Killaloe Priests’ Council meets ACP leaders

Report on the Joint Meeting of the Council of Priests of Killaloe Diocese and the leadership team of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) held at St Flannan’s College Ennis, 7 March 2013
For Killaloe Council of Priests
Present: Michael Sheedy (Chair), Bishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA, Pat Malone, Albert McDonnell, Tom Ryan, Tom O’Gorman, Ger Nash, John Kelly, James Grace, Brendan Quinlivan, Tony Casey, Tom O’Halloran, Pat Sexton, Sean Sexton, Tom Corbett, David Carroll
Apologies: Willie Teehan
For Leadership Team ACP
Sean McDonagh, Tony Flannery
Apologies: Brendan Hoban, PJ Madden
Michael Sheedy welcomed the members of the ACP to the meeting. Sean McDonagh gave the context of the meeting as following on from the limited dialogue with the Irish Bishops’ Conference. An agenda had been previously agreed between the Council and the ACP.
There was an extensive discussion on this topic. The ACP representatives stated that more often than not it had got bogged down in the question of the ordination of women but they were more interested in the pastoral planning for a time of fewer priests with present clerical structures. The discussion touched on both the positive and negative impacts on priests of the clustering of parishes. The issue of married priests was also raised. The biggest difficulty facing priests in the number of churches around the diocese of Killaloe as our priests to people ratio is quite good at present and into the near future. How to move on this latter issue is a concern. The desire of the ACP is that all ideas would be put on the table and all in the Church would come together to come up with practical solutions.
2. Procedures for dealing with allegations against priests.
This is the most central issue facing the ACP at present. A number of improvements have been noted; namely, how priests are informed of allegations and in the way in which they are moved out of ministry. The fact that there is no common practice across the country is a cause for concern and it was hoped that guidelines would be published to establish a common practice. The ACP were complimented for their work in helping priests who faced false allegations and the need for support for all clergy, included those who have been convicted was raised. This would come out of a basic Christian faith guiding our responses. It was noted that priests in Killaloe had contributed to a fund to aid the legal fees of those facing allegations.
3. Following the New Missal, the impending translation of the Lectionary.
There was general agreement that the introduction of the New Missal has caused difficulties for many priests and people. Its intention to create a sense of reverence had, by and large, not worked. As a practical example, the translation of the ‘Confiteor’ was highlighted as containing an inappropriate spirituality for children. Fundamental questions on other aspects of the theology and spirituality of the Roman Missal remained unanswered. It was noted the ICEL had invited comments on the Roman Missal. The quality of publication by Veritas was also commented upon unfavourably. It was noted that the work on the translation of the Lectionary had stalled; a call for more information was made as most were unaware of the current status of the translation work. Priests were encouraged to make their voices heard on this work.
4. Pastoral implications of the current economic situation.
It was felt that an on-going programme to respond to the present situation should be developed which would cover both social justice and liturgy. The enthusiasm of younger people around social justice issues was noted. The question was asked ‘what do we see as the work of the church?’ And whether people see current economic and social issues being issues of faith?
Tony Flannery was asked about his present situation with the CDF and he outlined his position and how it had changed since a new head of the CDF was appointed. He expressed the opinion that he was unlikely to return to ministry under the present circumstances.
The petition on the ACP website encouraging dialogue between certain parties was noted.
The meeting concluded with thanks being expressed to all concerned.

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  1. Anne Walsh says:

    It is with a sense of great hope that I read the report of this meeting.
    It is so important that the lines of communication are opened and explored between all priests who are genuinely committed to building up the Kingdom of God at present and into the future in Ireland.
    For far too long the priests in the ACP have been portrayed as radical and extreme.
    This suits media people but it is doing no service to our church, our priests or our parishes.
    Thank God this channel of communication is now open- may the Spirit continue to be part of the meetings which we trust will take place in other dioceses too.

  2. Brendan Cafferty says:

    So sad that a priest of Tony Flannery’s calibre is not being used at a time of priestly shortage.I recall him giving retreats and he was wonderful. Lets hope and pray the new regime in Rome will move to restore him.

  3. I see that the Killaloe clergy regard the question of allegations against priests as the most central issue facing the ACP and compliment you for your work in supporting priests who face false allegations.
    A couple of years ago there was an article in the Irish Times about a man who had allegedly been abused by THREE priests from the Killaloe Diocese while he was in his Twenties; he blamed his “life of pain” on them. I discussed the controversy on and expected to attract the usual shower of abuse from the usual anti-clerics but this time it was different
    While the posters on the site are usually anti-clerical, this was too much to swallow.

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