Take the Survey on the (Male-only Permanent) Diaconate in Ireland

diaconateTwo grassroots Catholic associations, We are Church and the Association of Catholics in Ireland, are conducting an online survey on the Diaconate in Ireland.

The survey comes just weeks after a protest group in Co. Clare challenged Bishop of Killaloe Kieran O’Reilly over the plan to introduce the male-only permanent diaconate in Killaloe diocese.

The survey only takes 3 minutes to complete. It is confidential and only the aggregate results will be published.

Click on the link below to take the survey.

The Story of the Clare Women

The group is led by a core of six women, but held a larger public protest meeting last month attended primarily by women but also by clergy and laymen. After the meeting, Bishop O’Reilly said he was delaying introduction of the male diaconate. The Irish Times report about the meeting read in part:

Kathleen McDonnell, who is involved with catechesis, retreat facilitation, as well as in parish and diocesan pastoral councils, said what was needed in the Catholic church was not another layer of male-only clergy but arrangements which could accommodate all. She called for “an opening of the windows” in the church, along lines called for by St John XXIII.

Rita O’Brien from Scariff spoke of her own faith journey and the necessity to go back to the gospels and Jesus. Mary Hanley from Ennis parish commended the diocese’s pastoral plan with its emphasis on collaboration by all but expressed the surprise and hurt felt by many at Bishop O’Reilly’s pastoral letter inviting men only to participate in the permanent diaconate “to undertake work mainly done at present by women.”

Further discussion on the matter will be held at a meeting titled ‘Can Women’s Voices be Heard in Pope Francis’ Church?’ at The McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris on Sat October 11th from 2.00-4.30pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.

The publicity information for the meeting reads:

Why did a group of women from the Killaloe Diocese in Clare challenge their Bishop over his plan to introduce a male only permanent Diaconate? It begs the fundamental question, “Can women’s voices be heard in the church of Pope Francis?”

Kathleen McDonnell from Clare is heartened by the huge response after they challenged their Bishop, who has since cancelled plans for an all-male Diaconate. Support for the women has been widespread and diverse.

The Clare women are committed Church members, not people on the fringe, but very active members. They have experience as retreat facilitators and being members of parish and diocesan pastoral councils. What concerns them most is the church’s seeming inability to connect meaningfully with people who are drifting away.

Kathleen McDonnell will address the issue, ‘Why Women felt compelled to speak out in Killaloe Diocese’ and will be followed by well-known Jesuit priest, Gerry O’Hanlon, on the topic, ‘Is Pope Francis willing to nurture an inclusive Church?



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