Tim Hazelwood on Social Media abuse, ‘Masshoppers’, finance, church attendance and isolation

ACP Leadership member Tim Hazelwood spoke at the recent AGM on issues affecting priests during the Covid lockdown. Isolation and social media abuse are among the issues of concern, both of which have been attracting media attention of late.

This is an edited version of Tim’s input at the AGM.


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  1. Seamus+Ahearne says:


    I demur. I don’t want to, but I must. There is another view.

    ‘Methinks thou doth protest too much’ (more accurately….. from Hamlet: The lady doth protest too much, methinks.)

    We are locked down. We have no Church except for funerals. We miss the people. The people miss their Church and their Masses.

    We don’t have an option. It is not a competition. We do what we can. That is the challenge. It is always the challenge. Every Liturgy; every day; everything is Evangelisation. Each new day asks something different from us. That is ministry.

    The online Mass is difficult. Some of us find it almost impossible to ‘celebrate’ without a participating congregation. But we must do something. Again we have no option.

    We don’t have to be performers but we must adjust. We need zooming cameras. We need music and song. We need some effort to involve those who are watching. We need to stretch our imaginations to see how we can reach people and how we can involve them. Our reality has changed. It is no use screaming poor-me!

    It is not satisfactory but it has to be done. Not too many of us are technically minded but we get on with it. It is an opportunity. This is the demand of ministry.

    The observation on the numbers participating or engaging is not necessarily something pompous but rather it is impressive that so many want to take part. Be surprised rather than envious or competitive.

    This is not easy. It is not satisfactory. But we have to reach out in some way to connect. Don’t give in or give up. Liturgy -online or ‘normal’ is never easy. It puts mighty pressure on us to bring God alive; to make faith real; to stir and relate to the people present or even on screens.

    Seamus Ahearne osa

  2. Peter Mulholland says:

    Hi Tim, the following extracts from my book may be of interest in light of the ‘masshopper’ issue. They are largely based on letters published in the Sunday papers back in the 1960s-80s:

    As I noted above, some of the critics expressed dissatisfaction with the Mass or the quality of newly ordained seminarians while others complained that the Church was losing touch with the laity and about authoritarianism or aggressive preaching. One letter-writer remarked on the differences that he perceived to exist between parishes and priests and expressed envy at the choice available to ‘city folk’.
    Others criticised the legalistic style of religiosity and boring sermons or the quality of religious education and some complained about clerical avarice or about the Church’s attitude to women and the practice of ‘churching’ and about religious judgementalism, brainwashing, insularity, and anti-intellectualism.

    My book is called ‘Love’s Betrayal: The Decline of Catholicism and Rise of New Religions in Ireland’ See: https://sluggerotoole.com/2020/10/04/loves-betrayal-the-decline-of-catholicism-and-the-rise-of-new-religions-in-ireland-by-peter-mulholland-new-insights-on-recent-religious-history/

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