Priest says Catholic Church fails to involve the laity in its work


That the Catholic Church in Ireland has failed to use the gifts of lay people is "absolutely wrong", Father Gerard Moloney has said.

This tells people "the church is really an elite club for ordained males only, in which committed lay people can expect no real role," he said.

In an editorial in Reality magazine Father Moloney said "it would be scandalous" were the new permanent diaconate to be used "as a substitute for real and meaningful involvement by lay people".

In October the Irish bishops said they were seeking Vatican approval for a permanent diaconate. Men only may be ordained deacons. The Vatican, however, has set up a commission to investigate women being made deacons.

Warning against the use of deacons as a substitute for involvement by the laity, Father Moloney said "we in Ireland have a highly clerical church. One which allows lay people little scope to use their gifts and talents."

If the diaconate was going to reinforce the clericalist mentality of the church, that would "truly be a tragedy". If church leaders failed to facilitate lay involvement in the life of the church, "then that will be more than a tragedy - it will be a disaster from which the church may not recover," he added.