Visit of Pope Francis; Statement of the Association of Catholic Priests
The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) welcomes the announcement of the decision of Pope Francis to visit Ireland for the World Meeting of Families in August 2018.
We are encouraged that Francis, who has emphasised so often the need for reform in our Church in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, will help to bring direction and energy to our listless and rudderless Church.
It is heartening for our association that, six years after our foundation in a different papal dispensation, the concerns and emphases of Francis for a Church of the future echo so clearly our own platform.
The ACP shares the Pope’s focus on the need to be open to the signs of the times, to converse with the culture of the day, to spurn clericalism and the elitism it engenders, to be inclusive and transparent in our dealings and to invite the excluded and the marginalised into the heart of our Church.
The ACP particularly welcomes the visit of Pope Francis as an opportunity to engage with the issue of the ‘silencing’ of five of our priest-members, and the injustice thereby perpetrated against priests who have contributed so much to the life and work of the Church in Ireland. It would help to right a terrible wrong if, before the Pope’s visit, this issue could be dealt with appropriately. Otherwise it could prove a distraction in the preparations for the visit and overshadow the visit itself.