Monday, August 29, 2011

Church 'needs to undergo revolution'

Veteran rural campaigner Father Harry Bohan yesterday said that the Cloyne Report was worse than he could ever have imagined.

The Co Clare priest said: "I can say for certain that I didn't even know that things like that existed.

"On two levels I'm appalled with the thing. Firstly, the fact that this kind of crime could have been committed; but secondly, the hiding of it.

"It brought home to me that the institution, the clerical authoritarian church, became so concerned about the institution that it had forgotten what it was about, and that was the most sickening thing of all."

Fr Bohan also called for church renewal and revolution; he feels that massive changes are needed in the church.

"Christ set up a community, not a hierarchy, and that is the priesthood and church we must go back to," said Fr Bohan in an interview on the RTE radio programme CountryWide.

"That church was a humble church, it was a servant church; we need a different culture of authority. We need a culture of authority which facilitates people because the real energy now will come from lay people, not clerics.

"And I think where the renewal will begin will be with the lay people facilitating them as equals, their priesthood as well as the ordained priesthood."

He also revealed that he would have no problem with women becoming priests and he is against compulsory celibacy.

"I think to some extent celibacy belongs to a monastic type of priesthood. The priest in the world is a different person altogether and definitely I believe that there should be choice. But at least we should be debating these issues."

Fr Bohan was diagnosed with cancer recently but the former Clare hurling manager admitted that the diagnosis didn't come as much of a shock to him.

"When I got the news, I said I'm not surprised and I don't know why I said that. But in the month of May I buried 11 people in the parish and eight of them were as a result of cancer. I was involved with the families and cancer was in my head. All the way along I did pray more, but I definitely trusted the men that I went to in Galway for treatment. I left myself in their hands and I felt hugely confident that I was in the right hands."