Speakers at a conference in Dublin, Ireland, on May 7, sponsored by Ireland’s Association of Catholic Priests, called on the hierarchy to open structures of dialogue with lay Catholics about the future of the church. The A.C.P. has called for a re-evaluation of the church’s teaching on sexuality and a “redesigning” of ministry “to incorporate the gifts, wisdom and expertise of the entire faith community, male and female.” The Rev. Gerry O’Hanlon said the crisis of sexual abuse by members of the clergy and its serious mishandling by church leaders have revealed deeper fault lines in the national and universal church. Participants pointed to the report from the recent apostolic visitation of the Irish church, which criticized a “fairly widespread” tendency among Irish Catholics to hold views contrary to the teaching of the church, as an indication that Irish Catholics are eager for reform.
Irish Seek Dialogue