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Founding member of the Association of Catholic Priests Father Brendan Hoban Photo by: Catholic Priest Association

Leading cleric questions Papal Nuncio’s right to choose Irish bishops

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Founding member of the Association of Catholic Priests Father Brendan Hoban Photo by: Catholic Priest Association

Founding member of the Association of Catholic Priests Father Brendan Hoban has criticized Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown’s role in the appointment of five new bishops in Ireland.  Brown is a New Yorker and Notre Dame graduate.

Under the headline, “Is our papal nuncio too much Pope Benedict’s man?” on the Association’s website, Hoban pointed out that these five bishops had been appointed to dioceses outside of their own and went on to criticize the fact that Brown spent “very little time in parish work.”

 “If God surprised us by sending us a pope so in tune with the ordinary and the everyday, maybe the Irish bishops might take their courage in their hands and suggest to Rome that we’re grown up enough to be able to make some decisions for ourselves. We should no longer be patronised as errant children.”

Hoban said he was “not too sure” that Brown was “the right man to appoint, effectively on his own, a whole phalanx of new bishops, five in the last few months and two others apparently in the pipeline, almost a third of the Irish episcopal bench, as we rather grandly call it.”

He continued, saying, “Archbishop Brown, it seems, spent very little time in parish work and he has no formal training as a papal nuncio, in that he was catapulted out of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith into the diplomatic service by Pope Benedict, as Rome’s answer to the dysfunctional Irish Catholic Church.”

Just recently Brown spoke to SacredSpace, a Catholic radio programme on West Limerick 102 fm. He spoke about how Pope Francis wanted pastoral men as shepherds of the community. He said the Pope is looking for “true shepherds who know their sheep” in appointing new bishops to vacant dioceses across Ireland.

In his article Fr Hoban said he was “not too sure with these two disabilities plus the inevitable problem of appreciating the nuances of a different culture that such crucial decision-making should be placed effectively in his exclusive hands.”

“Pope Benedict, under whose governance the system of church administration almost collapsed, tended...to put his supporters in positions of administrative power because he knew and trusted them, rather than because they had the qualities required to do the job.”

Fr Hoban said he worried whether Archbishop Brown “appreciates the new spring in the Catholic Church that Pope Francis represents. If there’s one thing clear in the focus of the new pope, it’s that there is a wider and deeper perspective on what’s good for the Catholic Church than the narrow wisdom that emanates from Rome.”

Hoban ended by saying,“If God surprised us by sending us a pope so in tune with the ordinary and the everyday, maybe the Irish bishops might take their courage in their hands and suggest to Rome that we’re grown up enough to be able to make some decisions for ourselves. We should no longer be patronised as errant children.”

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