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ACP receives response from bishops regarding censured priests

At an ACP meeting last February, a resolution was passed that the ACP would request the Irish Bishops Conference to meet with the priests who have been silenced by the Vatican, with a view to finding a better way to handle these situations within the Church. A signature campaign followed on this website, and a letter containing the resolution and 1,237 ACP signatures  was sent to the bishops in late April.
The following has just been received in reply:
Dear Father Hoban,
I write to reply to your letter of 29 April 2013 which, along with the
attached list of signatures, was circulated to all members of the Episcopal
Conference at the recent Bishops’ meeting.
With regard to the matters raised in your letter, the Episcopal Conference
is unaware of the particulars of any individual case. When issues are raised
about the doctrinal content of a priest’s writings, the usual procedure is
for the priest’s bishop or religious superior to be involved in attempting
to resolve any difficulties. In cases relating to priests who are members
of religious orders / missionary societies, each order/society, as well as
having a provincialate, has its own generalate which may also be aware of
concerns raised.
The Episcopal Conference has noted that in such sensitive matters, the
legitimate autonomy of bishops and religious orders / missionary societies
should be respected and the normal channels for addressing these matters
should be pursued.
G. Dullea

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  1. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Which proves, I suppose, that when a bunch of Local Ordinaries get together in Maynooth and are presented with a chance of crossing swords with the CDF, they just protest that they’re only ordinary locals like ourselves who’ve learnt the rules of “normal channels”.
    Ar an láimh eile, if even 30% of ACP’s diocesan priests had signed that petition on behalf of the censored, censured or silenced from the religious orders and missionary societies, surely a few bishops would have had to sit up and take notice?
    But steady on, Eddie, isn’t that a big ask when you consider how backward diocesans can be about coming forward in solidarity with their own stepped-aside/stood-down co-diocesans? I might mention Fr Oliver Brennan, formerly of Blackrock & Haggardstown, as just one case among many.
    Or, in a different context and for the long-memoried among you, I might mention Fr Gerry McGinnity, once of Maynooth but now of Knockbridge. In Armagh, it seems, we prefer to keep mum – even long after Mum’s a corpse. But first we make sure we shoot all messengers and whistleblowers, after we convince the neighbours that they’re mad.

  2. This would not stop me approaching these men, Heads of Orders, Generalates. These are the very people you need to go to directly, sometimes and if God is at work and you get a truly spiritual man/woman, which is possible – you might have the beginnings of your miracle.
    Don’t lose hope or give up. Try this – you are being encouraged to do so if I am not mistaken.

  3. Eddie, please explain to us the last 2 paragraphs of your post @1 above.
    The really sad thing about this reply from the Bishops is that very few of us would have expected anything better.

  4. Mary Wood says:

    “The Episcopal Conference is unaware . . .” Of quite a lot it seems

  5. Joe O'Leary says:

    When Cardinal Martini said the church was 200 years out of date he also meant, presumably, that our theology is out of date. The immensity of the thinking that has to be done to bring the church into the 21st century should not be underestimated. JP2’s crackdown on the church’s intellectual life was applauded by most, and its tragic consequences are yet to unfold. It feeds into fundamentalism, which is emerging as a terrible threat to our civilization. See http://www.bilgrimage.blogspot.jp/2013/07/all-red-all-blue-no-purple-andrew.html#more The issue here is not seven individuals — they are only a small tip of an iceberg of repression — the dread of any perceived threat to orthodoxy had a paralyzing effect during the last two pontificates and the damage of this cannot be undone now.

  6. It is quite clear to me that all connected with the Bishops Conference think more of the institutional church, than they do of their Brother Priests. It is this “Group Thinking” which decided that they should sing dumb, when the sex abuse scandal was first discovered within the church in our country. Look what has happened to our church because of their inaction. Is there any hope? Jesus weeps.

