This is their second international conference and I am glad to say that I have attended both. The conference is a good mix of formation, prayer and fraternity.
It is important for clergy to meet up and even more so for us Irish to meet brothers from across the globe. Sometimes here in Ireland we can be insular in our thinking but meeting clergy from other countries gives us a more global view of things. We shared openly with each other and learned from each other. Old friendship were renewed and new ones made.
The Confraternities together released some press statements which I reproduce here :
Statement in support of Marriage.
The International gathering of Confraternities of Catholic Clergy meeting in Rome (January 5th to 9th 2015), have discussed issues pertinent to the forthcoming Synod on the Family in response to the Holy Father’s call for reflection. The fathers pledge their unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality as proclaimed in the Word of God and set out clearly in the Church’s Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.
Confraternity priests from Australia, Great Britain, Ireland and the United States commit themselves to the work of presenting anew the Good News about marriage and family life in all its fullness and helping, with the Lord’s compassion, those who struggle to follow the Gospel in a secular society. The Confraternities, furthermore, affirm the importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments and that doctrine and practice must remain firmly and inseparably in harmony.
Conference media releaseThe second international conference of the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy brought together in Rome bishops, priests, deacons and seminarians from the English-speaking world. The conference theme, Quo Vadis Domine?, invited participants to review the mission of the Church, and the mission of the priest, 50 years after Vatican II and in light of Pope Francis’ exhortations to evangelisation.
Speakers included Cardinal George Pell who heads the Secretariat for the Economy, Cardinal Angelo Amato who heads the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, and Archbishop Joseph Di Noia, who is Assistant Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Cardinal Pell addressed the mission of the Church, relating the need for clear and unambiguous witness to Christ. The Confraternities of Catholic Clergy, in their service to the Church and the world, are committed to prophetic witness which challenges contemporary culture. We share the Holy Father’s care and concern for the family, and pray that the upcoming Synod enables the Church to more effectively proclaim Christ’s vision of marriage and family.
Cardinal Amato addressed the mystery of the Church, and exhorted priests sentire cum ecclesia: to think with the mind of the Church, to love the Church, and to identify as sons of the Church. The Confraternities of Catholic Clergy renew their allegiance to the Holy See, especially in matters of faith and morals. We recognise obedience to the authority of the Church as obedience to Christ.
Archbishop Di Noia addressed the nature and mission of priesthood, emphasising the sublime call of sacramental ministry. Our challenge as priests is to be interiorly conformed to Christ – to become for our people what sacramental orders bestow. The Confraternities of Catholic Clergy are committed to assisting their members to grow in zeal, learning and holiness. To that end we endorse celibacy for the kingdom as the norm for priests in the Latin Rite. We recognise celibacy not only as a discipline, but also as a rich and fruitful means to conformity to Christ.
A highlight of the conference was the opportunity to celebrate the sacred liturgy in some of Rome’s most beautiful and historical basilicas. On the Feast of the Epiphany we were able to concelebrate Mass with Pope Francis at St Peter’s Basilica. Our liturgical celebrations were assisted and enhanced by Dublin’s Lassus Scholars, who excel at choral masterpieces sung in their authentic liturgical setting.
An important fruit of this year’s conference is a resolve among the Confraternities to consolidate our fellowship and shared mission. An international Secretariat will be established to further co-operation between the Confraternities in Australia, Ireland, the UK and the US. In time, perhaps similar Confraternities can be founded in other English-speaking countries, providing fraternal support and ongoing formation to clergy in those places. News on that development will be posted on the Confraternity websites.
Here are a few photo's :