21Jun What will Pope Francis hear about the Irish Church?

“What do we need to say to Pope Francis about the Irish Church?”


The ACP  will host 4 public regional meetings ahead of the Papal visit.

The theme  of the meetings is  “What do we need to say to Pope Francis about the Irish Church?” 

These meetings are open to everybody, not just ACP members. They will afford an opportunity to everyone to make a submission.

The chair will introduce a guest who will speak for 10 minutes before the meeting is open to the floor.

Submissions will be summarised and forwarded to the Pope.

The dates, venues and chairs/speakers for the Papal regional meetings are as follows:



Mercy Centre, Mallow, Co Cork,

Wednesday, 04 July:  7.00 to 9.30 p.m.

Chair/Speaker: Gerry O’Connor



Árd Rí Hotel, Tuam, Co Galway,

Wednesday, 11 July: 7.00 to 9.30 p.m.

Chair/Speaker: Brendan Hoban



DCU St Patrick’s Campus,  E Block, Drumcondra Rd Lower, Dublin 9,

Wednesday, 18 July: 7.00 to 9.30 p.m.

Chair/Speaker: Brendan Hoban



Kilmore Hotel, Cavan,

Wednesday, 25 July: 7.00 to 9.30pm

Chair/Speaker: Gerry O’Connor.


The format will be a 10 minute introductory talk by the chair who will then open proceedings to the floor.

People will be encouraged to speak openly and honestly.

A summary of each meeting will be prepared and a press release issued after the four meetings with the main issues highlighted.

The summary will be forwarded to Pope Francis.


6 Responses

  1. Richard O'Donnell

    An excellent initiative. Another opportunity, being provided by the ACP, to have the voice of the Spirit, as heard by the people, heard by the Pope. Well done.

    I wonder how many dioceses,or indeed parishes, might organise a similar initiative?

  2. Joe O'Leary

    Lots of people will be telling Pope Francis that the Irish people have fallen into apostasy, as a result of godless secularism and bitter rejection of a scandal-ridden church.

    Will he be told that there is a lot of serious moral and religious thought and culture in Ireland, and that it remains a decent society, where humane understanding is not sacrificed on the altar of militant ideology of left or right?

    The harvest is still great, but the labourers now needed will be of a different kind. Catechesis and theological education are of foremost importance in ensuring a transmission of the heritage from an ageing male caste to a more lay-directed church, whose leaders will increasingly be married men and women.

    To free up the channels of communication, so that the Gospel wisdom can circulate again freely, we need a new respect for the maturity and the freedom of opinion of adult Irish people. A new culture in which Christian and secular voices can blend in discussion and dialogue would build up both the church and society at large.

    It’s time to stop flogging dead horses, and to set about stewarding our Christian heritage with an eye to its essential concerns. This requires flexibility and bold structural change.

    In his few hours in Ireland I hope Francis will encourage such development rather than moan about the fading of past values.

  3. Eddie Finnegan

    “What do we need to say to Pope Francis about the Irish Church?”

    Before going on to emphasise to Pope Francis all the positives from Joe O’Leary’s comment@2 (and I wish Joe & Brendan had been in Maynooth’s Pugin Hall on Tuesday evening to strengthen the bishops and the members of the Silver, Golden & Diamond Jubilee groups), maybe we should first let Francis know that:

    – it is an All-Island All-Ireland Church, recognising no border hard or soft, and still with a far-flung missionary diaspora;

    – his Nuncio represents him throughout four ecclesiastical provinces and twenty-six dioceses, spread across thirty-two counties, not twenty-six, despite the attempt to muddy the waters by so-called leading English Catholics before his predecessor’s 1979 visit;

    – while we understand that the WMoF, like the Olympic Games, is the privilege of a particular city and diocese, we would welcome him back anytime to visit the Primatial City & Archdiocese;

    – we do not blame him or even his handlers for the geographical oversight since we ourselves as an ostensibly All-Island Catholic priests’ association constantly fall short in regard to our All-Ireland Regional Meetings mandate;

    – we hope His Holiness will understand that our summary of Northern submissions from the Kilmore Hotel in Cavan represents the thought and message of Catholics from the entire ecclesiastical province of Armagh and the nine counties of Ulster, even though only three out of Kilmore’s thirty-six parishes lie north of the border in Fermanagh;

    – we promise that, before the next Papal Visit to Ireland, we shall arrange a more central Regional Meeting to represent the Church of the Northern Province and have already made an early pre-booking with Armagh’s City Hotel for the occasion.

  4. Gerry O'Hanlon

    This is a great initiative by the ACP leadership team. Many thanks.

    Gerry O’Hanlon, S.J.

  5. Sean O'Conaill

    ‘The Church’s mission is not to compel the unwilling, but to invite the willing.’ – Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore – Knock, June 17th 2018.

    In the wake of Ireland’s ‘Yes’ to repeal of the 8th Amendment does this homily mark a recognition by Irish Church leaders that the long historical era of Christendom is over, even in Ireland – and that we are indeed in a new era, as Pope Francis has warned?

    For an article and discussion on this issue, see:


  6. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    ‘The Church’s mission is not to compel the unwilling, but to invite the willing.’ Isn’t it to advise people that one and all are invited no matter their willingness or not? How does it fair for people to reject God in their lives? If you look closely, you’ll see his imprint on non-believers, atheist, agnostic alike. I can’t tell you some of the works I’ve been witnessing from people who care not to discuss religion.

    You don’t need to say anything about the Irish Church. Tell him that your country voted to be first to fully divest public money from fossil fuels. Tell him that you are going to rally to become not just a transparent economy, but truly an open economy where tax code loopholes can be closed and Ireland can have that “largest tax haven” moniker lifted. Pope Francis is a practical Catholic in a time where practicality needs to be reintroduced to populations – who better to take on the challenge than the most equitable nation in the world.

    This will let him know the Irish Church is alive and well and in sync with Pope Francis’s wishes for humanity.

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