Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Archbishop Martin criticises one of his young priests
There is always a dark-side to the The Tablet, so maybe this report about Archbishop Martin of Dublin criticising one of his very few younger priests should be taken with a small pinch of salt but His Grace does have form of being critical and unsympathetic towards his younger priests. That of course could explain why he has so few of them, and possibly why his diocese is so unattractive to young men who might have a vocation. It is obviously indicative of a poor management style and could well be a reason why the few young priests he does have might well be considering looking for bishops elsewhere in the world.
His comments made in Australia (what was it His Holiness said about 'airport bishops'?) seem indicative of a management style in the Church that would be unacceptable elsewhere and I would expect was one reason the abuse scandals were not addressed in Ireland. As there are so few young priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin it is not too difficult to identify who this individual actually is. Priests should certainly not be breaking confidences, the onus on a bishop not to do so is even greater, everything that has been said over the last 50 years about the father/son relationship of a priest to his bishop seems to be negated by the Archbishop's remarks. If a son of his is fearful or disconcerted about the actions of the Pope, and many are, it is a bishop's responsibility to give him the support he requires. Pope Francis has often spoken about the evils of gossip, especially clerical gossip, it seems that this young priest has been betrayed by both his Parish Priest and his Bishop, who see a problem rather than seeking to understand and help.
Many young priests are indeed disconcerted by this sudden lurch back to the 1970s, the rise of the personality cult of Francis, with the implications of a new-Ultramonatism, or at least a Church where the Pope is the sole arbiter of everything, is indeed alien territory for many younger priests. It is not the faith they have been taught in the seminary, or in the catechism, or in the ordinary magisterium of St John Paul II or Benedict XVI, the fact that an Archbishop seems to greet this with incomprehension bodes ill indeed for the future of his Church, especially when so many Prelates, even those who are designated 'the Pope's theologian' seem to be teaching something contrary to the Lord himself.
Recently the Pope said if a priest has a problem with his bishop he should go and sort it out, even it means a shouting match. Well it is even more incumbent on a bishop to sort problems out with his priests, rather than do as Archbishop Martin has in the case of this young priest, both his age and status demand this of him.
What is not acceptable for any bishop is gossiping or complaining, either to other priests, which is bad, or as appears here, to a group of laity, who then report his words in the press. No wonder Dublin has such a poor reputation for the pastora care of it priests.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake