Submissions pointed to those they feel are being excluded from that journey, including the young; the elderly; women; Maori; migrants; the deaf; the poor; those divorced or separated; those who identify as LGBTQIA+; those who value more conservative or traditional faith practices; as well as non-Catholic Christians.
The Church was accused of “putting rubrics and rules ahead of relationships”. those in ministry were at times ‘out of touch’ with the realities of people’s lives.
There was a strong desire for a more loving community, for the use of inclusive and accessible language, and relevant homilies that help parishioners navigate their way through today’s moral, environmental, and cultural issues.
Liturgical gatherings were regarded by many as exclusive. strong call among submissions for liturgical celebrations that reflect and acknowledge the cultural diversity within congregations. The need for people in the diocese to learn more about one another’s identities, beliefs, ways of doing things, and reasons why, was highlighted
“I think that if the Catholic Church can be more diverse or add more awareness of human dignity to its teaching [it] would be great.”
“We need to focus first and foremost on being a Christian community.”
“These ‘rules’ also make it difficult for blended families too where perhaps one parent is Catholic but the other is not.”
“We need to focus on becoming far more welcoming, inclusive and responsive to the needs of members of our own parish and the wider community.”
“From our session came a desire that the Church break rigid boundaries and be a channel of God’s non-judgmental, unconditional love for all of humanity based on the premise that whatever we do to others, we are doing to him.”
This series of videos aims to explore ‘where to from here’ and captures some of the key themes that emerged in the synodal process in the Diocese of Palmerston North.