Archbishop apologises to Mount Merrion parish for priest absence

Diarmaid Martin, Josepha Madigan clashed after Minister urged changes to church rules

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has apologised to churchgoers in Mount Merrion in Dublin over an ‘unfortunate mistake’ that led to no priest turning up to say Mass last Saturday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has apologised to churchgoers in Mount Merrion in Dublin over an ‘unfortunate mistake’ that led to no priest turning up to say Mass last Saturday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

 

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has apologised to churchgoers in Mount Merrion in Dublin over an “unfortunate mistake” that led to no priest turning up to say Mass last Saturday.

“This was not a planned event, but an unfortunate mistake, but a mistake that should not have happened,” he said.

Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan last weekend helped to conduct a prayer service in the Church of Saint Therese in the absence of a priest.

She later said the Catholic Church should ordain women as priests and also allow priests to marry.

Archbishop Martin last week criticised Ms Madigan’s comments, which he said had caused “considerable distress” to churchgoers in the parish. He accused her of “pushing an agenda,” and said there was no shortage of priests in Dublin.

Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan called for women to be ordained and priests to be allowed marry after leading a prayer service in south Dublin last weekend. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.
Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan called for women to be ordained and priests to be allowed marry after leading a prayer service in south Dublin last weekend. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

He said the idea that “a mix up in a Dublin parish on one particular Saturday evening should lead to the Universal Church changing core teachings is bizarre”.

Personal nature

Ms Madigan responded by saying she was disappointed by the personal nature of Archbishop Martin’s statement and said she intended to raise her concerns with Pope Francis when he visits Ireland next month.

“The only agenda I am pushing is equality in the church just as I believe there should be equality in all facets of society. Although women play a role in the operations of the church, including my own parish, I believe the church has to change to reflect society as it is today,” she said.

Speaking to the church congregation on Saturday night, Archbishop Martin apologised for the failure of a priest to turn up the previous week.

He said his comments on Ms Madigan’s actions never suggested that “it was inappropriate in such a situation for the community to gather in prayer,” which he added was “praiseworthy.”

“Neither did I say that in such a situation the prayer ought not to be led by a woman. This is something that happens in such situations elsewhere,” he said.

“My concern was that such a situation that was unplanned should have been escalated into something else.”

‘Sensitivities’

The archbishop said he recognised that “there are differences and different sensitivities in this and in every community.

“Indeed, divisions and misunderstandings have marked the history of the church, from its earliest days. On many occasions, such divisions and disagreements were due to a desire to remain with positions of personal comfort rather than allow the radical nature of the teaching of Jesus to break into and to change hearts.

“However, we have to find ways in which divisions can be addressed within the Christian community in ways that are typical of the Christian community, through dialogue, through mutual respect and where Christian charity always prevails.”