.

A Celtic cross is seen on the hill at Cashel, Tipperary, Ireland.
A Celtic cross is seen on the hill at Cashel, Tipperary, Ireland. (photo: Tom Haymes / (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0))

A group of 500 young Catholics in Ireland have signed a letter saying they love the Church’s teaching but that their voices had not been heard in the process leading up to the Synod on Synodality in Rome. 

They express concern that the synodal process underway might falsely give the impression that all Catholics in Ireland would like to see changes made.

The letter is addressed to the Synod Steering Committee, responsible for gathering and summarizing responses to the questions posed in recent questionnaires for the Irish Synodal Pathway.

A copy was also sent to the bishops of Ireland.

Speaking to the Irish Catholic, Peadar Hand, one of the letter’s organizers, said, “among people who are actually practicing and trying their best to live their faith, there’s no desire for [a change in Church teaching].”

“The duty of the Church is not to change with the world, but to change the world,” he continued.

The letter reads: “As young practicing Catholics, we would like you to hear our voices regarding developments with the Synodal Synthesis.”

“We have concerns that following the presentations at the Pre-Synodal National Gathering in June, the emerging synthesis risks presenting a false conclusion, namely that the Sensus Fidei is in conflict with current church teaching and practice. This relates in particular to human sexuality, marriage and ordained ministry.”

The sensus fidei, or sensus fidelium, is defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as “the supernatural appreciation of faith on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals.”

CNA has reached out to the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference for comment.

Pope Francis announced a Synod on Synodality in March 2020 in order “to provide an opportunity for the entire People of God to discern together how to move forward on the path towards being a more synodal Church in the long term.”

The synodal process to prepare the synod started with consultations at the diocesan level in October 2021. A continental phase is scheduled to commence in March 2023, according to the Synod on Synodality’s website. The final and universal phase will begin with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” at the Vatican in October 2023.

US Synod Synthesis Shows ‘Desire for Greater Communion’

The Latin Rite synthesis noted several themes: enduring wounds; enhancing communion and participation in the life of the Church; ongoing formation for mission; and engaging discernment. According to the report, about 700,000 people participated in the diocesan phase of the synod in the U.S., out of 66.8 million Catholics in the country.