ACP Public Meetings – “What do we need to say to Pope Francis about the Irish Church?”

What will Pope Francis hear about the Irish Church?

“What do we need to say to Pope Francis about the Irish Church?”


The ACP  will host 4 public regional meetings ahead of the Papal visit.

The theme  of the meetings is  “What do we need to say to Pope Francis about the Irish Church?” 

These meetings are open to everybody, not just ACP members. They will afford an opportunity to everyone to make a submission.

The chair will introduce a guest who will speak for 10 minutes before the meeting is open to the floor.

Submissions will be summarised and forwarded to the Pope.

The dates, venues and chairs/speakers for the Papal regional meetings are as follows:



Mercy Centre, Mallow, Co Cork,

Wednesday, 04 July:  7.00 to 9.30 p.m.

Chair/Speaker: Gerry O’Connor



Árd Rí Hotel, Tuam, Co Galway,

Wednesday, 11 July: 7.00 to 9.30 p.m.

Chair/Speaker: Brendan Hoban



DCU St Patrick’s Campus,  E Block, Drumcondra Rd Lower, Dublin 9,

Wednesday, 18 July: 7.00 to 9.30 p.m.

Chair/Speaker: Brendan Hoban



Kilmore Hotel, Cavan,

Wednesday, 25 July: 7.00 to 9.30pm

Chair/Speaker: Gerry O’Connor.


The format will be a 10 minute introductory talk by the chair who will then open proceedings to the floor.

People will be encouraged to speak openly and honestly.

A summary of each meeting will be prepared and a press release issued after the four meetings with the main issues highlighted.

The summary will be forwarded to Pope Francis.


Similar Posts


  1. Richard O'Donnell says:

    An excellent initiative. Another opportunity, being provided by the ACP, to have the voice of the Spirit, as heard by the people, heard by the Pope. Well done.

    I wonder how many dioceses,or indeed parishes, might organise a similar initiative?

  2. Joe O'Leary says:

    Lots of people will be telling Pope Francis that the Irish people have fallen into apostasy, as a result of godless secularism and bitter rejection of a scandal-ridden church.

    Will he be told that there is a lot of serious moral and religious thought and culture in Ireland, and that it remains a decent society, where humane understanding is not sacrificed on the altar of militant ideology of left or right?

    The harvest is still great, but the labourers now needed will be of a different kind. Catechesis and theological education are of foremost importance in ensuring a transmission of the heritage from an ageing male caste to a more lay-directed church, whose leaders will increasingly be married men and women.

    To free up the channels of communication, so that the Gospel wisdom can circulate again freely, we need a new respect for the maturity and the freedom of opinion of adult Irish people. A new culture in which Christian and secular voices can blend in discussion and dialogue would build up both the church and society at large.

    It’s time to stop flogging dead horses, and to set about stewarding our Christian heritage with an eye to its essential concerns. This requires flexibility and bold structural change.

    In his few hours in Ireland I hope Francis will encourage such development rather than moan about the fading of past values.

  3. Eddie Finnegan says:

    “What do we need to say to Pope Francis about the Irish Church?”

    Before going on to emphasise to Pope Francis all the positives from Joe O’Leary’s comment@2 (and I wish Joe & Brendan had been in Maynooth’s Pugin Hall on Tuesday evening to strengthen the bishops and the members of the Silver, Golden & Diamond Jubilee groups), maybe we should first let Francis know that:

    – it is an All-Island All-Ireland Church, recognising no border hard or soft, and still with a far-flung missionary diaspora;

    – his Nuncio represents him throughout four ecclesiastical provinces and twenty-six dioceses, spread across thirty-two counties, not twenty-six, despite the attempt to muddy the waters by so-called leading English Catholics before his predecessor’s 1979 visit;

    – while we understand that the WMoF, like the Olympic Games, is the privilege of a particular city and diocese, we would welcome him back anytime to visit the Primatial City & Archdiocese;

