08 November 2018, The Tablet

New reform group calls for Church to rethink sexuality

A new group promoting church reform in a range of areas including sexuality, education and the role of women in the Church has been launched by a Dublin parish priest.

Fr Joe McDonald founded the Roncalli Community, which is named after Pope John XXIII, who convened the Second Vatican Council. Fr McDonald is author of Why the Irish Church Deserves to Die, and was one of the victims of clerical abuse who met Pope Francis in Dublin in August.

“I think sexuality is the area where we as a Church have made the greatest mess,” Fr McDonald told The Tablet. “We need a major rethink of how we present sexuality.” He said this should bear on every level in the faith community, from school through to Catholic teacher training colleges.

“This rethink would also have something to say about how we present sexuality in the seminary,” he said. “For example, which is the most important question for a young man presenting for priesthood: are you straight or gay, or can you live celibacy healthily?”

The group’s reform agenda includes a call to replace seminaries with “satellite mini seminaries in frontline parishes”; shorter terms for bishops; inviting back where appropriate those who have left ministry; involving women in formation for ministry and at every level including governance.

“To call for reform of the Church is not treachery – it is a cry of love,” Fr McDonald told The Tablet.

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