Invitation to O'Gorman to speak at Mass withdrawn


AN INVITATION to One in Four founder Colm O'Gorman to take part in a Mass of reconciliation at Drogheda's Augustinian church next Sunday has been withdrawn at the request of Armagh diocesan authorities.

Suing the PopeBeyond Belief

The Mass in Drogheda was intended to mark the 30th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's visit there on September 29th, 1979, where he appealed to paramilitaries in Northern Ireland "to turn away from the paths of violence."

The idea was originally mooted by Drogheda-based Augustinian priest Fr Iggy O'Donovan as "a Mass of atonement", at the Humbert School in Ballina last August. He proposed that Sunday, September 27th, should be designated as a day of atonement by the Catholic Church in Ireland for abuse committed against the innocent.

He noted that celebrations were being planned for that day to mark the 30th anniversary of the visit to Ireland by Pope John Paul II. "Is it not more appropriate that we designate that Sunday as a day of atonement?" he asked. "Surely it would make more sense than engaging in a triumphalist nostalgic exercise commemorating what has turned out to be the last sting of a dying wasp."

In a brief statement on the matter yesterday, the Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh diocese Most Rev Gerard Clifford said that last Tuesday he was informed "that complaints were made by lay people in Drogheda who were concerned that Mr Colm O'Gorman had been scheduled to speak during the Mass of reconciliation in the Augustinian church in Drogheda, to be celebrated by Fr Iggy O'Donovan OSA, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II to Ireland.

"I conveyed these concerns to Fr O'Donovan and suggested to him that it might be a good idea to invite Mr O'Gorman to Drogheda on another occasion outside the context of Mass. In the Catholic Church the homily is the reserve of the priest or deacon. Both Fr O'Donovan and Mr O'Gorman have already discussed the possibility of Mr O'Gorman coming to Drogheda to speak and Fr O'Donovan was confident this could be accommodated in the near future."

Yesterday, Mr O'Gorman said it was never intended that he would deliver a homily at the Mass but that he might speak during it. He intended doing so on the theme of reconciliation for all hurt by abuse scandals. He had hoped to focus on how everyone might move forward from the shared trauma.