By editor - 06 August, 2016
The Church reform group, the Association of Catholics in Ireland, has expressed its concern over the Maynooth controversy and called for a prompt investigation to reassure the laity and limit damage to the Irish Church.
The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI) is concerned about allegations of “strange goings-on” at St Patrick’s College Maynooth which have led to the Archbishop of Dublin to send his trainee priests to Rome rather than to the Irish seminary in Ireland, the group said in a statement on Friday.
“The Church in Ireland has been damaged in recent decades and does not need another badly handled situation to further test the laity who struggle to hold on to their faith,” the ACI said in a statement on Friday.
“It is important that immediate action be taken to address the situation and to allay the concerns of the lay faithful.”
The Association said it would support an independent investigation into the allegations, to be carried out promptly and with transparency.
“The action of the Archbishop is an immediate option and may encourage a speedier response to the problem, but sending seminarians to Rome is not the answer,” the ACI stated.
“Priests should be trained in our own pastoral environment. It is life experience not ‘hot-house’ training that leads to spiritual maturity.”
As Pope Francis said “priests should be shepherds…and smell of their sheep”.
According to the ACI, in the long term the Church needs to discern what type of priest we need to meet the needs of the rapidly changing society and what is the optimum formation required to produce them.
The ACI said it is committed to the pursuit of a reform and renewal agenda in the Irish Catholic Church in the spirit of Vatican II.
It is committed to helping to re-build (through words and deeds) a united Church based on the teachings of Jesus Christ – a Church that is inclusive, compassionate, accepts the equality of all believers by virtue of their baptism and acknowledges its failures.