Report on meeting of ACP in Cork
Meeting of Cork Diocesan Association of Catholic Priests
Ovens Parish Centre: Tuesday April 12th.
About twenty five priests attended the meeting, as did Tony Flannery from the Leadership Team.
It was a lively, energetic meeting, with plenty of contributions from the people present.
The first item on the agenda was a report from Eoin Whooley on the survey conducted among ACP members in Munster in preparation for the Apostolic Visitors. The results were very interesting. A brief summing up might be the following:
1. The respondents said that their own personal morale was high, and that they got great support from their involvement with their people in the parishes, but that they believed that priest’s morale generally was low.
2. Diocesan leadership and structures rated very low. Deanery conferences, pastoral plans, and other diocesan initiatives were not considered very useful.
3. Great insecurity was expressed in relation to possible allegations, and most felt that in the event of an allegation, their chances of getting a fair hearing were slight.
4. There was a distinct difference in the responses from dioceses where the structures of communication were working well (two in particular in Munster) and those where the structures were failing.
The next item was the new liturgical texts. There was an excellent discussion on this. Nobody seemed enthusiastic about this new development, but there was a sense of inevitability about it, and it was questioned whether we as an association could do any more. Some felt that after the June meeting in Portlaoise, and whatever statement we might issue from that, we should then leave it aside, that we would have done all we could. As one man said “keep your powder dry; there are bigger issues ahead!”
Finally, Tony Flannery acquainted the meeting of new developments in relation to the problem of allegations against priests. The association has now got a structure of legal support available to priests (details of this will be announced to the whole association shortly). This was received very positively by the meeting.
The meeting ended with a prayer.
“There ar bigger issues ahead.”
What can be more important that leading the people of God in prayer? This issue deserves the energy of all, priests and lay faithful. Are the abandoning of inclusive language, and the importation into English, of a pseudoelevated combination of arcane vocabulary and Latinate syntax not matters of serious concern for all?
If we had a synodal system of government like the Church of Ireland has, these matters could be debated and thrashed out and then voted on. Instead their imposition is being managed, one suspects, by people who have very little enthusiasm themselves for the changes. The end result is that we are faced with unproclaimable verbiage for our common and public worship of God.