Speaking to a large crowd of students, Holy Cross employees and visitors from the Worcester and Boston communities, Mary McAleese, former president of Ireland, presented a lecture titled “Shared Responsibility: Re-imagining the Future of Governance in the Church” in the Hogan Campus Center Ballroom on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. The event was sponsored by the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture and was followed by a book signing.
McAleese, the first Northern Irish native to be elected president, took office in 1997, a role which she would hold for two terms through 2011. She successfully brokered the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, a three-part agreement that addressed institutional changes in the government structure of Northern Ireland, the relationship between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the relationship of the Republic of Ireland with the United Kingdom. During her lecture to the Holy Cross crowd, McAleese drew comparisons between finding ways to broker change and dialog with the paramilitary in Ireland and how the Catholic church should proceed in a direction of change.
“If there is a rightness in what you are saying, you can effect change,” she said. “I really want our good priests to be energized by a church that listens up and not talks down. But how do we get a listening up church?” she asked.