JAMES MC CONNELL - THE MIDDLETON, ARMAGH MAN - HAD AN UNPLANNED MEETING ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON WITH ARCHBISHOP EAMON MARTIN.
James has been trying to meet Eamon Martin for a long time - and his predecessor Sean Brady - to discuss a family member's sexual involvement with a priest.
James believes that the sexual happenings had a profound effect on him, his family member and his whole family.
He feels that he has never had closure on this problem.
Eamon Martin did point James in the direction of the PSNI but for their own reasons, the family member is not willing to make a complaint to the police.
Of course, the lack of a police investigation does not let the Church off the hook in the context of conducting their own investigation and coming to conclusions.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MC CONNELL / MARTIN MEETING
One of the biggest problems that people in Ireland have had with the Catholic Church is that priests, and bishops especially, have refused to meet them and give them answers.
As a result of Eamon Martin not meeting James McConnell before now, James, in frustration, was forced to go on a campaign of doorstepping people and videoing them.
This led to police being called and solicitors letters being issued.
How does setting the police on church members with problems, and sending them solicitor's letters, ever help the situation?
So, at last, on Friday afternoon, Eamon Martin invited James in for a 40-minute chat.
From what I gather, both men honestly expressed their views to each other.
In the end, it was agreed that the two might meet again if there were matters to be discussed.
Fair play to James for pursuing his cause until he was listened to.
And fair play to Eamon Martin for bring James in and giving him a hearing.
LESSONS FOR EAMON AND HIS EPISCOPAL COLLEAGUES:
In a big organization like the Catholic Church, there will always be issues that need discussion and complaints that need addressing.
Traditionally bishops have kept themselves aloof in their palaces and have not invited people in for dialogue.
That always leads to anger and frustration.
Bishops must now handle things differently.
The people should do like James McConnell did - and keep pushing for dialogue.
In Eamon Martin's case he needs to address two immediate issues:
1. The continuing homosexual activity in the national seminary of Maynooth.
2. The bully crisis in the PARISH OF MAGHERAFELT involving the missing PP - Father John Gates.
TWO UNFORTUNATE EMAIL ADDRESSES IN ARA COELI: