15Feb ACP Regional Meetings – Well being of priests

 

At a meeting of 18 January, 2017, a decision was made by the leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) to hold regional meetings of priests to explore in practical detail the worries and the fears that surfaced about the wellbeing of Irish priests at our recent AGM.

Accordingly, a meeting has been arranged in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris on Wednesday, 08 March at 2.00pm.

Another, for the Southern Region has been scheduled for 15 March  in The Parish Centre, Ovens, Co. Cork from 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm.

As an Association of Priests, we are very aware of how difficult life is for priests in Ireland now, how stressed many of us feel, how isolated we can be, and how our increased work-load and further unrealistic expectations are making retirement and old age more and more problematic.

As the average age of priests in Ireland edges towards 70, it’s clear that the experts on how priests feel and what priests need are priests themselves. This is why our meeting will focus on listening to what priests have to say and pondering down-to-earth and practical responses to our felt needs in considering our difficult future.

Among the issues to be addressed will be:

  • The canonical and civil rights of priests;
  • What legal advice and support is available for priests in difficulty;
  • Where ‘clustering’ is leading;
  • How increased work and added responsibility are impinging on our health;
  • Retirement, accommodation and pensions;
  • Support in dealing with bishops;
  • Any other issues priests may wish to raise.

It is hoped that these meetings will be part of a wider consultation of priests, ­ ACP members and others, who may wish to participate ­which may lead to agreed protocols of support to enhance the wellbeing of priests in Ireland.

 

 

4 Responses

  1. DR. HENRY

    It appears that the bishops are stonewalling their priests, instead of being good pastors to them. If there is constant behavior like that of the bishops, do not expect vocations to the priesthood. I caution the the bishops to stop surrounding themselves with a small group of ‘favorites’.

  2. Mary O'Neill

    I’m delighted to see the ACP reaching out to fellow clergy and offering ongoing support and practical help. I know many priests feel under huge pressure today from so many different sources, but by coming together and being honest and open with one another, surely they can find support, encouragement and direction.
    Wishing you all the best for those meetings.

  3. Paddy Ferry

    This is an excellent idea and I agree completely with Mary.
    I also agree with Dr. Henry. I am continually baffled as to why the Irish bishops do not recognise the common concerns, the common goal, infact, they share with the ACP, and behave accordingly. But not just that, they have stood and still stand idly by and witness the appalling treatment suffered by Sean Fagan, Tony and the other abused priests. Why? For God sake,why ?

  4. Eddie Finnegan

    “If only they had listened to Luther,” concluded the Tablet’s editorial re Tony Flannery et al the other week.

    “If only they had listened to Clogher,” say I to the ACP Leadership re the ‘in-house’ care and well being of priests. That was the gist of the last chat I had with my Maynooth contemporary: Bishop, now Bishop Emeritus, Liam McDaid in 2013. Clogher ACP kept up its regular bi-monthly meetings and its reports back to this forum long after other dioceses and regions, after some good early efforts, had thrown in the towel. Clogher ACP was not acp-lite, but steered a steady course between original ACP objectives of reform, ‘giving a voice to priests’, and beginning to deal with the issues raised above. By all means, let Clogher host the Northern Region’s meeting. I can’t see (m)any of the other northern dioceses putting up a fight for the privilege!

    It is no accident that one of Clogher-ACP’s most constant attenders was Liam McDaid himself, who had lived and struggled with Parkinson’s since just before his appointment as Bishop.
    Clogher was fortunate that Liam was appointed shepherd more than eighteen months before Charles Brown arrived in Cabra full of policies and prejudices against nominating real ‘sons of the soil’ who might have something of the smell of the sheep and of their pastors about them. Liam certainly did but, if I’m not mistaken, he was the last local appointee these past seven years.

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