Killaloe Diocesan Meeting 23 February
A meeting organised by the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) was held for the Diocese of Killaloe in the Lakeside Hotel Ballina-Killaloe on Wednesday 23 February 2011. There were 31 priests present and four apologies.
Tom Hannon chaired the meeting and led the opening prayer using the text of the International Eucharistic Congress 2012 prayer. He outlined the agenda for the meeting and then invited Tony Flannery from the ACP to address the meeting. Tony outlined the progress of the association since its initial meeting in Portlaoise in 2010. He stated that there were a number of local diocesan gatherings taking place similar to this meeting and that the leadership team of himself, Brendan Hoban and Sean McDonagh had been joined by PJ Madden of Kildare & Leighlin. While they were still looking for a fifth member, the local initiatives were being encouraged and membership currently stands at about 450. The ACP will represent whoever signs up and does not presume to speak for all priests. The website (www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie) is quite active and becoming a good resource. Tony also stated that the ACP delegation that had met with the Apostolic Visitors had a surprisingly positive meeting.
New Edition of the Roman Missal
He then informed the meeting that a delegation from the ACP is due to meet with some Bishops shortly with regard to the new edition of the Roman Missal and Tony asked for opinions and/or advice on this matter. The general feeling from other meetings of the ACP was that the introduction of the text should be delayed for a process of consultation with clergy and people.
There was a good deal of reaction from the gathered clergy; difficulty was expressed with the structure and form of the text, that it was not a particularly good English translation and that its use would have to be adapted for pastoral circumstances and reasons. Some were of the opinion that they saw the energy around the issue as being a waste and would be ignoring the new text.
One priest reported that the reaction of the Parish Pastoral Council was disbelief that this was the only thing that seemed to be bothering the Church at the moment.
Dissatisfaction was also expressed that the Council of Priests had seemed to accept the new edition without question.
A number of priests stated that it was important to take a stand against the imposition of this text and in particular if we listen to our parish pastoral councils and people that we would have a renewed impetus in the whole debate. There was a blatant disconnection between top and bottom in Church as shown in the pretence of consultation on this important matter and others and there was a clear moving away from the people by those who were handing down the new edition.
The archaic and exclusive language was also highlighted as a huge difficulty and hurtful to many.
A number of suggestions were made to Tony Flannery regarding the meeting with the bishops. Firstly, to point out the financial implications where parishes would refuse to accept the new edition in its present form. Secondly, to focus on one of the many issues in an attempt to achieve some proper liaison and consultation, namely around the exclusive language.
It was also suggested that those at the meeting might consult with their own Parish Pastoral Councils and raise the issue with the Council of Priests as a matter of urgency.
Child Protection Issues
Tony Flannery outlined how the issue of child protection is very much to the forefront of the work of the ACP. All were very much aware of the pain and horror of abuse and the suffering of so many victims. Part of the work of the ACP is also focused on the handling of allegations by dioceses and in particular the initial handling where there seems to be a difference between dioceses in dealings and management of clergy when an allegation is made. Some work is presently being done on this matter and it is hoped that a meeting with bishops will take place to devise a common policy on this issue.
Any Other Business
The alienation of young people and associated pastoral problems was raised and while it is a widespread issue, it was felt that whatever work would be done on this matter was best dealt with locally.
Appreciation was expressed with the work of the ACP and good wishes were extended to the leadership team with assurances of support.
Tom Hannon asked for extra local contacts for the ACP; some priests are to be approached personally, in particular for the Clare area in the diocese and it is hoped that another meeting will be held in the not too distant future.
An appeal for suitable articles for the ACP website was made and can be sent directly to the website or to any of the local contacts who are at present, Tom Hannon, David Carroll and Anthony McMahon.