Bishops’ response to meeting with ACP regarding censored priests

About a month ago the leadership of the ACP met with three members of the Bishops Conference, and brought up a number of issues relating to the Irish Church. They asked them to bring their views to the full Conference, and to give a response. One of the issues raised was the question of censored priests. The Bishops response to this was as follows:

“The issue of censored priests was also reported. It must be remembered that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith does dialogue with a priest in that situation while it fulfils its mandate to protect the integrity of Faith and morals. Many religious orders have their own structures for dealing with a member who teaches or proposes views or doctrines not in harmony with Church teaching.”

This is extraordinary. The bishops surely know well that the CDF does not dialogue with those of us who are censored, as I have clearly outlined in my book, A Question of Conscience. Many of them must know well that the above statement is false, and yet they put their name to it. In particular, Archbishop Diarmaid Martin, having spent many years in the Vatican diplomatic service, must know intimately how the CDF works. Why did he allow such a false statement to go out in his name?

And, as a point of information, the Redemptorists, of whom I am a member, do not have their own structures for dealing with “a member who teaches or proposes views or doctrines not in harmony with Church teaching”. They follow to the letter the dictates of the CDF.

All of this is very depressing, and has the potential to make me very angry. But I cannot afford to allow that to happen. I have recently had a health issue, which was diagnosed as a mild stroke. Happily and luckily, it has not caused any permanent damage; but it is clearly a warning. Dealing with Church authorities, and with the sort of deviousness evident in the bishops statement, is definitely bad for one’s health!!

(The full text of the Bishops’ response will shortly be published on the ACP website)