Read the reports from the five open meetings that took place around the diocese in response to the recent Papal letter to the Catholics of Ireland.

Diocesan Gatherings

Click on links to download

summary report of what people said at these meetings (also see below)

full text of the comments made from the floor at these meetings

Up to 300 parishioners from across the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin have gathered over the course of five meetings to discuss the recent Papal Letter from Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland.

The first two of these meetings were held in venues in Carlow and Portarlington on March 25th when Baroness Nuala O’ Loan, former ombudsman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland, was the guest speaker (pictured above).

The three other meetings were held on April 27th (Goresbridge), May 5th (Naas) and May 13th (Killeigh) with guest speakers Anne Kelleher (CEO CEIST) and Ned Prendergast (Co-ordinator of Faith Development Team, CEIST).


How we are…

  • Glad to be here and to have the opportunity to discuss this together as Church.
  • Sad that Bishop Jim resigned but feel that it was the right thing to do. His legacy may be an inspiration for each of us to challenge the prevailing culture.
  • An absence of young people, new Irish and people in their 30’s/40’s at the meetings.
  • While one is too many, relief that the reported child sexual abuse cases in Kildare & Leighlin relate to seven priests.*
  • Good to hear the Safeguarding Children structures in place and a welcome of the information provided at these meetings. A call for on-going transparency, communication and review of these structures.
  • A belief that there is something seriously wrong with the patriarchal and hierarchical model that has us where we are; more lay involvement needed in the local parish.

Our response to the Pope’s letter…

  • While there was support for its content there was also a sense that at best, it did no further damage.
  • The apology, coming in section 6, was too far down in the letter. The people needed the Pope to say sorry before anything else.
  • The relevance of the letter had diminished by the final rounds of meetings.
  • There was a variety of response to how the letter was communicated both from the hierarchy and at parish level. This ranged from satisfied to very disappointed.
  • The concerns we have about our diocese and church….
  • Communication is patchy throughout the diocese. In direct response to these meetings, there was a concern that they had not been sufficiently advertised. There may be an over reliance on the website many people involved in parishes don’t have web access.
  • Concern was expressed at the capacity of a newly appointed parish priest to undo any
  • pre-existing structures in a parish.
  • There was much comment and discussion on the role of women in the Church today.

The challenge for Kildare and Leighlin now is to…

  • Put Jesus and the people of God at the centre of all that we do rather than institutions or structures that may stand in the way of gospel-based change.
  • Recognise that the dialogue and listening must continue at parish and diocesan level. This requires the provision of structures to enable this to happen.
  • Put in place structures to ensure that lay people are enabled to exercise leadership roles in parishes and at diocesan level. Structures also need to be put in place to facilitate meaningful lay participation at all levels of church life in order to make real the vision of Vatican II that we are “Pobal Dé”, we are the Church. This will require the provision of training for leadership and for participation in the life of the church.
  • Facilitate the involvement of women, young people and newcomers in our parishes.
  • Respond to the concerns expressed that women are excluded from leadership and sacramental roles in the Church.
  • Review the diocesan appointment procedure of parish priests to take into account and respect the context into which an appointment is made.