Why Remain a Catholic Today?
This year we are holding a series of interesting talks over Lent. The title for the series of talks is ‘Why Remain a Catholic Today?’ and the question will be addressed by four very different personalities over four nights. This represents a unique opportunity to explore an important question from four very different perspectives. There will be an opportunity at each talk to engage with the speaker and there will be time for reflection and dialogue also.
Baroness Nuala O’ Loan DBE will open the series on Friday, 11th March 2011 at 7.30 p.m. in Mount St. Anne’s. She is a noted public figure with a very distinguished career in Northern Ireland. She may be better known to many as the first Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland from 1999 to 2007. In September 2009, she was raised to the peerage as Baroness O’ Loan, and became a member of the House of Lords. She is a committed Catholic and has addressed diocesan meetings in Carlow in response to the Pope’s Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland. Nuala is married to Declan O’ Loan (MLA) and they have five sons.
Bishop Willie Walsh, Bishop emeritus of Killaloe, will give the second talk on Tuesday, 22nd March 2011 at 7.30 p.m. Willie Walsh was bishop of the diocese of Killaloe from 1995 until his retirement in 2010. He has always been media friendly and has provoked controversy in the past when he spoke out on some issues. He has expressed sadness about the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, he was critical of the Church’s policy of refusing the Eucharist to couples who have re-married, he believes that the requirement for celibacy in the priesthood needs to be discussed and he has challenged the papal ban of discussion on the ordination of women.
The third speaker, on Tuesday, 5th April at 7.30 p.m. is Mr. Ned Prendergast who is Director of Faith Development at CEIST, a new trust body for the Catholic secondary schools of a number of congregations. Presentation College and St. Leo’s College in Carlow are both CEIST schools. Ned spent six years as a seminarian at Maynooth College but decided not to proceed to ordination. A native of Kilkenny, he went on instead to teach RE and English at a secondary school in Dublin. He later led the Catholic School Project at the Marino Institute of Education before moving on to his current role in CEIST. Ned is married with two children and has been Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council of his parish in Dalkey, Co. Dublin.
Mark Patrick Hederman, Abbot of Glenstal Abbey, is the fourth and last speaker on Tuesday, 12th April 2011 at 7.30 p.m. Abbot Patrick is a native of Co. Limerick and has been a member of the community for forty-five years, many of them as librarian at the monastery. He has lectured in philosophy and literature in America, Nigeria and Ireland, and was a founding editor of the cultural journal The Crane Bag. He is also an established author who is deeply interested in art.
We hope following each talk to add the text of the talk to the Mout St. Anne’s website and to add a post to this blog enabling people to comment on the paper and to engage with one another about any ideas, insights or activities that may arise.