Priests clash over ‘sinister’ advice for meeting bishops

Irish Times

January 15, 2018

By Patsy McGarry

Kildare and Leighlin diocesan priests rebuke suggestion to ‘prepare for worst’ if called

Catholic priests in Kildare and Leighlin diocese have taken strong exception to “the sinister and false suggestion” from the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) “that a diocesan priest must always prepare for the worst if he is ever called to meet his bishop.”

In a letter to the ACP leadership team, Fr Gerard Breen, secretary to the Council of Priests in Kildare and Leighlin diocese, said the council “strongly disagreed” with contents of a card sent by the ACP advising what a priest should do if called to meet his bishop.

Fr Breen recalled how at a meeting of the Council “one of our priests commented that ‘the card has put a far greater distance between the diocesan priests and the ACP than it has between diocesan priests and their bishops.’All members of the council agreed with this statement,” he said.

He said it was proposed the council write a letter the the ACP “to express our disagreement with the card and the negative impression it advanced about the relationship between diocesan priests and their bishops.”

The card, issued by the ACP last year, is intended to help priests who may be summoned to meet a bishop, possibly in connection with abuse allegations. Designed to fit in a wallet, its seven pointers are in keeping with recommendations of the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog, its National Board for Safeguarding Children, the ACP said.

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