Primate calls for ‘listening Church’ to plot future direction

Primate calls for ‘listening Church’ to plot future direction Archbishop Eamon Martin


Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin has said the Church in Ireland needs to embrace the model of engagement of Pope Francis and think seriously about a national synod or meeting of the Church here.

Fresh from the month-long Synod of Bishops in Rome at which the Pontiff appealed for bishops to be more responsive to the voices of parishioners, Archbishop Eamon told The Irish Catholic that he wants to focus on a “listening Church” that “engages people on all levels”.

Discernment and synodality have been key themes of Pope Francis over the last five years and he has urged members of the hierarchy to embrace structures that help people to discern together where God is leading the Church.

Asked about the issue of diocesan synods leading to a national synod on challenges facing the Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon said he hoped “we could take the whole question of youth, and that in itself would form a really exciting, and really engaging process over the next year or two for example.”

“To listen to the youth of Ireland and particularly to engage with them on what was discussed at universal level in the Church, how much of that resonates with the experiences and the needs of young adults in Ireland, which to me would be a very interesting synodal process,” he said.


“I’m bringing back from the synod not only some concrete ideas about pastoral strategies that will engage youth but I’m also bringing back this question about how can we in Ireland become a more synodal Church. In other words are we using all of the instruments that are already there effectively,” he asked. The

Primate exampled parish pastoral councils and diocesan pastoral councils asking “is there sufficient engagement, listening and consultation going on at grassroots level within the Church in Ireland?”

Archbishop Eamon said it would be a key priority at the December meeting of the hierarchy. “I would certainly like to raise the issue with the Irish bishops when we get the opportunity in our December meeting about the possibility of evaluating the potential of a more synodal Church in Ireland”.

The archbishop said this is a question that he’d like to take up with the bishops of Ireland in coming months “as we reflect on the youth synod. Because that process that was used, where we tried to hear and listen to young people, we brought it to the synod in Rome and now come back with the ideas.”