Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Parish Pastoral Councils are the Future for our Church ? - I don't agree...

Bishop Brendan Leahy recently stated that Parish Pastoral Councils are the future for our Church. I find that
very disheartening to hear.  If you are going to have Parish Councils well at least have each member properly catechised in the Catholic faith.  Because I fear many are not.  I know where some members of even Diocesan as well as Parish councils who are involved in 'new age activities' and some have no comprehension of what the Holy Mass is about.  These are lay people who end up making decisions in Parishes which have had disastrous effects on the Catholic spiritual life of communities.  I believe that no one should be a member of a Parish or Diocesan council without having proper Catechesis and all should be given a written or oral exam on basic questions of their faith if they wish to apply for a seat on the Parish council and even more so for a Diocesan council.  They should also be obedient to the Teachings of the Church and have respect for the ministerial role of the Priest.

Unfortunately some Priests feel that they should allow the lay people to make the decisions and that they take a back seat.  I think the abuse crisis has in some ways sadly contributed to that. We still want our Priests to be shepherds, to be leaders.  We need them to make decisions and not be afraid to do so.  But I think if they want lay people to make decisions, well then those lay people should be well informed in their faith and if they are not they have no place on a council.

But I think if we leave everything up to Parish Councils as they are at present, (as many members are not Catechised properly), we are heading for disaster and we will have far less vocations and even more closures of Parishes.  The clericalisation of the laity has gone too far in many places and it is causing stagnation.

I have great respect for our Bishops but we are also allowed to disagree with them.  Please pray for our Bishops in Ireland and pray for a real renewal in our Church, for new life, for more Catechesis and more Preaching on morality.  Souls are dying and suffering because of the lack of proper spiritual nourishment for a very long time in Ireland.

The Article on Bishop Leahy on Parish Councils: The Irish Catholic - Parish Pastoral Councils are the future


  1. I think I know where you are coming from on this Anne. In theory, if I understand right, these PCs are only supposed to deal with mundane things such as buildings and finances, and have no say, for example, in things to do with liturgy and catchesis. But, it can be hard to separate the two sometimes ... if the priest wants to run a course in the parish and the PC refuses to finance it they can effectively block catechetical efforts ... and they can effect liturgy by refusing to pay for or allow needed alterations to the church ...
    Wishing you a joyful and penitential Advent,
    Paddy/Fr Levi

    1. Thanks for your comment Fr.Levi (Paddy). I didn't realise these councils had so much power. I think that is very sad and I am beginning to see now why so much damage is being done in Parishes. It is a pity we cannot allow Priests to make decisions on the Parish they run. I mean we don't have committees for dentists, or doctors to ask them how to treat their patients now do we ? All of this must make Priests feel redundant in some ways and somehow powerless to do things in their Parishes. The Laity should not dictate so much and it is disheartening to hear that they can block Catechesis. Really I think the whole issue of decision making with regard to these councils should be reviewed. It is the spiritual welfare of the Parish that is at stake. Thank you for your good wishes and please pray for my mother who is ill at this time in hospital. God bless you.

    2. Well, let's not be too bleak about it all! On the other hand, they do free the priest up to do what he was ordained for ... which isn't endless paperwork, administration, etc; & in a good parish, members of the council would, I'm sure, share the vision of their priest for evangelisation & not use their power over the purse strings to block things.


Please be respectful in your comments. Thank you.