Diocese backs women priests: Stark choices for Catholicism

Diocese backs women priests: Stark choices for Catholicism

Killala diocese is typical of many Catholic dioceses in Ireland. It consists of 22 parishes in north Mayo and north west Sligo, and struggles to provide a priest to each of those parishes. The diocese, unless something changes dramatically, will have just five or six active priests in less than two decades.

The collapse in vocations is so dramatic that the diocese has started a process to reflect on a vote that indicated that 85% of Catholics felt priests should be allowed to marry, while 81% supported priests who had married resuming ministry. The survey found that 80% backed women being ordained to the diaconate and, in opposition to the Vatican, 69% said women should be ordained.

It is hard not to think that those views would not, more or less, reflect views right across Ireland. The fall in vocations has been persistent over many years but, even so, it may be hard to appreciate that in 2018 there were, proportionately, more ordinations in France than in Ireland.

In France, where religious teaching is prohibited in public schools, 114 priests were ordained — roughly three priests per million Catholics. In Ireland, eight men were ordained, fewer than two priests per million. Ireland’s ordination rate is less than two-thirds that in a determinedly secular France.

Irish Catholicism faces a stark choice between purity or presence. It must, it seems, either pragmatically embrace the once unimaginable, or fade further towards the margins.

More on this topic

Bishop backs parishioners who want female priestsBishop backs parishioners who want female priests

Australian cardinal launches appeal against child sex abuse convictionsAustralian cardinal launches appeal against child sex abuse convictions

Court upholds child sex convictions against Cardinal George PellCourt upholds child sex convictions against Cardinal George Pell

Disgraced Cardinal Pell investigated over letter from jailDisgraced Cardinal Pell investigated over letter from jail

More in this Section

Letter to the Editor: Dominance of Brexit not good for EULetter to the Editor: Dominance of Brexit not good for EU

Emperor enthroned: Who'd be a king?Emperor enthroned: Who'd be a king?

Warning for Extinction protestors: Good advice for the Greens tooWarning for Extinction protestors: Good advice for the Greens too

McVerry throws down gauntlet: Where is the outrage on homes crisis?McVerry throws down gauntlet: Where is the outrage on homes crisis?


Lifestyle

A long-time fad dieter, Katy Harrington tried unsuccessfully to embrace body positivity, so she’s trying something new (and neutral)Plusses of positivity: Forget body positivity - it's time to go neutral

Discovering the joys of the Monaghan and Armagh landscapes while venturing north, comes highly-recommended by Noel BakerTrekking north to Monaghan and Armagh is good for the soul

Sex advice with Suzi Godson.Sex file: Where have my orgasms gone?

Producers of the new landmark Attenborough series tell Sarah Marshall about some of the fantastic animal encounters they filmed.Visit the wildlife locations featured in the BBC’s Seven Worlds, One Planet

More From The Irish Examiner