The Pope's envoy to Ireland claimed this week that for the Catholic Church to survive, its teachings need to be followed faithfully.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, in a homily on the final day of the Knock shrine novena in County Mayo, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown, a New York native, said the church needed to be 'authentically Catholic' if it was to have a future.

The Papal Nuncio's comments were made just months after a nationwide clampdown by the Vatican on Irish priests who have challenged church teachings or articulated liberal views.

Archbishop Brown's homily received a round of applause from the pilgrims at Knock, and made a brief passing reference to the abuse scandals that have rocked the church there.

Instead of dwelling on the crisis confronting the Irish church he instead focused on ways to re-invigorate it for the future.

But a member of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) took issue with what the Papal Nuncio meant by 'authentically.'

Father Sean McDonagh asked: 'Is it 1920s or 1950s authentically Catholic, or is it 1960s (the liberal era of the Second Vatican Council)?'