26Jan ACP members in County Cork to meet on Tuesday

A meeting of priests from Cloyne and Cork & Ross dioceses will take place in the Ovens Parish Centre on Tuesday next 29 January.

The meeting will start at 2.30 and will include reports on the AGM and other recent meetings. There will also be time for members’ concerns to be raised.

The guest speaker will be Fr Oliver Brennan (Armagh diocese) who was sidelined after an allegation, then cleared by the PSNI, and eventually re-instated by his diocese: his story is worth hearing.

Members and new members welcome!

One Response

  1. Eddie Finnegan

    The Cork & Ross with Cloyne ACP group have been to the fore in holding diocesan and regional meetings, and reporting back on this site, since November 2010. Many another province or diocese could take a leaf from their book. I hope today’s meeting was fruitful and we look forward to their report.
    That Fr Oliver Brennan was their guest speaker speaks volumes, not just for Cloyne, Cork & Ross, but about those dioceses of his own Armagh province where it seems no such group has hosted him and where the ACP seems to be still at the single-cell stage, not yet in embryo.
    The points that have been made here (by Fr Bill Cosgrave and by the Leadership in their meeting with Ian Elliot, and in their proposed agenda for meetings with diocesan Priests’ Councils) are certainly relevant to Fr Oliver Brennan’s story: “The parish Eucharistic celebration should never be used as the occasion for making an announcement of the stepping down of a priest.”
    While Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Clifford took care to mention the presumption of innocence back in August 2010, for Oliver Brennan that’s certainly not how it felt at the time, or for the 26 months of limbo that followed. What he found missing throughout that period was “any experience of compassionate support from senior diocesan authorities,” apart that is from a few formal contacts. Last October he recalled that the most painful blow was the decision not to allow him attend the annual gathering of Armagh priests in Bundoran – something that contributed greatly to his sense of alienation from Armagh Archdiocese. What buoyed up this 65-67 year old priest, who had given so much to his own diocese and beyond for forty years, was the support of many priest friends and the parishioners of Blackrock & Haggardstown, as well as his ability to carry on a certain amount of non-sacramental pastoral work.
    What Irish bishops and ‘superiors’ should learn a lesson from is that Oliver Brennan found more compassionate encouragement from officers of the PSNI (Northern Ireland Police Service) than from officials of the Archdiocese. The biggest contrast I found (from a radio playback) was Cardinal Seán Brady’s stiffly formal reading of the official statement that charges against Fr Brennan were “not substantiated” and that “he remains a priest in good standing and will resume ministry in another parish,” – followed by the parishioners of Blackrock & Haggardstown raising the rafters in several minutes of loud applause and cheering. Now if anyone should appreciate the need for warmth and compassion on such an occasion, surely that man should be Seán Brady?


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