Archbishop Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, arrived in the Archdiocese in January 2011 with the message “ I am here to listen and learn.” And, having been instructed to carry out the Apostolic Visitation by Pope Benedict XVI, he admitted to being edified and encouraged” in his own vocation by the example of priestly dedication and pastoral wisdom experienced having met with many members of the clergy, the laity and religious during the course of his visit. However, he has cautioned against a tendency amongst some priests, to hold theological opinions at variance with the teachings of the Church and warned that dissent from the teachings is not the path towards renewal.
In the final report released this week to The Tipperary Star, the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly has been labelled “excellent” in the efforts made by the Archbishop, priests, religious and lay persons to implement the guidelines and to create safe environments for everyone. The Visitators were able to verify that the current norms of Safeguarding Children; Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland, are being followed. But, it has recommended that the process of covering all dioceses and religious institutions by regular audits be implemented in a prompt manner. And, it has also recommended that a ‘common model” be used throughout the land, rather than individual dioceses having different arrangements.
The Visitation to the dioceses was carried out in the four Metropolitan Sees during early 2011 and commenced in Cashel and Emly with an emotional Penitential Service in the Cathedral of the Assumption, led by Archbishop Dermot Clifford and Archbishop Collins. These visitations and services were held, as Pope Bendict put it, to “assist the local Church on her path of renewal.”
And, one of the aspects which requires attention in order to facilitate this renewal, according the report, is the harnessing of the contribution of the new ecclesial movements in order to better reach the younger generation and to give renewed enthusiasm to Christian life.
“A careful review is needed of the training given to teachers of religion, the Catholic identity of schools and their relationship with the parishes to which they belong, so as to ensure a sound and well balanced education,” the report states.