ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin has held his first meeting with a group of outspoken priests who warned him that the Catholic hierarchy was in denial about the "bleak outlook" for male vocations to the priesthood.
Dr Martin met
with the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland (ACP) in a
'gloves-off' meeting, in which he was told the Diocese of Killala was
near breaking point with just four priests under 50.
At the meeting in Dublin, ACP spokesman Fr Brendan Hoban accused Rome of not appreciating the seriousness of the situation.
The archbishop is the most senior Irish prelate to hold talks with the group to date.
ACP told Dr Martin that solutions such as the clustering of parishes
and bringing in priests from abroad were "not realistic" and the church
needed to think "outside the box".
They also discussed rebel
priest Fr Tony Flannery. Dr Martin was told the procedures for dealing
with "allegations of unorthodoxy against priests" were perceived to be
"seriously defective and unjust".