Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has responded to comments made by Culture Minister Josepha Madigan that the church needs to embrace change.
Minister Madigan made the comments after she stepped in at her local mass in Mount Merrion when a priest did not arrive.
The Minister spoke on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke yesterday about the decline of priests in the Catholic church, saying: "The Church needs to adapt and embrace change.
"People are calling out for spirituality and it does have a role but if it doesn’t adapt I’m afraid it will go into severe decline."
On @TodaySOR discussing the declining number of priests in parishes throughout the country and issue which arose in my parish at the weekend
— ⚖️Josepha Madigan (@josephamadigan) June 25, 2018
In a statement released this afternoon, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that her comments "have caused parishioners in Mount Merrion and further afield considerable distress".
Archbishop Martin said: "Many have contacted my offices to express their hurt and upset at the Minister’s comments, as reported in the media.
"There is no shortage of priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin for the celebration of Sunday Mass.
"Due to a misunderstanding, the priest assigned to Mass in the parish of Mount Merrion on Saturday evening, failed to turn up. It is in no way correct to say that the Minister 'said Mass'. It is regrettable that that Minister Madigan used this occasion to push a particular agenda."
"Her expressed view that a mix up in a Dublin parish on one particular Saturday evening should lead to the Universal Church changing core teachings is bizarre.
"Minister Madigan might consider listening to the voices of those people who disagree with her public comments, she might consider the hurt she has caused to parishioners who deem her actions deeply disrespectful."