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ACP decides to continue trying to communicate with bishops

Report on Priests’ Meeting on 10 November (early Saturday morning portion of AGM): This was a business meeting, confined to priests.  There were about 100 priests present.  The discussion was excellent.
A Constitution for the ACP was presented and discussed. It was unanimously approved by the meeting.  It will shortly be up on the website.
The financial statement for the year was presented, explained and approved.
A good discussion took place on the bishops’ response to our request for a meeting. There was a variety of views, but all expressed calmly and coherently. Some felt that we should not bother further with the bishops.  Others thought it would be good to take them up on their suggestion that we meet priests’ councils at diocesan level.  (At a meeting of the leadership team a week later it was decided we would go ahead with the meetings with priests’ councils.  So we will write to the individual bishops requesting these meetings.)
There was also a good discussion on the new development of a lay association, the ACI, and what our relationship with them should be. It was generally agreed that it would be best for the moment that the two associations be separate, but that they should work closely together. The meeting wished the lay movement well, and were happy that we give them any support we can.
Oliver Brennan was at the meeting, and he was formally welcomed by Sean McDonagh.

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  1. Good luck with it. I do hope and pray they will listen and sit and talk with you all as human beings, equals, truly in Christ, as all are. Love casts out fear and fear is gonna be a big part in so much of any and all I believe.

  2. Con Devree says:

    This is good news
    “Let him not refuse to listen to his subjects, whom he cherishes as his true sons and exhorts to cooperate readily with him. ….On account of this sharing in their priesthood and mission, let priests sincerely look upon the bishop as their father and reverently obey him. And let the bishop regard his priests as his co-workers and as sons and friends, just as Christ called His disciples now not servants but friends.(185) All priests, both diocesan and religious, by reason of Orders and ministry, fit into this body of bishops and priests, and serve the good of the whole Church according to their vocation and the grace given to them….But the faithful must cling to their bishop, as the Church does to Christ, and Jesus Christ to the Father, so that all may be of one mind through unity,(61*) and abound to the glory of God.(175)”

  3. Mary Burke says:

    The synodal form of government as it is practised in the Church of Ireland, at parish, diocesan, national and international levels is the way forward. If RC bishops were used to this form, they would not have any difficulty meeting with groups of priests or lay people. Their reluctance to meet with clergy would disappear if they were elected by a combination of clergy and lay people, as the bishops of the Church of Ireland are. As long as they are appointed from a central position from on high they will not accept that it is to the people that they are primarily accountable and not to those in the Vatican who put them there.

  4. Brendan O'Connor says:

    Re: invitation to Bishops to meet, may I suggest invitations to retired (and about to retire) Bishops may get a better response? I also think a serious effort should be made to coax the new Nuncio to come…. he appears to be more amenable to listening at present. We live in hopes!

  5. Martin Murray says:

    I agree with Mary (3), a synodal form of church government is badly needed. Even as things stand there is a lot of provision within current canon law for the use of synods and councils at every level. Unfortunately they are exercised in way that permits only clerical participation and provides little or no decision making power. But I suspect the longer things lie in neglect, the argument moves on (just as it did with the demand for civil rights in the North which were initially quite modest), and even the most liberal application of current canon law will not meet the demand of an increasingly aware church membership, for justice and good practice in the Church. It could be argued that in many places an agenda for renewal is being pursued. Welcome as this is, it will not bear fruit that will last, or deliver the current or future generations without a radical agenda for reform. The sooner this is taken seriously and acted upon, the better. Sadly it may be beyond the will and awareness of the current administration.

  6. There is wisdom in the ACP knowing themselves well, that is, building a strong infrastructure is a good idea! Continue to pray and listen to the Lord……….If the Lord is firmly grasping your renewal initiatives……….then, Let the Lord lead the way!
    I would perceive that the bishops understand what the ACP is about and I think, they have done, to this point, what they as bishops can do. They don’t want to throw the “baby out with the bath water”. Their first priority is to listen very, very, carefully, to the ACP, to the people, to their conscience, to “Rome”, and to the Lord………There is a lot of listening to do. Time will come for actions………This process of renewal must be “in the Lord” with everyone concerned. Even myself, I donot write on this website, unless, I have discerned as well as I can whether I am to submit comments or not. This is real conjecture on my part, and maybe, I would be considered an “extreme liberal”, but I do believe, that for example,in a country like Canada, with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, that the Catholic people of Canada donot require more centralization than that. In terms of the decentralization of Rome, I think, that individual countries can set their own course, in meeting, local pastoral needs, and yet be universal by having some other kind of “administrative” bodies to make sure that the “universality of the World Catholic Church” is still viable. It may be a situation, that Rome is simply not going to humble itself and bend to any request for change, and the bishops, have to have as their first priority, the pastoral needs of their people. If the bishops, donot honor the people’s needs, then they hold the people hostage to Rome. In that circumstance, the bishops must accept their pastoral responsibility to the people, even if it means, disobedience to Rome. I am saddened to say, that “the Vatican” doesnot necessarily “walk in the truth”. The enemy, as the Pope has stated before, is “within”. I’m waiting to pick up from the local Catholic Bookstore…….Father Gerry O’Hanlon’s book….A New Vision, in which he speaks of new Catholic structures…….I don’t know how he addresses, in his book, the decentralization with Rome, but I’m looking forward to reading it.
    For now, I think, there needs to be a lot of listening, praying, discernment, and tremendous wisdom to know the best actions to take, whether that’s from the people, from the priests, or from the bishops. Whatever, the situation is at the moment, my discernment with the Lord, would say, that the people have a green light, the priests have a green light, particularly those of the ACP, and the bishops have a green light. I couldn’t say, that Rome has a green light………..so perhaps, that’s where most of the responsibility lies at the moment, for right thinking and right action, “In the Lord”.

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