Catholic Church ‘in denial’ about vocations

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The Catholic Church in Ireland is in denial about vocations to the priesthood, says Fr Brendan Hoban, a founder member of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP).


“Ireland’s priests will have almost disappeared in 20 years,” he said. In his new book Who Will Break Bread for Us? he points out that in his native Killala diocese “ for 22 parishes, there are now seven priests under 55. Spool on for two decades and there will be seven (or thereabouts) under 75.”

The book is dedicated to six priests who have been silenced or threatened with silence by the Vatican, Fr Brian D’Arcy, Fr Seán Fagan, Fr Tony Flannery, Fr Gerard Moloney, Fr Iggy O’Donovan and Fr Owen O’Sullivan.

Written By: Patsy McGarry
continue to source article at irishtimes.com

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    • In reply to #2 by phil rimmer:

      Thank you Father Ted. Your work is done.

      … and don’t forget his faithful/faithless sidekick curate, Fr Dougal.
      By the way, haven’t seen “irate atheist” around this site for a long while.
      Miss his one-liners!

      • In reply to #20 by quarecuss:

        In reply to #2 by phil rimmer:

        Thank you Father Ted. Your work is done.

        … and don’t forget his faithful/faithless sidekick curate, Fr Dougal.

        Who could?

        Dougal: God, I’ve heard about those cults, Ted. People dressing up in black and saying Our Lord’s going to come back and save us all.
        Ted: No, Dougal, that’s us. That’s Catholicism.
        Dougal: Oh right.

          • In reply to #30 by quarecuss:

            @phil rimmer

            “Oh right”

            Devastating line that must have cost the Irish RCC many vocations.

            I’m sure you’re right. I really do think the gently bonkers nature of the program has done a huge amount to disassemble a good part of the genuinely bonkers RCC. It only had to slip in that other word “cult” up front to have the accepting, “oh right” do its work.

  1. The book is dedicated to six priests who have been silenced or threatened with silence by the Vatican, Fr Brian D’Arcy, Fr Seán Fagan, Fr Tony Flannery, Fr Gerard Moloney, Fr Iggy O’Donovan and Fr Owen O’Sullivan.

    What’s this about ?

    Michael

    • In reply to #4 by mmurray:

      The book is dedicated to six priests who have been silenced or threatened with silence by the Vatican, Fr Brian D’Arcy…

      What’s this about ?

      Michael, for years here in Ireland, Fr Brian D’Arcy was one of the more liberal, trendy, man-of-the-people type of Catholic priests (a favoured guest on late night panel shows), and also wrote newspaper and magazine columns opining on many church and social matters. After the clerical sex abuse scandals, he spoke out against The Vatican, and its reluctance to assist in the official commission reports.

      In one 2012 newspaper column he argued the Church needs to pay heed to results of a recent survey showing a majority of Irish Catholics rejected the Church’s stance on matters such as female ordination and the right of priests to marry.

      After such episodes of insurrection, The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith insisted on D’Arcy forwarding all his writing for scrutiny, before publication, in essence, silencing him.

      A real own goal for The Vatican, and shows just how out of touch the RCC hierarchy is on issues at ground level.

      The silencing of Fr Brian D’Arcy

      Fr Brian D’Arcy ‘censured by Vatican watchdog’ – report

      Moreover, not only does the RCC need to worry about low numbers of vocations to the priesthood, it is also hampered by falling church attendance.

      • In reply to #13 by Tyler Durden:

        “… Moreover, not only does the RCC need to worry about low numbers of vocations to the priesthood, it is also hampered by falling church attendance.”

        Yes, one of its more important sources of income is being seriously reduced.

        But thanks, Tyler, for this message; I was wondering the same as Mmurray.

      • In reply to #13 by Tyler Durden:

        In reply to #4 by mmurray:

        Michael, for years here in Ireland, Fr Brian D’Arcy was one of the more liberal, trendy, man-of-the-people type of Catholic pri…

        Thanks Tyler very interesting reading. I posted a few over at http://www.strangenotions.com where some are keen on the idea that the RCC is one big happy family!

