THE Vatican is planning “something dramatic” for the Irish Church in the coming months which could see the number of dioceses significantly reduced and most of our current bishops replaced, it has been claimed.
Writing in the Irish Catholic, David Quinn, founder of the Catholic Iona institute, said “rumours” are circulating in Rome that a new, slimline hierarchy might be on the cards.
Mr Quinn said “we should hope and pray” that the Vatican is bold enough to make such a move because if the Church in Ireland is to have any hope of recovery then it needs a hierarchy that can look the public in the eye again.
It is not the first time such suggestions have been raised.
Theologian and former student of Pope Benedict XVI, Fr Vincent Twomey, emeritus professor of moral theology at Maynooth seminary, has also said we have too many dioceses — 26 — for such a small Catholic population.
“At the very most, 12 dioceses would be sufficient in Ireland, including a reduction of the size of the Archdiocese of Dublin to the present county boundaries,” he has said.
He suggested that the size and the nature of the Bishops’ Conference works against effective leadership at local or national level. Each bishop fears to tread on the toes of the others, not to mention criticise them.
He has also advocated for every Irish bishop appointed before 2003 to resign, claiming that the Catholic Church in Ireland has been without any leadership effectively for the last 15 years.
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