Heart  of the Church

that our members
have found interesting

Tom Hayden, Vincent Agyei and Leo Traynor at the Sharing Education and Learning for Life (SELL) Programme.   Read more

Recommended by Genevieve after reading the ACCCR newsletter

Observations from Near and Afar

Tommy Hayden and Leo Traynor

In Ireland, formation for Church ministry and for mission from the 60’s to the 80’s was very standard fare, with a lot of emphasis on rules, regulations and maintaining vision and methods that had been the norm from time immemorial. True, there had been the Second Vatican Council in the early 60’s, but it was felt that only lip service was being paid to what should have been a root and branch renewal of the Church. It was often left to individual teachers of theology and pastoral methodology – and sometimes even to students themselves – to really mine the wealth in the Council documents.

Again, it was often those same individuals who caught the new vison and insights of Liberation Theology, emerging from the 60’s onwards in the South American church and who made an attempt to incorporate it into formation. There was a feeling that there was more openness to this within independent missionary seminaries than in the mainline ones at the time. This meant that we were more open to a church that was grounded in people, with a real social conscience, a strong commitment to justice and more collaborative in terms of leadership and pastoral practice. There was a sense that we received a grounding for mission that was not shared by the Church in Ireland.

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Jan 11th, 2024 
(Updated Jan 12th, 2024) 

Reproduced with permission from Independent Catholic News 

Full Talk

Recommended by Helen

Our calling in dark times

by Jenny Sinclair

The Catholic tradition is quite explicit that the Church's relationship with the poor is central. The poor and excluded are supposed to be at the heart of the Church. This is very challenging for Churches that have become middle class.

'Walking together' - this phrase that we're using now - with poor people, does not mean just serving their needs. Many Churches fall into the trap of welfarism - that is, a defeatist politics that sees increasing social security benefits as the primary way to help poor people.

How different is this from the way of communion, where we enter into a relationship of solidarity which then naturally and organically advocates for jobs and investment to enable everyone to reach their aspirations. A relationship with people who are low paid means mutual respect and respecting their agency. There's a reciprocity though, that means hearing each other's stories, spending time together. Not a service-client relationship.

Catholic Social Teaching helps us stay true to mission.

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About John A Dick

Recommended by Valerie

Thinking about twenty twenty-four

John A Dick ends his first article for 2024 with:

We need to help build and support communities of truth-seekers and truth-speakers, within our friendship groups, parish communities, and professional associates. As we do this, we must emphasize the key values for communities of trust and truth:
(1) A focus on the human heart not just the brain: stressing active care, concern, and compassion for others. Jesus stressed love of neighbor. He didn’t say “just think nice thoughts about the other.”
(2) An openness to the deeper dimensions of our human experience. Call this a kind of meditative spirituality. Reality is much richer and more amazing than many people realize. Creator is with us, calling us to be creative.
(3) A stress on critically questioning all the information that bombards us day and night. Is everything now relative and up for grabs? What does the search for truth mean today?
(4) A stress on the genuine human values of fairness, trustworthiness, and honesty.

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