Cardinal tipped to be next Pope to speak at Limerick conference

‘Let’s Talk Family: Let’s Be Family’ conference takes place next month

Maria Flannery

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Maria Flannery

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maria.flannery@limerickleader.ie

Cardinal tipped to be next Pope to speak at Limerick conference

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn is due to address the ‘Let’s Talk Family: Let’s Be Family’ conference at Mary Immaculate College on July 13

A CARDINAL who is tipped to become the next pope will speak at a Limerick conference next month.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn is due to address the ‘Let’s Talk Family: Let’s Be Family’ conference at Mary Immaculate College on July 13.

The cardinal, recognised as a lead reformer within the church hierarchy and chosen by Pope Francis to present Amoris Laetitia – the papacy’s letter on the ‘family’ - will be the star turn at the event.

It is the first major conference to be held as part of the build up to the World Meeting of Families next year in Ireland.

“He’s as close to Pope Francis as we can get when it comes to Amoris Laetitia, which is a very significant letter from Pope Francis on his understanding of family,” said Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon, director of MIC’s Institute for Pastoral Studies.

Cardinal Schönborn was chosen by Pope Francis to present Amoris Laetitia following the two Synods on the Family in 2014 and 2015.

The Cardinal, who is Archbishop of Vienna, will give two separate addresses, one specifically on Amoris Laetitia and the other a public lecture in the evening on ‘The Parish: Family of Families’.

He will also lead an academic discussion on Amoris Laetitia one year on.

“There has been quite an amount of controversy about Amoris Laetitia, with some hardliners in the Church arguing it has gone too far. Others say it hasn’t gone far enough. Some say it is ambiguous. Cardinal Schönborn will be able to give clarity to us in a way that no one else can other than Pope Francis. We’re very much looking forward to his visit,” said Fr Fitzgibbon.

“It’s undeniable that the family, as we have known it, is changing in many respects and challenged like never before in Ireland today. The World Meeting of Families, and the expected visit of Pope Francis in 2018, comes in the midst of a perfect storm for the Church, much of it of its own making, which challenges the Church’s teaching on family,” added Fr Fitzgibbon.

The pope’s letter on the family is “enlightened”, according to the cleric, adding that it reaches out to “divorced people”, “marriages of different faiths” and people in families with “homosexual tendencies”.

The cardinal has been reprimanded in the past for his “reformist approach”. He famously intervened in an Austrian parish, to allow a gay couple remain on a pastoral council in Vienna when there were efforts to have them removed.

The event opens at 2pm.

To book your place, go to www.irishinstituteforpastoralstudies.com, call Deirdre on (061) 204507 or email Eamonn.Fitzgibbon@mic.ul.ie.

The full programme costs €20 to attend, with a €10 fee for the public lecture at 7pm.