    – we do not blame him or even his handlers for the geographical oversight since we ourselves as an ostensibly All-Island Catholic priests’ association constantly fall short in regard to our All-Ireland Regional Meetings mandate;

    – we hope His Holiness will understand that our summary of Northern submissions from the Kilmore Hotel in Cavan represents the thought and message of Catholics from the entire ecclesiastical province of Armagh and the nine counties of Ulster, even though only three out of Kilmore’s thirty-six parishes lie north of the border in Fermanagh;

    – we promise that, before the next Papal Visit to Ireland, we shall arrange a more central Regional Meeting to represent the Church of the Northern Province and have already made an early pre-booking with Armagh’s City Hotel for the occasion.

  4. Gerry O'Hanlon says:

    This is a great initiative by the ACP leadership team. Many thanks.

    Gerry O’Hanlon, S.J.

  5. Sean O'Conaill says:

    ‘The Church’s mission is not to compel the unwilling, but to invite the willing.’ – Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore – Knock, June 17th 2018.

    In the wake of Ireland’s ‘Yes’ to repeal of the 8th Amendment does this homily mark a recognition by Irish Church leaders that the long historical era of Christendom is over, even in Ireland – and that we are indeed in a new era, as Pope Francis has warned?

    For an article and discussion on this issue, see:


  6. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    ‘The Church’s mission is not to compel the unwilling, but to invite the willing.’ Isn’t it to advise people that one and all are invited no matter their willingness or not? How does it fair for people to reject God in their lives? If you look closely, you’ll see his imprint on non-believers, atheist, agnostic alike. I can’t tell you some of the works I’ve been witnessing from people who care not to discuss religion.

    You don’t need to say anything about the Irish Church. Tell him that your country voted to be first to fully divest public money from fossil fuels. Tell him that you are going to rally to become not just a transparent economy, but truly an open economy where tax code loopholes can be closed and Ireland can have that “largest tax haven” moniker lifted. Pope Francis is a practical Catholic in a time where practicality needs to be reintroduced to populations – who better to take on the challenge than the most equitable nation in the world.

    This will let him know the Irish Church is alive and well and in sync with Pope Francis’s wishes for humanity.

  7. Bernard Kennedy says:

    An important initiative to listen to what the spirit says to the churches. The women,men,lgbti and seekers. Hope it goes well.

  8. Micheal Feeney says:

    Dear Folk,
    Yearly meetings of the 4 provinces would go a long way to establish TRUST in the irish church.

  9. Joe Walsh says:

    I hope in the ACP message that will be sent to Pope Francis, he will hear a truly prophetic voice – one that’s different from the institutional business-as-usual voice that’s marked by safe cliches and truisms.

  10. ElizabethMcGuire Cleary says:

    If there are people who cannot attend the meeting to make their point, what facility is available to them to make a comment? Could a version of this current COMMENTS SECTION (with a word limit of say 200 words) be possible, either on this website, or on a temporary basic website or blog? I know there could be a risk of very negative comments, or of negative ‘bombing’ of the site by angry dissidents, but it seems to me that the voices of dissidents also need to be heard – Jesues died for them too!
    [This comment up to the previous sentence is 100 words]
    PS Am I the only female with a comment to make?

    1. Mattie Long says:

      The ACP realise that many people have been unable to attend these meetings and have expressed a desire to have their views taken into account.
      We will be inviting people who wish to express their opinions to do so by emailing us when the final meeting has been held.

  11. Con Devree says:

    To what extent are these meetings “much ado?” Their purported significance rests on the reception by The Vatican of the reports on the meetings. If the Pope himself is to be believed such reports have undergone peculiar pathways in the past two years, even to the extent of his hearing about the “dubia” on the media.

    Reports on the meetings suggested here are problematic in a number of ways. What is the evidence for the accuracy and comprehensiveness conveyed by the reports? How were the meetings constituted? What agendas did the said constitution of the meetings serve?

