Agenda: Annual General Meeting: Wednesday, 16 November 2016, 2.00 to 5.00 p.m. Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone
Annual General Meeting
Association of Catholic Priests
Wednesday 16 November 2016
2.00 to 5.00 p.m.
Hodson Bay Hotel
Opening of Conference
2.15 Welcome and Prayer
2.20 Introduction of Speakers and Theme –
“Are We Killing Our Priests?”
As the average age of priests edges up towards 70, the AGM of the Association of Catholic Priests ponders the question:
‘Are the Catholic clergy, over-worked and under-cared for, being killed off?
What now for the declining remnant of a lost tribe, the last priests in Ireland?’
2.21 Brendan Hoban
2.40 Buzz Time/Discussion
2.45 Marie Keenan
3.15 Open Forum
3.35 Coffee Break
Commencement of Business Meeting
3.55 Introduction of Administrative Secretary, Liamy Mac Nally
Introduction of Advisory Group members
Website and Liturgy Book Orientation
4.05 Leadership Activities Report 2016
4.20 Recollection of Agenda of ACP/Bishops’ Meeting
4.22 Bishops’ Response letter
4.25 Open Forum (15 to 20 minutes)
Mandate for ACP 2016/2017
Issue press release on Bishops’ Response
4.40 Financial Report
4.42 Leadership Nominations and Ratification
Nominated: Roy Donovan and Tim Hazelwood.
4.50 Conclusion and Summary
Read Agreed Press Releases
As I will not be able to attend the General Meeting in November I wish to make my modest contribution. One of the key issues in the Church today is decentralization and de-Romanization. Pope Francis is quite clear and adamant about where we are to go. There is nothing new in all this for people who have had their ears to the ground over the past few decades. Systems that are obsolete and counterproductive have run their course. New bottles for new wine. A change of imagery can help. Instead of the traditional pyramid it might be more helpful to use the common wheel as an image of the People of God, with its central hub, outer rim and connecting spokes. If one of these elements is missing we have no wheel, all three parts are necessary. We need a balance between central administration and pastoral activities at the local level. Communication must be a two-way process.
Where does the system of Papal Nuncios fit into the equation? The simple answer is that it doesn’t. It is a foreign body which destroys all real and meaningful communication. A closer look at the origins of this practice brings us back to the mid-1800s when the collapse of the Papal States is imminent and inevitable. Clever minds behind locked doors are busy drawing up Plan B. Papal Nuncios are key to this new order. The short but very well controlled Vatican 1 Council sealed the deal. Consensus was far from a reality. There was fierce resistance from many quarters against the imposition of Papal Nuncios. The strongest opposition came from Ireland, led by John McHale, archbishop of Tuam. He was a learned man and could see what was coming down the track. He well foresaw that it would over time corrode all leadership at the local level. The wheel has turned the full circle and the Irish Hierarchy is, like the rest of us, a mere spectator in our own Church. When the appointment of a new bishop is in the air nobody looks to Armagh and few people question the inbuilt absurdity, not to say disrespect.
The ACP is disappointed by the refusal of the present incumbent to meet with them. They should not grieve, on the contrary. A meeting would only help to legitimize a system that has far outlived its usefulness. New wine in new bottles. The Archbisbop of Armagh is the leader of the Catholic Church on the island of Ireland. It is high time to roll back the carpet, forget the Synod of Thurles (1850) and rediscover the vitality of a Celtic Church and a Celtic Spirituality far from purple, red tassels, black suits and Roman collars.
Amen to Anthony John’s well pointed remarks. As a member from the other side of the pond, I suggest that Charles Brown return to the archdiocese of New York and get some pastoral experience before he succeeds the current incumbent, Timothy Dolan. There is always hope. Meanwhile, you all on the Emerald Isle keep up the good work of living and preaching the good news. He’s welcome to leave the red buttons, beanie and tassels behind for a museum, a business suit would be easier to work in.
Tony, what a powerful and radical statement, and courageous too. You have my admiration and respect. You know,I am always puzzled when dozens, if not hundreds, of your brother priests do not respond to something like this. The vast majority of the 1000+ members of the ACP would, surely, concur with your sentiments. Yet, your “modest contribution”, as you call it, (of Oct. 20th)has been greeted with a deafening silence except for John Kirwin and I don’t know if John is a priest. I am a humble layperson, ontologically inferior and all that. But, like you, Tony, I am heartened by the fact that Francis seems to know where we should be going. Infact, I can still barely contain my glee that we have somebody like Francis after the 35 years we endured before his coming. There are, and will be, up and downs, of course. He goes to Sweden and plays a blinder but then disappoints us with his comments on the ordination of women on the plane home.
So, Tony, I hope you keep up the radical thought and please keep sharing it with us. And, I hope you are not disheartened by the “deafening silence.”
How many members of the ACP would join me in requesting permission to celebrate mass the way it was before the imposition of this terrible new translation?
Here is an idea for your AGM – elect two laypersons to the association – a man and a woman. Be the change you would like to see in the world.
Ned (at #4) why do you want to ask for permission? You know what the response will be. Why not propose this at the AGM and ask the ACP to provide online copies? I know of some parishes who have continued with the old version with the agreement of their parishioners.
Would it be a good idea to circulate the Bishops’ Response letter in advance of the AGM? Gerry O’Hanlon, S.J.
Because of a remembrance of a wedding celebrated in thpe thick of the horrible conflict in Libera (on 16th November 2002), I have to miss – for the first time – our AGM.
This time can we help our Irish Bishops to understand that our present crisis in priesthood in Ireland (as delineated in our agenda) is going to be exactly the same crisis in the Episcopacy…………
Sorry unable to attend Agm
– another funeral !
Glad to see the debate on stress and depression in the ranks.we have to let clergy have a decent retirement,and not expect them to minister in their golden years. We have to acknowledge that keeping clergy on full ministry is not good for their health.
Good work done a lot more to do