Priest accuses former Maynooth professor of 'unseemly assault'


CO MAYO priest Fr Brendan Hoban has accused the former professor of moral theology at Maynooth Fr Vincent Twomey of an “unseemly and supercilious assault” on the membership of the Association of Catholic Priests.

He was responding to Fr Twomey’s criticism of the absence of any of the association’s members at a conference in Cork last week on the controversial new Roman missal, which the association has opposed.

Fr Twomey said: “Not one of them turned up”, and he expressed disappointment that “none of those who criticised the translation had the courage to come and enter into honest debate with those responsible for the new English translation”.

He said he took the association’s criticisms “very seriously because they reflect the disturbingly low level of theological knowledge in Ireland about the liturgy”.

That remark was described by Fr Hoban as “arrogant and disparaging”.

Fr Twomey chaired last week’s Fota IV International Liturgical Conference in Cork city on the new missal which is to be introduced in some parishes next month. In attendance were three members of the Vatican’s Vox Clara Committee, representing Catholic bishops of English-speaking countries who advised Rome on the new translation.

They were Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Bishop Arthur Serratelli of New Jersey and Msgr James Moroney of Worcester diocese in Massachusetts.

In a statement yesterday, Fr Hoban, a parish priest in Ballina, said the association, of which he is a founder member, was unaware of the conference and had not been invited.

“I don’t wish to be unkind to Fr Twomey when I say that among our membership are theologians and liturgists who have shone much more brightly than he in the theological firmament, even though they may not be as well regarded by the members of Vox Clara or have not, through an accident of history, had the opportunity to visit [papal residence] Castel Gandolfo,” he said.

He added that the association “does not share in the Irish media’s presumption that having tea with the pope once a year confers by osmosis some kind of creeping infallibility on Fr Twomey or anyone else”.

Every summer Fr Twomey and others who had been postdoctoral students of Pope Benedict XVI when he taught at Regensburg university in Germany, meet the pontiff at his retreat near Rome.

The new missal “has more to do with living in the past that ministering in the present or preparing for the future”, Fr Hoban said.