The Archbishop of Dublin has stated that the Irish church and not Rome should have dealt with the censure of five liberal priests in his jurisdiction.

Dr Martin made the remarks in response to an interview with Pope Francis by the Italian Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica.

In the interview the Pontiff criticised the excessive number of denunciations sent to Rome about priests and theologians complaining of their lack of orthodoxy.

Now Dr Martin has said the spate of censures of five Irish priests by the Vatican should have been dealt with by the Irish church instead of Rome.

The Irish Independent reports that the Pope said these conflicts over orthodoxy should be handled by local bishops’ conferences rather than the Curia.

In response Dr Martin said: “I hope that the problems and the tensions within the Irish church will be eased so that we get away from a climate of bickering into one in which we all work together.”

He also stated said he also strongly believed that these matters should always begin with the local church and where possible be resolved within the local church.

The report says that Dr Martin noted that Irish society had been through some difficult years.

He said he agreed with the Pope that the church shouldn’t be so over-concerned by just abortion, gay marriage and contraceptives.

Controversial Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery, one of the five Irish priests censured by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and threatened with excommunication over his stand on women priests and contraception, has also responded to the Pope’s interview.

He told the Irish Independent: “What the Pope said seems to amount to a fairly substantial critique of the way in which the Curia and, in particular, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith have been operating.”

The Pope said that in some cases, when Vatican Congregations are not functioning well, ‘they run the risk of becoming institutions of censorship’.

The paper says the Pope’s call for local bishops’ conferences to handle such matters could potentially be ‘good news’ for Fr Flannery and the other censured Irish priests.

Fr Flannery added: “It changes the rules of the game in the sense that it appears that the Curia has largely been taken out of the business of dealing with disciplinary matters and it has been handed back to the local church to deal with it.”

He also said there was ‘no question’ that the Pope was criticising the ‘thought police’ who spent their time reporting people to Rome.