        Michael

  2. The big draw of being a priest was you got to molest all the kids you could rape, and if scandal erupted, you got a transfer. That is going away. Further, today, if you join the priesthood, you are labelled a child molester just as you will be labeled gay if you choose to be a ballet dancer or hairdresser.

    The pope can work to make the church safe for pedophiles again, or he can drop them entirely and go for a married clergy like most other churches. It would work out better for the church. A married (same or different sex) counsellor is going to be much more understanding than a single pedophile priest. The church is so hide bound (not even allowing female clergy) and because it is run by pedophiles, they are more like to look out for themselves than the church.

    It seems unthinkable but the Catholic church could well die over the next century from dwindling attendance at disgust with the abuse and coverups and the cost of child abuse lawsuits. It will get to the point anyone can make a false claim, and the priest has not a chance to be believed. It will be like the shrieking harpies at Bubulina’s death in Zorba the Greek, swooping in the pick the church corpse clean.

    The irony is the Church is in most trouble in the places it had almost absolute control, e.g. Quebec and Ireland. This lead it into deeper corruption.

  3. That’s actually quite an interesting scenario. What does happen when a flock of sheep hasn’t got a shepherd? Or what would be a more appropriate analogy? Blind people without a guide dog?

    When there’s no priests, and probably significantly less other people working for the congregations, where will the parishioners go? Without a priest to tell them what to think, will they just become apathetic towards their chosen faith over time? Or will they search for other religions, possibly finding their way to charismatic but dangerous cults?

    • In reply to #6 by Aztek:

      Fascinating question indeed. I imagine there would be many precedents for it – most religions that have existed exist no longer, and many of them would have died a slow death by irrelevancy. Mithraism springs to mind; though I suppose the pervasiveness of polytheism at the time of that cult’s decline would have “taken up the slack” pretty seamlessly. What will happen when one monotheism dies in the absence of another to vacuum up its followers is, in many ways, much more interesting.

  4. Splendid, and by the way xtians, these are evolutionary forces at work. When you are no longer inclusively fit because you cannot adapt you disappear.

    Threatened with silence? Sounds rather peaceful, should this read threatened with being silenced?

  5. The bigger they are the harder they fall. Hooray!

    The title of the book Who Will Break Bread For Us has one simple answer – who cares – it’s all nonsense anyway. But the title probably hints at another broader question about who will fill the church shape gap when the church disappears. I used to think it would be good to find some non-religious thing for people to do on Sundays, and there are some atheist groups being set up. But I have now come to the conclusion we don’t need anything. I get all my social needs from friends and family and all my philosophical thought from books and my own experience. Of course, I don’t know any truths for certain, but that’s a good thing. Life is a work in progress.

    • How odd that you follow “We don’t need anything” with “I get all my social needs from friends and family…..”

      What works for you may well not work for everyone else. I hope you don’t assume that those who are looking for some alternative to church on Sunday morning are not unduly needy or simply wrong.

      In reply to #9 by GPWC:

      The bigger they are the harder they fall. Hooray!

      The title of the book Who Will Break Bread For Us has one simple answer – who cares – it’s all nonsense anyway. But the title probably hints at another broader question about who will fill the church shape gap when the church disappears. I used to t…

  6. Pity that those who follow need to follow. This ensures that the disenfranchised and displaced Catholics will simply find a new guru to cling to. The churches wont even be razed; they will simply change the name on the sign out front and spew a new vitriolic brand of horseshit.

    Pity the Evangelical movement can’t similarly run out of steam and go away. I mean with the litany of disgraced mega church pastors, can’t the flock see that they are being duped? From drug addicts to self loathing hate spewing homophobes (who are actually homosexual themselves), to adultery committing to tax fraud (from people who don’t pay taxes), this slime covers a huge percentage of the US and attempts to control policy and what goes on in classrooms; not to mention trying to control what goes on in our bedrooms.

