Give lay people a greater role

Dear Editor, How interesting to read in The Irish Catholic on January 2, that the ‘Pope Francis effect’ is credited with a surge in numbers at Christmas Masses over and above figures in previous years, and then to read, on the turn of the page, Editor Michael Kelly’s argument for ‘Finding space for the people of God in the Church’ amid the renewal and reform so apparent in this pontificate to date.

While the one relates to the return of parishioners to their local churches (certainly a positive story and a phenomenon providing sure evidence that all is not lost for the Faith in this country), and Mr Kelly’s piece deals with the deeper ‘role’ envisaged by Lumen Gentium for laypeople within the structures of the Church, there is surely food for thought for those bishops reading the adjacent pages of The Irish Catholic over the Christmas period as to the continuing willingness of Irish people to be ‘part’ of the Church they do not feel connected to throughout the remainder of the year – perhaps excluding Easter.

Responding to the numbers surge, in the same edition, Bishop Denis Nulty states that “the challenge is to keep them with us” and once again Pope Francis is drawn in, via his statement that the Church is an “open door”.

Could it be that the long anticipated greater role for Catholics who show willing still to pass through the open door is the answer to the ‘numbers question’ our hierarchy has long struggled with, and Pope Francis the unconscious prompting for a meeting of minds between pastors and laity on a truly universal Church?

Yours etc.,

John McManus,


Dublin 24.