The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) protests in the strongest possible terms against the methodology and conclusions of Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s Report on the Irish College in Rome, as reported in the Irish Times (June 15, 2012). This report was carried out on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI as part of the Apostolic Visitation of the Irish Church.
The report has effectively destroyed the reputations of priests, who have given lifelong service to the Irish Catholic Church, without giving them a right of reply to the allegations made against them.
It is unacceptable that a report to the Pope, on a sensitive issue, should be conducted in such an incompetent fashion. No court of law would treat people in such a way. Is it too much to expect even minimal rights in law for priests in the Roman Catholic Church? The Irish College staff, as clerics, are entitled under Canon Law to their good name. Canon 220 states that; “No-one may unlawfully harm the good reputation which a person enjoys….”
Civil law also protects a person’s good name through the laws of libel. It is ironic that it was precisely the failure of Church superiors’ to follow either Canon or Civil law in abuse cases which led to the Apostolic Visitation in the first place.
Cardinal Dolan’s report not only undermines the reputation of priests who have not been given a right of reply, it also undermines the credibility of the whole Visitation process. It would appear that, in undertaking this particular visitation, conclusions were effectively drawn beforehand and then evidence to support them was actively sought. If this is the case, it undermines the authority of the Church, confidence in its leaders and not least the whole Visitation process.
-read the full press statement at Association of Catholic Priests
- Vatican report critical of culture and ethos of Irish College in Rome (irishtimes.com)
- Irish Association of Catholic Priests protest Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s report (irishcentral.com)
- Irish College in Rome changes staff after apostolic visitation (catholicnewsagency.com)
- Irish Archbishops slam Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s report on Rome Irish college (irishcentral.com)
- Ireland’s Priests Challenge Cardinal Dolan’s Report on ‘Gay-Friendly’ Seminary in Rome (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
- Irish Catholics Want Female Ordination And Married Priests (jhaines6.wordpress.com)