Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles

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)?'