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Priests say Vatican's representative in Ireland is "out of sync" with the realities of life

The Association of Catholic Priests said the appointment of appropriate bishops is vital for the survival of the Catholic Church.

Image: Shutterstock/Roman Yanushevsky

A GROUP OF Catholic priests has criticised the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Ireland, at a time they describe as the Catholic Church’s “most critical juncture”.

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) raised concerns over the appointment of bishops in Ireland.

The priests were critical of the candidates chosen by the Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Browne, who they describe as being “out of sync” with the realities of life in Ireland today and uncomfortable with the openness of Pope Francis to change and reform the Church.

‘Out of tune’

“… It’s [The Vatican's] attitude and values are now clearly out of tune with a Church regaining confidence and credibility under the watch of Pope Francis.”

The ACP said policies being pursued by Archbishop Browne in the “choice of bishops are, in the main, inadequate to the needs of our time, at odds with the expectations of people and priests and out of sync with the new church dispensation, ushered in by the election of Pope Francis over three years ago and the changed perspective of his renewed commitment to the spirit of the Second Vatican Council”.

They said there is “grave disquiet” among its members in relation to the selection process of bishops.

It criticised the lack of any credible process of consultation; the preference in the main for candidates drawn from a particular mind-set and the apparently “haphazard policy” of appointments.

At a recent meeting, the leadership of the ACP discussed the ongoing concern of the members, and their regret that Archbishop Charles Browne refuses to meet with the group.

While the group said it is “reluctant” to call for Archbishop Brown’s removal, but said the appointment of ‘Francis’ bishops is a vital building block in the “reconstruction, even possibly survival of the Catholic Church in Ireland”.

All involved in the appointment of bishops in Ireland, including Archbishop Brown, need to honour the new dispensation, otherwise bishops will become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

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