Armagh Justice and Peace Commission

will be hosting a conversation about your thoughts on the recent Referendum
and how you feel about the upcoming World Meeting of Families.

This gathering takes place in

The Carrickdale Hotel outside Dundalk from 10 am – 1pm.

It is a free event and we look forward to meeting you and giving you a unique opportunity to express your views and to listen to other voices.

Tea and coffee will be served and everyone is most welcome.

Justice and Peace Commission


After the Eight Referendum and Before The World Family Meeting:

Where To Now for the Catholic Church?

The referendum in the South to remove the constitutional ban on abortion except when the mother’s life is at risk seemed like a crushing blow for the Catholic Church. The people of Ireland rejected the Church’s position, and by a large majority.

But this view suggests that the Church is only the bishops. In fact the Church is all the baptised people of God. And it is clear that a very large proportion of those who define themselves as Catholics (over 78% in the 2016 census) chose to vote Yes to the removal of the Eighth amendment.

One bishop responded by saying that all those who voted Yes and intended by so doing to support abortion needed to go to confession. A priest said they would go to hell if they did not repent. But another priest, Fr Gerry O’Hanlon, S.J., said many Catholics felt torn by the referendum and did not see it as a black and white issue. Others, who voted No, were committed to a consistent ethic of life.

Certainly some voted Yes because they felt the issue was too complex to be handled in a Constitutional clause.

This conference, which will be addressed by Grainne Doherty who works freelance in pastoral ministry, lecturing and facilitation, will help Catholics to explore their feelings and thoughts both about the referendum and the World Family Meeting which will be held in Dublin in August, and which Pope Francis will attend.

Mary Vallely, a member of the Justice and Peace Commission, said `We decided to hold this conference because we found a need among ourselves on the Commission to talk through the issues. Then we asked, “How many others need the same opportunity?”’.

Fr Brian Lennon, S.J., another Commission member, said `It will be good to give people a chance to talk through not only the referendum result, but also how they feel about the World Family Meeting. Do they feel connected with it? Do they feel that some groups, such as people in second relationships or LGBT people, are not sufficiently included?’

The Conference will be a follow-up to a recent survey by the Justice and Peace Commission of a small number of estates in Armagh city and Louth. One of the main issues raised by people was that they wanted to see married priests, because they felt these would be more able to talk about issues relevant to the lives of lay people.

The conference will be free of charge, and all are welcome to attend.

For further information contact:

  • Mary Vallely, maryov@btinternet.com; 
  • Fr Brian Lennon, S.J., bdlennon@gmail.com.