Priests: Martin is source of division

PRIESTS “are no longer content to be puppets of the diocese” according to the minutes of a meeting of up to 25 Dublin priests, where Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s “dictatorial manner” was also criticised.

The meeting heard a scathing critique of Archbishop Martin’s handling of the Murphy report aftermath which was recorded in minutes of the meeting.

It is believed most of the priests in attendance at the January 18 meeting spoke and the majority were middle-aged.

The minutes recorded complaints that there was a lack of compassion shown towards the Auxiliary Bishops by the Archbishop of Dublin and a grave injustice was done to them.

The minutes also reveal that priests were “dumbfounded” by Archbishop Martin’s letter to Bishop Donal O’Mahony and contend that the auxiliary bishops were “hung out to dry”.

It alleges that there is a general feeling that the archbishop is a source of division among priests and bishops and that priests “are no longer content to be puppets of the diocese” and it accuses the archbishop of having a “dictatorial manner” which it alleges he has demonstrated “from the first day he returned to Drumcondra”.

The minutes of the meeting, which took place in Manresa retreat house, also state that the chairman of the Priest’s Council who appeared on television and radio after the Murphy report had no mandate from the council to speak on its behalf and ask if he had a mandate from the archbishop.

A critical analysis of the Murphy report was called for as a matter of urgency and Cardinal Desmond Connell’s silence was noted in the minutes.

Several resolutions were also tabled but were not voted on due to lack of time.

They included a resolution inviting the Office for Priests to organise events to allow priests perform acts of personal reparation for the sins of clerical abuse.

Another resolution was to ask the Priests Council to commission experts to study the Murphy report.

A third resolution sought an investigation into how the archdiocese failed to protect the good name and reputation of the majority of its clergy and to question why no defence was offered in the media to a sustained campaign to discredit the Church in Dublin and its clergy and office holders.

The archbishop’s communications office was offered the opportunity to reply to an outline of what was contained in the minutes of the Manresa meeting but declined unless they could “see the minutes in full, and the authors – not an outline”.

The Irish Catholic refused to divulge its sources.

* This article first appeared in the Irish Catholic, which is Ireland’s biggest and best-selling religious newspaper and is published every Thursday.

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