Bishop to send report on ‘hot button’ issues to Rome

Bishop to send report on ‘hot button’ issues to Rome Bishop John Fleming

Bishop of Killala John Fleming will send a report to the Vatican outlining the views of Catholics in his diocese who want the Church to change on so-called “hot button” issues such as the ordination of women and the inclusion of gay people.

Dr Fleming (73) gave the commitment as part of a listening process across the 22 parishes in the diocese about what laypeople felt was pressing for the future of the Church.

The bishop confirmed to The Irish Catholic this week that the report was drafted and he would share it with the Irish bishops as part of the national synod process early next year and also with Pope Francis.

He said it was felt during the process that if controversial subjects were off the table laypeople would walk away from the process. As a result the bishop gave a commitment that the diocese would proceed on what it could at a local level. However, he vowed to bring the issue of making celibacy optional for priests, women’s ordination and the place of gay and lesbian Catholics in the Church to Pope Francis.

Bishop Fleming will also highlight these issues to his fellow members of the Irish hierarchy and to the Holy See via the Pope’s ambassador in Dublin papal nuncio Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo.

Dr Fleming said that for confidence in the process – which included 300 laypeople from across Killala – to be maintained, people expressing a desire to change Church teaching must know that the Pope would be made aware of their concerns.

Pope Francis has consistently rejected the idea of women priests. However, he recently appointed another commission to look at the possibility of ordaining female deacons.