A new vision for the Catholic Church

Posted on 18. May, 2012

What is our vision for the Church?  For the past twenty years or so, the church in Ireland has seen a succession of scandals and institutional failures that have alienated further a generation of Irish people who were already feeling estranged from a structure they perceived as distant and irrelevant to their lives.

But the human heart continues to search  Many people in Ireland today are crying out for a glimmer of light, a sign of hope – a new vision.  And the new vision, as it turns out, is also an old vision.  Central to the teaching of Vatican II on the church is the ancient scriptural image of the people of God: the Israelite nation, battered and weary, being led by Moses through the desert on their way to the Promised Land.  In our barren times, that image is perhaps even more appropriate than it was fifty years ago.  Like them, we are discouraged.  We are tired.  We feel like giving up.  We wonder where is God in all of this.  We are tempted to turn to the false Gods of our time.  Where else can we turn?

St Paul tells us that ‘there are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit,’ and that ‘the particular manifestation of the Spirit granted to each one is to be used for the general good’ (1 Cor 12:4-7).  We are one people, the People of God, with a great diversity of gifts.  It is surely time for us to make use of all the gifts the Spirit gives the Church in the service of the whole human family.  With Jesus, the New Moses, as our Leader, we can find a way.


Paddy Carberry SJ Director, Manresa

Writing in O’Hanlon, G (2011) A New Vision for the Catholic Church: A View from Ireland.  Columba Press.