The Catholic Church’s Future
A report by Ethan Loughrey
At a time when the Church faces fresh challenges in the wake of sexual abuse scandals, lower mass attendance and most recently, further implications about Cardinal Brady by This World’s programme; how do the young men and women that make up the Church feel about its future?
Many young Catholics in the country today are understandably disheartened, given the scale of problems their Church has faced, with little to no end in sight.
What some may be surprised to learn however is the air of hope that exists.
Reverend Ryan Mc Aleer, a twenty-three-year old seminarian currently studying in the Vatican, told me, “There’s certainly no denying that this has been a very difficult time in the Irish Church, and continues to be so, but as an institution whose sole purpose is to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to people of every generation, we always have reason to hope… since the message we proclaim does not depend on us, nor on our own worthiness… it is a message which answers the deepest yearning of every human heart.”
Francis Mc Caughan, a member of the Domincians – a lay organisation of the Church – believes there is reason to be positive. He likened some of the trials currently faced by the Church, to those of the Church at the time of the group’s founder, St. Dominic, 800 years ago.
He said, “This week is proving exceptionally challenging… Catholics woke up today feeling a wide range of emotions, not many of them good… Is there a better time to consider what it is you’re being called to? Being an adult in the Church means working for its mission. In times like today, we need Saints.”
He added to this, that “We [Catholics] had best get started.”
Claire Corr is a student at Queen’s University Belfast, and has just set up a new Chaplaincy Woman’s Group.
‘Really exciting things are going to be happening. It’s not exclusively for Catholics, anyone can come along. In the long term, we’re hoping to fundraise to go to Brazil and be a part of a social outreach program, as well as be a part of the next World Youth Day!”
Young Catholics are by no means dismissive, nor naive of the seriousness and scope of the trials that face the Church. This hope, in a line, can be summed up from a phrase given by Rev. McAleer, “”Ecclesia semper reformanda est” – the Church is always being reformed.