  7. This from men in pointy hats and frocks, so terrified of upsetting Rome less they lose their hats and frocks, that can resort to ths intellectual dshonesty. Is not one among the biahops who has integrity, conscience or a critical mind? How very sad.

  8. Julie Mackey says:

    Write to the new man in Rome. He is the only one likely to care or listen.

  9. Somebody mentioned the word repression from the CDF. Well I would like to let you know of the repression that is now coming from individual Priests and members of your Association who are repressing the life of good and faithful Catholics in Parishes throughout the country. This morning I just heard that a Priest in a Parish stopped them from having the Alive paper in the Church and on top of that also told the faithful few to stop saying the Fatima Prayer in the Holy Rosary. What kind of ministry is that. Bullying I would say. It seems to me that this is all about power and your members exerting undue power over people who wish to practice and live out their Catholic faith in its entirety. I find that quite despicable. The Church is about service and serving Christ in its members not about exerting their own opinions on others. I have told the person who told me what is happening in his Parish to go to the Bishop and if no joy with him, go to the Papal Nuncio, because nobody should stop anyone from prayer or from spreading the truths of our Catholic faith. You need to take stock of what you are doing to the Catholics in Ireland and to the Church because as a laity we are not going to stand by and watch our Church being abused or our faith being stood on by your members. It is time now for the faithful to have their voices heard. We continue to pray for you and for all Priests but the time has come for this bullying of the faithful to stop.

  10. Eddie Finnegan says:

    “Dúirt bean liom gur dhúirt bean leí go bhfaca sise fear a chuala sean-shagart pharóiste craiceáilte de’n dream eiriciúil sin ACP ag rá go raibh Alive marbh.”
    Surely time to root out these repressive clerical bullies from our midst. Anne, I hear the CDF have upped the bounty paid on heretics. There’s a good living to be made by smart delatores and informers. Since banning of ‘Alive’ from Church porches is a supreme act of liberation for its readership, you could report this heretical cleric on a charge of Liberation Theology – still a reserved sin. I see a great career ahead of you as a Cabra Catholic, successor to the iconic Castle Catholic of yore.

  11. Mary O Vallely says:

    Anne, your passion is admirable but hold on there. You heard this from ONE man and you are castigating every ACP priest as a result. Please wait until you get the facts absolutely correct before passing judgement. It is so easy to rush in with an emotional response but wait until you have clarification. I speak from experience as one who responds sometimes too quickly and too emotionally. Bear in mind that this is ONE person’s say-so on ONE priest’s actions and reflect on that fact. Bullying, of course, from any quarter, is thoroughly abhorrent. I hope this matter is cleared to everyone’s satisfaction by good old dialogue as soon as possible.

  12. @Anne
    Anne, a chara,
    As a layman I have often experienced repression from priests, most recently from my PP who would have nothing to do with the ACP. Personally I am not sorry to Alive removed from any church. Far from being a Catholic paper, it is an ideological rightwing rant.
    I have felt bullied for many years by the parish stalwarts who have kept all newcomers at bay, by the bishops who are prolife but anti-gay, by clergy who see the church as their personal fiefdom, by preaching that is often about sin and rarely about love, by a preoccupation with sexual morality to the utter exclusion of any focus on business, honesty, ethics, or social solidarity. I feel bullied by a Roman clique that has imposed a doctrinaire and nonsensical translation of the Mass on us laity in the pews: does anybody really believe that Jesus used the word ‘chalice’ in the words of institution?
    I am delighted to see the emergence of the ACP because as a laity we are not going to stand by and watch our Church being abused or our faith being stood on by unthinking right wing zealots. It is time now for the faithful to have their voices heard. I continue to pray for laity and clergy alike. I agree entirely with you Anne that the time has come for this bullying of the faithful to stop. Perhaps we could begin with a letter to the Nuncio asking for the restoration of the Missal so brutally taken from us this last year? You draft it and I’ll happily sign up.

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