The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) wishes to place on record our full support for the Irish Bishops’ adoption of the Synodal Pathway as the way forward for the Catholic Church in Ireland, as underlined in the recent representative meeting of the Irish Catholic Church in Athlone on June 18, 2022 and in their commitment to a national synod in a few years’ time.  

Pope Francis, who time and again, has placed a focus on synodality as ‘God’s way forward’ for the global Church, will have been well pleased by progress towards a Synodal Pathway in the Irish Church, not least by the significant and providential alignment of the 26 diocesan reports, in focussing on the same key issues.

It will be no surprise to ACP members and our supporters that, as an association, we are overwhelmingly committed to synodality and overjoyed that ‘a new way of being Church’ has received such a confident and determined impetus from both the recent listening process in Irish dioceses and from the active support of our bishops. It can truly be said that we are witnessing a watershed moment in the Irish Catholic Church’s repositioning itself for a difficult future.

On several occasions, Pope Francis has indicated that synodality and the reforms that will accompany it are, effectively, a revisiting of and an implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council.

The ACP, in our constitution ten years ago, positioned ourselves in exactly that space and we feel confirmed in our judgement and validated in our approach by both Pope Francis and the Irish bishops:

We are an association for Catholic Priests who wish to have a forum, and a voice to reflect, discuss and comment on issues affecting the Irish Church and society today (including) the full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council, with special emphasis on the primacy of the individual conscience, the status and active participation of all the baptised and the task of establishing a Church where all believers will be treated as equal.

We look forward in hope and in confidence to playing our full part in realising and implementing what we believe, with Pope Francis and what our bishops have confirmed by their support, is God’s plan for our Church into the future.

ACP Leadership: Gerry O’Connor, Roy Donovan, Tim Hazelwood, John Collins.

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  1. Greg Barras says:

    ACP Statement: Synodal Pathway…

    I want to echo the AUSCP’s support, affirmation, and desire to walk with the ACP in its embracing of the Irish Bishops’ Adoption of “The Synodal Pathway”. The Association of United States Catholic Priests was founded 11 years ago dedicated to carrying the Spirit and principles of Vatican II. “A pastoral voice of hope and joy within our Pilgrim Church and World.”
    Our prayer is that the Irish Bishops influence, touch, and create a metanoia moment with the USCCB. That they are moved to support and live this profound “pathway”. Pope Francis has opened the door for all us regardless of title to participate and listen to our voice. The Spirit is a movin’ all over, all over this world.

  2. John Shea says:

    ACP Statement: Synodal Pathway…

    When I read this statement this morning on your website, I was simply delighted. I saw how exceptional this statement is, how long it was in coming, and how much of a sea change has occurred in the Irish church.

    It never would have happened but for your continuous, unfailing, courageous leadership. You have all made a huge contribution to a much more positive life for the church in Ireland. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    May God bless you for what you have been so instrumental in bringing about! The church in every other country around the world is in your debt.

    John J. Shea, O.S.A. (USA)

  3. Paddy Ferry says:

    ACP Statement: Synodal Pathway…

    I want to re-echo what John Shea has said. I could not have put it better.

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