News archive 2008

Statement by Archbishop Michael Neary, Archdiocese of Tuam, regarding the ‘House of Prayer’

PRESS RELEASE
29 February 2008

Statement by Archbishop Michael Neary, Archdiocese of Tuam, regarding the ‘House of Prayer’

The Tuam Diocesan Office has recently received a considerable number of media enquiries regarding this matter. In 1996 I established a diocesan commission of enquiry to investigate certain claims regarding and emanating from this work. In 1997, acting on foot of a report from the commission, I issued a lengthy public statement to the effect, in essence, that no evidence of supernatural phenomena had been observed but that the persons involved gave every evidence of good faith. Arising from that, I proposed a basic canonical structure that would gradually integrate the work of the House into the life of Achill Parish and the Archdiocese. While this was then attempted by the Archdiocese, I became increasingly perturbed by an apparent absence of enthusiasm on the parts of Mrs Gallagher and her associates. The relationship deteriorated to the extent that Mrs Gallagher, in July 1998, closed the ‘House of Prayer’ at Achill, expressing to the media at the time a sense of having been harshly treated by the Archdiocese. In order to clarify the issue for the faithful I issued another statement, regretting the development and expressing grave misgivings as to the wisdom with which Mrs Gallagher had been advised and had acted in the matter.

Diocesan efforts to integrate this work ended in July, 1998 when it was closed by Mrs Gallagher. Celebration of the Sacraments and reservation of the Blessed Sacrament at the ‘House of Prayer’ are not permitted. Any work carried on since then has been entirely of a private nature and has no Church approval whatever. Neither, for reasons given above, does such work enjoy the confidence of the Diocesan authorities. Nothing has been brought to my attention to indicate that I should change from this position in the future. Over the years since then, the Tuam Diocesan Office has clearly and consistently replied to enquiries in respect of this work, which Mrs Gallagher recommenced.

I respect the faith and devotion of many people who have been impressed by this work in the past, some of whom have expressed their sadness at my stance. Finally, I wish to remind all Church members that they should not hesitate to enquire, as a matter of course, at local diocesan offices regarding the standing of any work describing itself as Catholic, should they be in doubt.

In summary the ‘House of Prayer’ has no Church approval and the work does not enjoy the confidence of the diocesan authorities.

Copies of my public statements are available on www.tuamarchdiocese.org/news.

+ Michael Neary
Archbishop of Tuam

ENDS

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