Pope’s words warmly welcomed by Irish clergy
Association of Catholic Priests’ spokesman ‘exhilarated’
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: He said it was “fairly unusual for a pope to open his heart on so many issues”
The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said he was “very encouraged” by the words of Pope Francis.
“It sets a pastoral tone for the whole church,” he said. He said it “fairly unusual for a pope to open his heart on so many issues. It was very deep, but he had said many of these things already.”
Pope Francis “was going back to the old practice in the church, not in a legalistic or rigorist way, of accompanying the person within the situation in which they find themselves, where they can encounter the mercy of God.”
He described this as “the mentality of the good priest.” It was “a way which reflected a Jesus who accompanied people”.
As to Pope Francis saying that it was not necessary for the Church to continually talk about abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods, Archbishop Martin said this seeming obsession with such issues was not confined to the church. “The media too seems preoccupied with them.”
He agreed too, and as he had said at a recent meeting with the Association of Catholic Priests, that where queries about the orthodoxy of priests was concerned, these should be dealt with by the local bishops’ conference rather than Rome.
Fr Brendan Hoban of the association’s leadership team was “absolutely delighted” with the pope’s interview. He said he was “absolutely exhilarated”.
He recalled that much of what the pope said was outlined in an article in the Furrow three years ago where the ACP outlined its aims. “It was very much on the same football pitch,” he said.
He recalled how the association had been criticised at a recent meeting with the Council of Priests in Ferns diocese for not being more publicly supportive of the bishops during the recent abortion debate. He had said “the bishops overegged their case” and now he sees that Pope Francis was saying something similar.
The full text of the Pope's interview is available here