07Feb ACP members in Cork county gather

Priests from Cork & Ross and from Cloyne Diocese gathered at Ovens Parish Centre for their ACP meeting on 29 January – including some who had not come to a such a meeting before.

Fr Oliver Brennan from Armagh diocese was our guest speaker – he spoke movingly of his horrendous experience in being removed from his parish (with just five hours notice) on foot of an allegation, with the PSNI clearance coming relatively quickly within a year, and the archdiocesan permission to return to ministry following painstakingly slowly. The coldness of his treatment by church authorities made an impression.

Attendees asked questions, shared experiences and commented on his story.

Members suggested that the ACP prepare a manual for priests, a useful reference in case of such an allegation. They also felt we need to be mindful of each other, and particularly sensitive to anyone who finds himself out of ministry on foot of an allegation.

Also on the agenda was the proposal for a meeting between the ACP locally and the Priests’ Council. This was not seen as a productive option by members (one commented that the priests council ‘is a place where good ideas go to die’) so instead it was agreed to invite both our bishops to a future ACP meeting.

The meeting heard reports on the AGM in Dublin and on the local ‘Towards an Assembly’ meeting in Little Island and follow-up meetings in a Dennehys Cross and Blarney parishes. Fr Tony Flannery’s difficulties with the CDF were mentioned and members agreed to a message of support for Tony.

ACP menbers paid their annual subs and new members were registered also. Email addresses were noted for communication about future meetings.