Saturday, January 12, 2013

Association of Catholic Priests to meet Councils of Priests throughout Ireland

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) hopes to hold discussions with the three bishops of the Archdiocese of Dublin as part of a diocesan Council of Priests meeting in the coming weeks. 

This is one of a series of meetings requested by the ACP of the Diocesan Councils of Priests of which the local bishops are members.

“The first and the most positive response was in Dublin,” said Fr Tony Flannery, leadership team ACP. “We would presume that when we are meeting with these councils that the Bishop would be there.”

In October ACP stated it was “disappointed and saddened” with the response to its request for a meeting with the Irish Episcopal Conference (IEC).

The written response from the IEC stated: “The Bishops are of the opinion that engagement with the Association of Catholic Priests would best take place at local level by using established structures such as the Council of Priests.”

So ACP has had been in touch with the priests councils and has had at least half a dozen positive responses so far. 

“You are better talking than not talking and any little step is important because we believe we’ve got major problems and that shouting at each other across the media won’t achieve much,” said  Fr Flannery.

“Under the (agenda) heading of Vocations we want to talk about is who is going to provide the Eucharist in 20 years time," he said. 

Also on the agenda is the handling of allegations against priests which he said is "a thorny issue as what we have learned is there is no uniformity between one diocese and another in how that is handled.”

The ACP’s proposed agenda, published in response to requests from Priests’ Councils includes:

1. Vocations

2. Procedures for dealing with allegations against priests.

3. Following the New Missal, the impending translation of the Lectionary.

4. Pastoral implications of the current economic situation.

5. The role of priests in the appointment of bishops.

6. The renewal of the Church in this Year of Faith.

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