Archive for January 18th, 2013

Dysfunctional leadership in Irish Church

January 18, 2013



Fr. Brendan Hoban concludes his article on the absolutely stunning refusal of the Irish hierarchy to meet with its own priests.For most thinking people, the failure of any organization to meet with its key workers would be suicidal. For Christians who hold dialogue tobe the sine qua non of institutional health, this is simply incredible.Fr. Hoban continues:

So our church leaders – Archbishop Martin, the other bishops, the Papal Nuncio – should be opening up avenues of communication with the Irish clergy not closing them down, as if we are irrelevant or have nothing to say in these critical times. If we have learned anything in Ireland in the nightmare of the last few decades, surely it is that the Church loses out if discordant voices, especially those who love the Church, are not unambiguously cherished.

Hoban’s principled words are a cri de coeur from a loyal servant of the Gospel.The  irish hierarch will do nothing to Fr. Hoban because he has 1000 brother priests in his corner. The question begs to be asked where id the collective nerve and organization of Canadian prelates who timorously soldier on in their own bailiwicks but who will not tell the same thing to their own archbishops, many by the way who agree with them.

When the great Australian bishop Geoff Robinson  visited Toronto two years ago he told me of the enormous pressure the Vatican puts on bishops to  act as an outpost of an ecclesial empire and to follow orders with no questions asked. In today’s church  this means to basically agree to turn the clock back on Vatican ll. This is  happening in diocese after diocese. Pliant acolytes chosen for their servility and absolute loyalty to Rome dutifully carry out orders. All this reminds me of the words of Cardinal Suenens in the 60s: “Prudence is everywhere, courage is nowhere, and we shall all die of wisdom.”

Hoban boldly stated that the institutional leadership is simply going in the wrong direction.

And, more importantly, we believe that the present official template for reforming it is at variance with the views, opinions, needs and wishes of the vast majority of priests and people in Ireland today. 

The author like many Catholics is simply dumbfounded:

Why, with the Irish Catholic Church imploding around us, can’t the leaders of our Church, worried no doubt like the rest of us about the very future of our Church in Ireland, bring themselves to speak to an association that represents more than 1000 priests? I can’t understand why that’s the case.