    There is the question of the claims made concerning representation. How representative of a larger population will the assembled groups be? Take for example the All Ireland Rally for Life in Stormont on July 7th. One of the two loudest cheers at this predominantly Catholic gathering, was that requiring the Bishops and priests in Northern Ireland to direct Catholics not to vote for Sinn Fein. Predictably very few of those attending the four regional meetings would agree with this demand. On the other hand further indicators suggest that very few of those present at Stormont (I estimate a crowd of between 500 and 1000) will attend the four regional meetings. The four meetings will most probably reflect the attitudes to Church teaching displayed in the recent Referendum, but in Vatican terms this in itself creates a problem of representation.

    In so far as some level of bureaucracy in the Vatican would give the reports a second look, the conclusion would be that there is nothing exceptional about Ireland, little to be learned therefrom.

    Of course regional meetings could be very productive.

    Acts 3 to 4 relate how after a hasty trial Peter and John joined their brethren and told them what they had underwent on account of the witness they had borne to Jesus. At that moment they all “lifted their voices together to God” beginning the most extensive prayer in the New Testament. When this first Christian community was confronted by dangers, difficulties and threats, it did not attempt to work out how to react, find strategies or defend itself. Rather when put to the test the community started to pray and make contact with God.

    Their unity rather than being jeopardised in the face of difficulty was sustained by steadfast prayer which was focussed on the petition not to lose the courage of faith, but “to speak His word with boldness.”

    Should not a series of such prayer-dominated meetings form a preliminary to the meetings announced, thereby rendering their outcomes more locally beneficial and more credible elsewhere?

  12. Sean O'Conaill says:

    #11 You are not unwise to question whether Francis will ever get to hear of these meeting, Con. However, I shall try to make the Cavan one on the 25th just to meet with whoever turns up – to pray, hopefully, and to share perceptions of the current situation.

    Whatever needs to happen in Ireland, to reverse present trends towards the collapse of the clerical sacramental system and the dispersal of the ‘flock’, can begin to happen only in such gatherings – where prayer for guidance in times of tribulation should indeed be first on the agenda.

    Yes, a meeting that is all about talk can indeed be infertile but, equally, clerically-led meetings that are all about prayer and no talk – ever – are very much feeders of the cynicism of the moment. We are totally starved in my diocese (Derry) of opportunities to share current misgivings together, frankly, with clergy.

  13. Anthony Neville says:

    Questions and concerns about such meetings are understandable. However they can be productive as the recent Association of Catholics in Ireland meeting, ‘Future Families: Challenges for Faith and Society’ showed. The report of this meeting can be viewed on http://www.acireland.ie

  14. Christopher Gardiner says:

    I would love to say to Pope Francis, thank you for having an open mind about gay people but would you please tell the CDF they are not actually Jesus. The power has gone to their heads so much they forget Jesus founded the Church as a kingdom within not an institution without. I would ask Pope Francis to tell me why did Jesus incarnation mean so much if its power can be nullified by the terms and conditions imposed by doctrine. Oh and finally I would like Francis to know I am a gay man in a partnership for almost 15 years I am not depraved, disordered or intrinsically evil. As a person on the margins outside the walls or doctrine I pray, I have faith and I believe Jesus doesn’t hate or reject me even my sexuality. When power aligns itself with wealth the truth (Jesus) is lost to it.

Join the Discussion

Keep the following in mind when writing a comment

  • Your comment must include your full name, and email. (email will not be published). You may be contacted by email, and it is possible you might be requested to supply your postal address to verify your identity.
  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger. Comments containing vulgarities, personalised insults, slanders or accusations shall be deleted.
  • Keep to the point. Deliberate digressions don't aid the discussion.
  • Including multiple links or coding in your comment will increase the chances of it being automati cally marked as spam.
  • Posts that are merely links to other sites or lengthy quotes may not be published.
  • Brevity. Like homilies keep you comments as short as possible; continued repetitions of a point over various threads will not be published.
  • The decision to publish or not publish a comment is made by the site editor. It will not be possible to reply individually to those whose comments are not published.