The decision to remove Mgr Michael Buckley from his post as director of the Catholic Ecumenical Centre near Wetherby in Yorkshire is still causing much discussion and disquiet in Northern Ireland where the story is being carried in the national papers for the second week running.
This reaction reflects a feeling in Northern Ireland that the Church is not wholeheartedly behind the Peace Movement and that Mgr 13 uckley's removal stems from his involvement with the movement. Recently Kieron McKeown, one of the Peace Movement leaders, was harshly critical of the Church and in particular Bishop Philbin.
Mrs Betty Williams' reaction to Mgr Buckley's removal was unequivocally indignant and resentful. It is clear she feared the English hierarchy were turning against the Peace Movement, When asked about Mrs Betty Williams' allegations that the hierarchy's commitment to the Peace Movement was totally inadequate Mgr Buckley said, "Mrs Williams' outburst must be seen as that of a woman who at the age of 33 has seen the most terrible acts of violence. Her anger was horn out of the fear that the support embodied in me might not be forthcoming."
It seems increasingly unlikely that Wood Hall will continue as the national secretariat of the Peace Movement in England.
Last week Monsignor Buckley said he felt confident that the centre would be allowed to continue as the Peace Movement's nerve centre. Since there have been reports that Bishop Wheeler of Leeds is not sure there is adequate room.
Mgr Buckley said on Wednesday, "Wood Hall will continue to act as a national secretariat until I leave on April 29. In view of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the termination of my time here, it might be better if the secretarial was transferred elsewhere so that I can maintain my personal connection with it."
It is known that Mgr Buckley is upset over the way he has been treated. He was notified of his transfer by Bishop Wheeler of Leeds by a brief letter two weeks ago and now has no means of appeal. He commented, "The whole case is a typical example of noncommunication which in the end can only damage the Church. Our main task is to pray that healing will follow and that the Church's image will be for peace."