Friday, June 1, 2012
ACP and all that
The relatively recently formed Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) is a most interesting development in the tortured history of Irish Catholicism.
It could not have happened in John Charles's day, and more's the pity. But the "moral authority" of the RC Church, for which read "clerical hellfire", has weakened in recent times for obvious reasons.
It is also now fifty years since the calling of Vatican II and it is all too obvious that the inspiration and hope of renewal sparked by that Council have not only petered out (scuse the pun) but have been actively traduced by a centrist power clique who place the continuity and supremacy of the institution above the welfare of its flock (scuse the mutton metaphor).
In pulling up the drawbridge, the Vatican has forbidden even discussion of a number of controversial issues, and in response to reasoned attempts to raise these issues in a way seen as vital to a healthy community, has called down holy fire and brimstone on the heads of those who have dared to raise them above the parapet.
The ACP, which now numbers around a thousand priests, is attempting to initiate this discussion within the RC church in the long term interest of the church itself (defined as the people of God rather than the Roman Curia).
Their site is well worth a visit, as is Fr. Hoban's brief exposé of their raison d'être. You will find many thoughtful posts and comments.
The discussion is on much more polite lines than I am normally given to myself, and it is conducted in a context of caring and of loyalty to what might best be described as the Church of Christ. That does not in any way inhibit those who feel the ACP itself is a source of heresy and potential schism from forcefully expressing their views.
One of the more intriguing aspects of the emergence of the ACP is the deafening silence of the Irish hierarchy. The emergence of the ACP has certainly put it up to the bishops, but these have so far been found wanting. The recent posting by the ACP of Hans Küng's letter to the bishops worldwide may be an indication of their impatience at the lack of response of the Irish bishops to ACP invitations to dialogue. You could be forgiven for thinking the bishops are busy circling the wagons.
This is all the more surprising as Ireland launches into the Fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin this month. The theme of the Congress is "communion". Communion with whom?