Vatican reports due shortly


Reports from the seven visitation teams sent to Ireland by the Vatican last year following publication of the Murphy report, are on course to be published this Spring, the CatholicArchbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said today.

He was referrring to the reports of teams that visited Ireland’s four Catholic archdioceses, its seminaries and both male and female religious congregations, all completed and sent to Rome by the end of last year.

A factor which would influence their publication is the occurence of HolyWeek and Easter early next month, he said. Publication would not overshadow Easter.

The Archbishop was speaking at a press conference in Maynooth as the Irish Bishops’Conference ended its Spring meeting.

Where ongoing reviews of dioceses, congregations and other Catholic institutions by the National Board for Safeguarding Children were concerned he said “the strong view on the part of the bishops is that these should move forward quickly.” 

Each diocese had agreed to fund their own review, with “a waiting list of bishops wanting to be reviewed.” The work of the board to date was “very satisfactory” he said.

In a report to the bishops, board chairman John Morgan and its director of safeguarding Teresa Devlin, said they expected a further seven reviews, of dioceses and congregations, to be completed by the summer.

Turning to next June’s Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Archbishop Martin said he believed the Church was turning a corner in Ireland and that the Congress was “an important part of that.” There were “significant signs of hope...the beginnings of a new way of living Church in Ireland.”

To illustrate this he pointed to “the level of willingness of lay people to take part” in events.

To date bookings for the Congress have reached 7,000 with 95 countries represented. Meanwhile Irish dioceses were organising transport for pilgrims while the Eucharistic Bell, which has been touring Ireland, will be inRome for St Patrick’s Day. It will be received by Pope Benedict in general audience.

A Congress theological symposium, scheduled for early June, has places for 200 and “we’re almost there,” he said. “The biggest disappointment would be if Croke Park wasn’t big enough,” for the final event on June 17th, he added. He also said fees payable by pilgrims would be reduced if there were major donations to the Congress but that, as they were, fees were much lower than was the case at the last Congress inQuebec four years ago.

The Bishop of Killaloe Kieran O’Reilly recalled that the Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict, begins in October,“ a good time, after the Eucharistic Congress.”

He said the bishops had reaffirmed their commitment to their Share the Good News 10 year evangelisation plan, published in January of last year. “It is an attempt to encompass every aspect of parish life,” he said, “to enhance, aid and assist what is already there.”

Where Irish emigrants were concerned, Bishop Donal McKeown of Down and Connor diocese said the work of Catholic chaplancies abroad was now being extended to other cities in Australia beyond Sydney, to cities in North America as well as in the Middle East. “Their role is much more important than organising spiritual events,” he said.

The Bishops’Council for Emigrants is preparing a practical information pack for emigrants which is for publication to coincide with St Patrick’s Day.

Archbishop Martin, when asked about his recent designation as ‘the greatest living Irishman’ by Irish-American media, noted that other media said recently he had “gone mad” and that “myself and my brother (Seamus) are spies for the former Soviet Union.”