Letter with 1,237 ACP signatories sent to bishops
The following letter has been sent to each bishop, and to the Bishops Conference by the Association of Catholic Priests.
On Wednesday, February 20, 2013, about 250 priests members of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) met in Athlone to discuss the challenges faced by priests in Ireland today.
During a discussion on the rights of priests, the meeting was reminded that the 1971 Synod on Justice produced the document, the Practice of Justice, which emphasised that the Catholic Church must act justly towards all its members, if it to have credibility in preaching on Justice.
The Synod document stressed that everyone has a right to suitable freedom of expression and thought and affirms that in any form of judicial procedure the accused should have the right to know his accusers and also the right to a proper defence.
Seán McDonagh proposed the following motion:
In the light of the above teaching from the Synod of Bishop in 1971, we the undersigned ask the Irish Bishops’ Conference to meet, as soon as possible, with those Irish priests who have been censured by the Vatican in recent years.
The purpose of the meeting would be to request the Bishops’ Conference to enter into discussions with the CDF:
(i) To explore how best to resolve the matters that have led to the censuring of the priests;
(ii) To set up local mediation structures to address any such issues in the future.
We would like to see this happen as a matter of urgency.
The motion was carried unanimously.
We append a copy of the 1,237 signatories of the above resolution.
With every good wish,
Brendan Hoban, PP
on behalf of the ACP
Dear Brendan & all in the ACP Leadership Team:
With the utmost respect for all that you lads have done over nearly three years to get this wagon on the road, are you not a bit ashamed to let the bishops have sight of a petition that took eight or ten weeks to garner a mere 1,237 signatures in so urgent a cause of justice?
Yes, Seán’s motion at Athlone was passed unanimously and the petition got its first couple of hundred signatures there and then. Of the remaining 800 ACP members, did even half sign the petition? Why, even with the majority of signatures coming from lay people in Ireland and far beyond, did this poor petition struggle for weeks to pass the 1,000 point, finally staggering past the 1,200 mark before being put out of its misery?
I can accept, albeit very reluctantly and sceptically, some of the possible reasons suggested for 97% of priest members, or 99% of all Irish priests, never breathing a word on this website. I cannot for the life of me see why as many as 90% of all Irish priests could not have been ‘mustered’, or at least encouraged, over ten weeks to support this petition, nor can I begin to understand why decidedly fewer than 500 of the ACP’s 1,000 actually got around to signing it.
Alright, first they came for the Marists, or the Passionists, or the Redemptorists – but sure they’re as scarce as Mormons round our part of the country and I don’t go in for reading much theology these days. The one in the newsagents never heard of Reality and you wouldn’t expect me to ask her straight out for The Sunday World or have it delivered to the parochial, would you?
ACP, I can’t believe you are not turning this back around on the Bishops. Here is a suggestion. Ask the women here to spearhead your own “assessment” of the Bishops – detailed questions about gender equality – require that each and every one of them complete it and keep it in the ACP’s files. You can let them know that you will be posting the names of those who fail to complete the assessment on gender equality as well as posting the questionnaire on the website for all to see the validity of the questions that are being asked. People love to see this transparency. I’d be looking for the media outlet to let parishioners know what you are doing and how you care about gender equality inside the Church. This aggressive behaviour on their part has a counteraction, each step of the way which will bring light to what it is you are trying to accomplish in the public sphere. You have the right to do this as your parishioners have the right to know.