Priests attend assembly in Cork

 

MORE THAN 350 attended the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) regional assembly in Cork where speakers warned against accusations that they were against church teaching.

One of the leadership team, Fr Brendan Hoban, said “there are those, we know, who for different reasons would like to pretend that we’re left-wing, radical, raving extremists, that we’re trouble-makers and dissenters, that we’re out to destroy the church.” But, he continued “let me put the record straight”.

He recalled the Orlando Figes’ book The Whispers, Private Life in Stalin’s Russia. It was about a situation where a fearful people had to whisper their criticism.

“We’re the whisperers now but we have to do more than whisper, we have to find our voice, to stake a claim for the right and the responsibility to speak our truth about the church we love.”

He said the association of priests did not seek to overturn the defined teaching of the Catholic Church. “We cherish and we value and we wish to further the unity of all our people.”

Addressing “our leaders and every Catholic in Ireland”, he said “don’t say to us that we’re against church teaching when we cherish it . . . Don’t pretend that silencing us will make the issues go away – it won’t.” Fr Tony Butler said “I believe as a priest that the church as we know it is dying”. He concluded: “the game playing has to stop. If we don’t act together the church will surely die.”