Synod can’t become promotion for individual agendas, says bishop

Synod can’t become promotion for individual agendas, says bishop Bishop Donal McKeown

Bishop Donal McKeown warned that Ireland’s synodal process will “go nowhere if the desired outcome is promoting individual agendas” in a homily, June 13.

Reflecting on how the Church in Ireland can open itself to face the future through the synodal process, announced earlier this year, the bishop of Derry said it is “important that we learn to live the uncomfortable message of Jesus”.

“The entire synodal process for the Church in Ireland will go nowhere if the desired outcome is promoting our individual agendas and often divisive arguments,” Bishop McKeown said.

“Any Church movement that seeks to be effective by conforming its message to passing cultural emphases is a witness to its own folly rather than to the wise folly of the Cross,” he continued.


Dr McKeown warned that a Church “that is afraid to take the road less travelled is not walking with Jesus”.

For the synodal process to be effective, the bishop said, the Church must act on “the radical witness of those who dedicate their lives to Christ, trusting that God will give growth through their unreasonable generosity”.

He pointed to the example of the “enormous idealism and generosity” that marked the Church in Ireland for centuries.

“Many young people dedicated their lives to bringing hope and healing to the furthest corners of the world and the dirtiest streets of our towns,” Bishop McKeown continued.

Referring to the parable of the mustard seed, Bishop McKeown said “the only question to be asked by Jesus’ little disciples is ‘What does God want of the Church in Ireland today?’ The irresistible growth of the little mustard seed will always win through. Our job is to listen and watch for signs of that growth so that we can facilitate it.”