Archbishop Martin criticised by ACP for avoiding dialogue
STATEMENT FROM ACP LEADERSHIP TEAM ON 9 JUNE 2012:
It is difficult to listen to interviews with Diarmuid Martin coming for the perspective and experience of the ACP. In his interview this morning (Saturday 9 June) with Marian Finucane he spoke about how the Church in Ireland was divided. Then he went on to say that the way to deal with division is through dialogue. The ACP is nearly two years in existence; it represents almost 1000 priests. Diarmuid Martin, as Archbishop of Dublin, has up to this point totally ignored our existence. He has failed to respond to any of our invitations to attend events that we were holding. The recent meeting in the Regency, attented by over 1,000 committed lay and clerical believers, was only a small distance away from where he lived. But he did not even send a message to us. In his interview he referred to what he called ‘conflictual’ meetings. Was he referring to our gathering in the Regency?
It is hard to have dialogue with someone who won’t even meet us.
It’s heard to please all the people all the time – even if you’re Archbishop Martin.
Let me be clear: I, like almost everyone I know, thinks he did a great job with the child abuse crisis. 100 %. Absolutely top marks. Bravo.
But as to the rest of his ministry, well, that is not at all as impressive.
The ACP didn’t get any reply to its invitations, but don’t take it personally: Archbishop Martin seldom replies to letters, even ones of considerable personal importance. I know priests who have simply given up because of the wall of silence in Drumcondra.
The ACP does, of course, put the Archbishop in a particularly difficult position. On the one hand, he certainly agrees with most of what the Association stands for. On the other hand, he can’t be seen to agree publicly, especially now that a new and very conservative nuncio is in town. The ironic thing is that the Archbishop will probably be delighted with this ACP statement, since I’m sure Patsy McGarry will report it next week, and the headline will be read with satisfaction by the visiting prelates with their breakfasts: isn’t Dublin so orthodox the way he refuses to meet those rebel priests!
Anyways, well done to the ACP for showing up the fundamental dysfunctionality of the Dublin leadership, but I doubt if you’ll every out-fox the AB of D.
Has the ACP asked for a private meeting with + Diarmuid Martin? This isn’t clear from the above statement.
But then if you’ve ever watched +Diarmuid at Bishops’ Meetings at Maynooth, he doesn’t exactly overwhelm his brother bishops with either dialogue or small talk during the coffee or lunch breaks. Diarmuid’s fan club seems to be drawn from narrower groupings elsewhere (like Rome, Geneva, US Catholic Networks), so let not the ACP feel left out of his loop. Ever notice that for some bishops “dialogue” is one of their favourite subjects to monologue or, at best, duologue over of a Saturday or Sunday morning?
The Bishops won’t engage in dialogue? Now you know how most women feel.
I find your comments on the Archbishop remarkable.
“Like almost everyone I know, I think he does a great job with the child abuse crisis. 100%. Absolutely top marks Bravo.”
Have you ever spoken to a priest who has been falsely accused of child abuse and asked him how he feels about how the Archbishop handled the situation? Have you ever asked ANY Dublin priest how he would expect the Archbishop to react if someone went to him and said: “I have sudenly recovered my memory and now recall that Father X abused me 40 years ago?”
A few years ago I attempted to contact the Archbishop re his statement that thousands of children were abused by priests or religious. (I asked him if he was referring to thousands of ALLEGATIONS.) Of course there was no response. Your own comment that: “Archbishop Martin seldom replies to letters, even ones of considerable personal importance. I know priests who have simply given up because of the wall of silence in Drumcondra” puts my own petty concerns into perspective but I fail to see how you can regard that as a positive attribute of the AB.
You say “I doubt if you’ll ever out-fox the AB of D.” It is difficult to “out-fox” a colleague or boss who refuses to talk to you. However colleagues or subordinates are unlikely to respect such a person or regard him as a “fox”.
You write: “The ACP does, of course, put the Archbishop in a particularly difficult position. On the one hand, he certainly agrees with most of what the Association stands for. On the other hand, he can’t be seen to agree publicly, especially now that a new and very conservative nuncio is in town.” I think you are correct that the Archbishop agrees with the aims of the ACP and I am slightly surprised that he refuses to dialoge with them. I am something of a reactionary myself and I had assumed that this was the reason he would not respond to me. I find it interesting that he refuses to dialogue with ANYBODY but again I fail to see how this makes him a “Fox”!!
I heard the interview and have been both furious and upset every time I think of it since. I have just about been holding on to my belief in the catholic church through the years, and I have got into a few arguments with people through trying to justify its existence in Ireland 2012 while at the same time I fail to see any moves to change or realise that it needs to change. The impression I got from Mr Martin was that people like me should just leave and go find spiritual solace somewhere else, because if we expect the church to change to suit us then we are mistaken. How sad. And all this talk of ‘Healing’ during the eucharistic congress is making me feel quite ill – you can’t move straight to healing something without treating the problem. I am a woman and there is no place for me in the catholic church. Good luck to the ACP, your objectives sound encouraging.
Patsy McGarry writes (Irish Times, Tuesday 12 June):
“A spokeswoman for Archbishop Martin said last night the only direct invitation he ever received from the ACP was to attend its recent meeting at Dublin’s Regency Hotel. Archbishop Martin’s secretary contacted the ACP to explain why he could not attend and wished them well with the meeting, she said.”
In the light of Patsy McGarry’s articles in today’s Irish Times on the Visitation report on the Irish College in Rome, I think it would now be appropriate for the Roman Curia to be subject to a Visitation from the ACP.
Without meaning to be offensive to the man, Archbishop Martin is merely a puppet of his masters in Rome. The church has a long history of “silence”, it has been one of its greatest weapons against so called “dissiedents”. In any form of relationship silence as opposed to dialoguee can be destructive and lead to frustration and all that follows from it. Archbishop Martin portrays himself as a good man, which I believe he is but it is now time for him to see himself as part of the solution as opposed to standing to one side and ignoring the problem.. For a start all he has to do is meet and listen..that indeed would be a start, after all from dialouge comes respect and understanding