    Pity it won’t all be exposed and crumble to dust in front of our eyes. Eh, well “no more priests” is as good a place as any to start the disintegration.

    • In reply to #17 by crookedshoes:

      The churches wont even be razed; they will simply change the name on the sign out front and spew a new vitriolic brand of horseshit.

      Don’t be so pessimistic! There are some signs of progress in both the US and Ireland!

      For Sale: Empty Catholic churches

      Some (like St. Agatha’s on 39th St. in West Philly) are suited for apartments. But others, including the big but hastily-built mid-1800s missionary complexes, need millions in repairs, and find few likely buyers, other than developers who’d like to knock the old structures flat, over the objection of Philadelphia historical preservationists.

      http://sluggerotoole.com/2011/08/18/financial-crisis-hits-the-catholic-church/

      Henry McDonald notes a cocktail of causes, and that one proposal in a paper leaked by Kelly’s paper is to levy a charge the dwindling bundle of faithful Mass-goers…

      It cites the ongoing cost of compensation payments made to victims of clerical abuse, the death of the Celtic Tiger economic boom and falling numbers going to mass in the Irish capital.

      The document, which was leaked to this week’s edition of the Irish Catholic newspaper, proposes imposing a parish-based levy on Catholic families living in Dublin that would raise up to €3m (£2.6m) a year.

      In the longer term however the truth is that the Church possesses assets and facilities that it no longer has the numbers to justify. Like the massive sell off of Anglican churches in England a whole generation or two ago the Church may be facing a down sizing the number of churches under its purview.

      The trouble is that some of those big Dublin parish churches are bit like Dr Who’s Tardis modest on the outside, huge (and expensive to maintain) on the inside. They can’t be disposed of, without making the still substantial but much smaller numbers of parishioners homeless.

      • I know, I know… I gotta work on the old “glass half full” stuff…In reply to #22 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #17 by crookedshoes:

        The churches wont even be razed; they will simply change the name on the sign out front and spew a new vitriolic brand of horseshit.

        Don’t be so pessimistic! There are some signs of progress in both the US and Ireland!

        For Sale: Empty Catholic churches

        Some (lik…

  7. The greatly reduced numbers of men joining the priesthood in Ireland is not only due to fewer ‘perks’ of the job as some have suggested, but is also a reflection of the greatly reduced religiosity of the population. Most young people don’t even consider going to mass, much less consider joining the priesthood. Also, in the past, having a member of the family in the priesthood was considered quite an honour; fortunately this view has reversed and priesthood is now widely seen as a lonely and fruitless life. And of course the many terrible cases of abuse of children has compounded this negative view of priests in general.

  8. From the article:

    He continues: “We don’t need to have 20-20 vision to see this particular train coming down the track. All we need to do is to be able to count . . . Ireland’s priests will have virtually disappeared in 20 years.”

    I suppose being short sighted goes with being a Catholic. Now who was it who wouldn’t look through Galileo’s telescope at the heavens. Was it Cardinal Bellarme? Whatever, they are so fed on Church rules and regulations that they literally can’t see the wood for the trees. And these are the same bullying bastards who lecture us about eternity !

    BTW Father Brian D’Arcy is no relation of mine !

  9. I hate to put a damper on things but the RCC is booming. I live in Rome less than a mile from the Vatican, and the new pope is drawing record crowds. They might be losing ground in Europe and a few other places, but the woooo is strong. Pilgrimage is on the up, and the new touchy-feely pope is getting nothing but favour able media coverage in italy.

    Unfortunately they have pulled a successful PR coup by replacing nasty old German Benedict, with lovely nice Argentinian Francis ….. who is (relatively) clean as far as scandal is concerned. It was easy to criticize the church under Benedict, but now a large part of the world is basically giving them a free pass again.

    They are not down and out, not by a long shot….. and the whispers are out already that John Paul II will be canonized in October. It’s amazing how short memories people have, but the voice of reason (us) is shouting against a hurricane.

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