Church renewal plan hit by delays

Share the Good News has hit a barrier due to resource allocation

A 10-year national plan to renew the Church in Ireland has come to a standstill, sources close to the process have told The Irish Catholic.

Just two years into the implementation of Share the Good News: the National Directory for Catechesis (SGN), progress has hit a barrier at national level due to a delay by the hierarchy in allocating resources.

The plan was launched in January 2011, and was highlighted as a major part of the renewal of the Church in Ireland. An implementation committee was given two years to draw up the long-term strategy for the directory’s roll out nationwide. This was to be handed over to a new National Faith Development Team made up of the executive secretaries of the five Episcopal Commissions.

However, the Bishops’ Conference has not yet formally appointed the National Faith Development Team despite a deadline of June this year, leaving the original committee to disband in July without handing over responsibility.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin recently expressed a sense of frustration at the slow pace of progression when he told a national religious education conference that “progress in implementing Share the Good News is not as forceful as is needed”.


A source told The Irish Catholic that there is “a great deal of disappointment and disillusionment among members of the implementation committee that nothing is being done to progress this” and warned that “the delay is jeopardising faith development within the Church”.

While work continues at a parish and diocesan level, there is a concern that “progress already made to help see through the vision of SGN is being drained away”.

It is unclear if the delay to move forward is due to financial concerns or staffing issues, but one source said that there is confusion as to “who is doing what job or whether they can still do their current job while taking on another role”.

These delays come at a time when the post of National Director for Catechetics, responsible for faith formation throughout the Church, has been vacant for two years after the retirement of Brendan O’Reilly.

Questions to the Catholic Communications Office on the issue were unanswered as The Irish Catholic went to press this week.