Meeting to consider new priests' association


A MEETING of Catholic priests to consider setting up an association of Irish priests is to take place in Portlaoise on September 15th next.

The initiative follows an informal gathering in Athlone recently of about nine Catholic priests representing those in dioceses, religious orders/ congregations and missionary societies.

A statement yesterday said that at the Athlone meeting those priests present discussed the possibility of encouraging a public voice for Catholic priests in Ireland.

It was agreed there was a need for such a coherent voice “in light of the increasingly strained relationship between priests and their bishops” and what was described as “the debilitating reality that, without a platform to express their views, priests find themselves unable to represent their own perspective on issues pertinent to priesthood, church and society today”.

The consensus at the meeting was that, “due to the diversity of opinion among priests, it would be impossible to represent all clergy”.

Three priests at the meeting were asked to draft a set of aims or guidelines for the proposed association. They have done so.

Their draft proposals include “the importance of looking seriously at the ministry, government and sexual teaching of the church” and “a concern for social justice and God’s creation.”

Those interested may contact Fr Brendan Hoban at 086-6065055, Fr Tony Flannery at 087-6814699, and/or Fr Seán McDonagh at 087-2367612.