The Archdiocese of Dublin is Dying…

An interesting article in today’s Irish Times. Judging by his comments Archbishop Martin appears to be living in denial.

Archbishop says Dublin diocese facing crisis
PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

IRELAND’S LARGEST Catholic diocese is facing its biggest crisis since emancipation in 1829, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

“The change that will take place between now and the year 2020 – just eight years away – will be enormous. I am more and more convinced that they will be the most challenging years that the diocese has had to face since Catholic Emancipation,” he said.

He was speaking after a report found that weekly Mass attendance in Dublin is down to 14 per cent (164,000 out of a Catholic population of 1,162,000).

Of those who do attend Mass it found that “all Sunday Mass-goers could almost be accommodated at one Mass per church per week”.

Meanwhile, priests’ incomes have been cut by 15 per cent over the past two years as Mass collections as well as Christmas and Easter dues, which are for the support of priests, are down 4 per cent in the past four years.

Second collections at Masses, the “Share collection” for support of diocesan agencies, the Bishops’ Conference and poorer parishes are down 2 per cent over the past four years.

The average weekly contribution per person at Mass to the first collection (for priests) is €1.34, while the average contribution to the “Share collection” is €0.81.

The average weekly contribution per family to the upkeep of the parish through envelopes, standing orders and so on is now €2.13, with just one in three families contributing anything.

The report by diocesan financial administrator Kieran O’Farrell also found that the number of priests in Dublin will drop by about 36 per cent in the next eight years, from 456 to about 294.

By 2020 just 235 priests will be available to serve full-time in Dublin’s 199 parishes.

The remainder will be serving as chaplains or at central services.

The basic income of Dublin’s priests has dropped to an average €24,079 per annum, with increments for years service ranging between €840 and €2,820. A parish priest or administrator gets an additional €4,827 per annum.

Separately, 153 clerical abuse claims have been settled by the archdiocese at a cost of €14 million. All money for such claims comes from the general fund, which is made up of bequests and donations to the archbishop, to be used at his discretion.

Such bequests and donations average between €1 million and €2 million a year. No money used in such settlements comes from collections or parish funds.

In reaction to the report, Archbishop Martin said there was “a real change in the religious culture of this diocese”.

He said that “societies like our own, where faith and the Christian life once flourished and faith communities were strong, are now undergoing a far-reaching transformation.

“Today we encounter not so much a situation in which people are torn between two realities, one God’s and the other Caesar’s, but a world in which in many ways the reality of God is slowly being eclipsed and men and women live their lives as if God does not exist.”

The cultural infrastructure “which for decades supported belief and the transmission of the faith began slowly to show signs of wear and tear”, but “for many, the recent sexual abuse scandals – and the mismanagement of the response to them – were the final disillusionment with the church, and from indifference they moved to anger at the church,” he said.

“We are going down a road which is uncharted. That can be unnerving,” he said, but, “we should not overlook the signs of hope that are present within the church in Dublin.”

Numbers attending church may be down, “but there are parishes which have never been as vibrant in their history as they are today,” he said.


Posted on December 14, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Want to invigorate the Irish Church?? Bring back the TRUE MASS (LATIN TRINDENTINE) and pre-vatican 2 devotions ROSARY..ETC. Never mind the social commemtery crap… save the souls of the IRISH People!!!

  2. 14% of idiots. If they go to the modernist Msss. The modernist usually disregard the riles of the Church. Specially on contraception. Only the True Mass gives Graces necessary to survive,

  3. Let me tell my own history about Irish Catholic Church. As you know I’m not Irish and when I came to Ireland few years ago, I was amazed at the number of people receiving Holy Communion – 100% present at the mass (novus ordo). What a great people, I thought. After Mass, I told my impression to my Irish friend. First he looked at me sadly and said: Ask them if they go to confession? I’m terrified to this day.

  4. Ah yes, sad but true. The result of bad catechesis, I think.

  5. I’m not sure why you say that Archbishop Martin is living in denial, Shane. I’ve seen the decline and the loss of faith on visits home from the Philippines since 1976.

    On my most recent visit, November this year, I noticed some young adults at Mass, maybe slightly more than in previous years. I have a hope that immigrants from the Philippines, Poland, India and elsewhere will bring renewal of faith. But I also have a fear that their children will be drowned in the lack of faith that is so prevalent now.

    Though I have questions about the way Mass is sometimes celebrated I cannot agree with the first two comments.

  6. Hi Father. I hope my interpretation of Archbishop Martin’s words are wrong. I’d like to think he realizes the extent of the crisis which the Irish Church is in (which is very far from confined to sex scandals), but I thought he was unduly optimistic in his assessment. I think a lot of our bishops are (somewhat understandably) afraid to face the reality of the situation. Of course the future is not determined but, as with an illness, effective treatment requires a proper diagnosis.

    BTW I hope you’re enjoying your trip back to Ireland. It’s freezing! You must miss the weather in the Philippines!

  1. Pingback: The Bad Old Days…. « Lux Occulta

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