A well-known priest has accused the Irish hierarchy of lacking the “dynamism” that is needed to renew the Church here.
Fr Paddy Byrne told The Irish Catholic that the bishops “have to account for their own dynamism and if they are going to question it at a parish level they must question it among themselves”.
“I feel a lot of them are in the role because they haven’t been dynamic in that sense. They have been loyal, they have been silent, they have been faithful to the magisterium of the Church, but when it comes to that pastoral new wind and voice that is so radically needed in Ireland, that when expressed, is a wonderful thing, there is a total absence of that,” he warned.
Fr Byrne was responding to comments made by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on The Marian Finucane Show at the weekend that the Church needed to be more “dynamic”.
The Portlaoise curate said he was “disappointed” by the archbishop’s remarks, which left him feeling “uncomfortable”.
“It’s a very poor critique. I think there should be more honesty among the hierarchy as to how their dynamism is infiltrated into the parishes,” Fr Byrne insisted.
“Speaking as a priest, I feel that dynamism comes from our own personal relationship with the Lord.
“I think it comes too from the leadership of Pope Francis. However, I don’t feel supported in it by the Irish hierarchy particularly,” he said, before asking: “Where are they creating a dynamic parish or supporting dynamism in the life of the Church in Ireland?”
Fr Byrne also decried what he described as a “cautiousness” among the Irish clergy and hierarchy.
He insisted that there was “a comfortableness with a cosy liturgical-based sense of renewal while there is a massive disconnect with the Church from parish at local level”, adding that “nowhere in the country is it being felt as much as in the Dublin archdiocese”.
“There is a need to stop looking to Rome and to start looking within for your own answers and celebrating your own indigenous, creative, sense of vision,” he said.