The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has told mass goers in Mount Merrion that Catholics must find ways of addressing internal church divisions through dialogue and mutual respect and that Christian charity must always prevail.
He made his remarks while reflecting on his public clash with Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan over what he termed her "bizarre" call for women to be ordained.
Archbishop Martin celebrated yesterday evening's Mass at the Church of Saint Therese to reflect with parishioners on what he called "the events of the past week".
Last week, Ms Madigan - who is a local Minister of the Word - described on RTÉ Radio a prayer service that she had helped conduct when no priest was available to say last Saturday evening's Mass.
She also said that the Catholic Church should be ordaining women and allowing priests to marry.
On Tuesday, Archbishop Martin responded saying parishioners who deemed her actions deeply disrespectful were considerably distressed and he criticised her for using the occasion to push a particular agenda.
Last night, the Archbishop apologised for the "unfortunate mistake" which led to the designated priest’s absence.
He praised the community for gathering in prayer instead and emphasised that he had not said a woman should not have led the service.
He reiterated that a shortage of priests had not created the situation and said his "concern was that such a situation … should have been escalated into something else".
Recognising that there are differences and different sensitivities in the parish - and in every community - Archbishop Martin warned that frequently in church history, divisions were due to a desire to remain with positions of personal comfort rather than allow the radical nature of Jesus’ teaching to break into hearts and change them.