The Meeting took place in the Pastoral Centre, Killarney on Monday May 16th. There was a very lively discussion for about an hour and three quarters.
The meeting was attended by Tony Flannery, who gave a brief history of the Association, and then raised some issued for discussion, wishing to hear the views of the meeting on them.
1. The question of the New Missal. There was a wide-ranging discussion on this topic, and the main points that arose were the following:
- There was a sense of inevitability about its introduction.
- No great enthusiasm was expressed; no sense that people had energy for preparing for the introduction in Advent.
- There seemed to be a sense that this is part of a larger agenda being pursued by the Vatican authorities. Those who spoke were not happy that it was being imposed in this way.
- The problem of music was raised. What will happen all the music associated with the current Mass; for example, the Bodley Mass, which people are so familiar with.
2. The difficulties around the handling of allegations against priests. Again the discussion was good, with many of the complex issues being raised.
- There are problems around the way priests are being removed from their parishes when an allegations is made against them.
- There does not seem to be a uniform policy around the country. Some recent cases were mentioned.
- How can we find the balance between standing up for the rights of priests, and yet showing care and compassion to the alleged victim?
3. With a rapidly declining number of priests, how is ministry to be exercised in the future? Could the Association begin to raise this issue?
4. There seemed to be a clear view that the Association is needed, and that it’s aim of providing a voice for priests is important. And yet some view it with suspicion. We discussed if it was possible to have better dialogue with the bishops, even though our initial efforts haven’t been too well received.
It was decided to have a further meeting at a later date, and the meeting ended with a prayer to St. Brendan whose feast day it was.