PRESS RELEASE 5 August 2016
Association of Catholics in Ireland
ACI expresses concern about the Maynooth controversy and urges a prompt investigation to reassure the laity and limit damage to the Irish Church.
The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI) is concerned about allegations of strange goings-on at St. Patrick’s College Maynooth which have led to the Archbishop of Dublin deciding to send his trainee priests to Rome rather than to the Irish seminary. The Church in Ireland has been damaged in recent decades and does not need another badly handled situation to further test the laity who struggle to hold on to their faith. It is important that immediate action be taken to address the situation and to allay the concerns of the lay faithful. The Association would support an independent investigation into the allegations, to be carried out promptly and with transparency.
The action of the Archbishop is an immediate option and may encourage a speedier response to the problem, but sending seminarians to Rome is not the answer. Priests should be trained in our own pastoral environment. It is life experience not ‘hot-house’ training that leads to spiritual maturity. As Pope Francis said “priests should be shepherds … and smell of their sheep”.
In the long term the Church needs to discern what type of priest we need to meet the needs of the rapidly changing society and what is the optimum formation required to produce them.
The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI) is committed to the pursuit of a reform and renewal agenda in the Irish Catholic Church in the spirit of Vatican II. It is committed to helping to re-build (through words and deeds) a united Church based on the teachings of Jesus Christ – a Church that is inclusive, compassionate, accepts the equality of all believers by virtue of their baptism and acknowledges its failures.
For further information contact: Patricia Fitzsimons 087 2548882 or Anthony Neville 086 8112715
Pity we cannot tick like! Totally concur with this ACI statement. Seminarians need to be trained where they are to serve so that they can understand the needs of the people.Perhaps the days of isolating young men for this training are well and truly over. Much as I have fond memories of my own time in Maynooth we have learned so much more about what it is to be human, about sexuality and the need for love in the real meaning of the term, that it seems cruel to keep trainee priests apart from the rest of society. It also helps to create a sense of elitism which is destructive to all.I am so conscious of the young seminarians who must be suffering greatly over all this controversy. The sooner this independent investigation and a proper inclusive discussion begins the better. Some good has to come out of all this, please God.
Would any ACI member care to make a detailed basic proposal for the education and training of prospective priests that we could all work on?
there is something unnatural about a white male celibate middle class clergy. with its purtanic theology of J Paul 2nd