Ireland’s faith problem

Ireland’s faith problem

There was a time when it was not uncommon to see priests from Ireland serving American parishes, or parishes around the world, for that matter. The country produced so many vocations that they had to send them abroad as missionaries. Unfortunately, even though it took longer in Ireland, they appear to have caught up with the rest of Europe in the decline of faith.

The New York Times reports that only 8 priests were ordained for all of Ireland last year compared to 193 in 1990. Part of the problem is blamed on the Scandal, which struck particularly hard. But another element is the change in Irish society. As little as 50 years ago, many Irish lived without phone service or indoor plumbing or regular electrical service. It was still mainly an agrarian society. But much of that has changed. With the wealth of the Celtic Tiger economy and so many people, especially young people, moving into cities, many of the same secularizing influences that have affected the rest of the world have affected Ireland.

  • Sure – the same secularist trends are occurring in Ireland as have been here.  But a lot of the current generation just lost their faith in the Church in Ireland after it came to be discovered that virtually EVERY Irish Catholic boarding school for boys was a venue for homomolesting boys.  Unless the Catholic Church dequeerizes itself, there will BE NO MORE Catholic boys’ boarding schools, EVER.  Few sane parents will ever again trust their sons with a priest.  The Irish Catholic Church was slip-sliding away, but perverted homomolestors put the coup-de-grace to it.  It will take decades and decades to repair the damage – and it will take A LOT longer if the Church is filled with sexually disordered priests.

  • Anyone who says that the Mass is a poor substitute for spirituality doesn’t merely misunderstand the Faith, they have lost it.

    Is it any wonder why persecution and barbarism are returning? 

    God Bless,


  • Sinner,

    “But a lot of the current generation just lost their faith in the Church in Ireland after it came to be discovered that virtually EVERY Irish Catholic boarding school for boys was a venue for homomolesting boys.”

    Here are some numbers for you.

    “3% of convicted sex abuse offenders in Ireland are clerics and that most abuse is carried out within the home but, our correspondent notes, victims’ groups believe the incidence of abuse carried out by priests to be higher.”

    Notice the last part….Victims Groups….they have a way of spinning things don’t they.  All you have to do is ask VOTF and CTA.  3%…..that means that 97% are NOT priests.  While 3% is 3% too many, we shouldn’t over-glamourize these numbers.  Priests are in the minority.

    Also, “Of those surveyed, 72% said they believed priests overall had been unfairly judged because of abuse but public satisfaction with the Church as an institution stood at just 44%.”

    So, the Church should be held responsible, yes….no one questions that, but in Ireland, most still have respect for the clergy.  And most in Ireland think that they have been unfairly treated.

    Also, the vocation crisis, based on a sexual precident.  Most want to marry.  The numbers of clergy will rebound, they always do.  This scandal will pass, they always do.  But at the center is the Church.

    Let’s put this in perspective….from the years 1054 AD thru roughly 1600 AD, the church weathered TWO major schisms, the Protestant Reformation (Revolt), and countless clergy who were immoral.  But did she survive?  Yes.  Did she “rebound?”  Yes.  None of this is new.  How did the faithful get through this?  Prayer….and following the lead of Holy Mother Church.  They did not get through this by demonizing the priesthood or it’s members.  All we have to do is look to the past.

    Yes, Ireland has the same problems we do, but Ireland has been a great bastian of faith….We would be remiss to forget that.  Pray for vocations, pray for healing; if we all do that, and stop belly-aching, we will get a lot further.


  • Camilam –

    As I said, virtually every Catholic school for boys in Ireland has been closed because of outrageous homo-priest molesting within them.  As with here, there would have been almost no scandal if there had been no homosexual priests. 

    And yes, Camilam, the Church ‘survived’ the Protestant Reformation – but because of the massive corruption within the Catholic Church at that time, the schism occurred, and 1/2 of all Christendom is now no longer Catholic.  That’s survival, but not what I would call a ‘rebound.’

    I DO pray for the things you suggest – on a regular basis.  But I believe it is necessary to denounce the policies and people within the Church who have so harmed Her and thousands and thousands of children.  Many of those people and policies are still in place.  That, for me, is an outrage.

    And I understand you disagree.  So be it.

  • Let’s remember that it’s not so important that the number of molester priests is relatively low, but that as we’ve seen time and time again, those non-molester priests in charge of these institutions often did nothing to stop the attacks.

    It’s astonishing to me that any parent would send his son to a Catholic boarding school nowadays, knowing what we know. I’ve read “Father Joe,” Tony Hendra’s wonderful memoir of his father-son relationship with a beloved Benedictine monk. There’s no way that kind of thing could happen today, alas, alas.

    (Hendra, by the way, has been accused by his daughter of having sexually assaulted her when she was a child. Is there no end to this stuff?)

  • Sinner,

    “Thatthat more than surviving, but a rebound.

    Getting back on point, while things in Ireland may be lowered as far as vocations go, the worldwide the number is up….praise God, Vocations rose from 112,244 in 2002 to 112,982 in 2003.  According to Vatican Statistics.

    So, our prayers are being answered and even in this apparent time of priestly crisis, there is an increase in vocations, God Be Praised.


  • Camilam –

    From one of Dom’s links today…

    “Moreover, the pope well knows that the Irish Catholic church needs a shot in the arm. Revelations concerning sexual and other forms of abuse by Catholic priests and nuns, expressed among other places in the recent movie “The Magdalene Sisters,” caused long-simmering resentment over clerical arrogance to explode. Today the anger in Ireland towards bishops, clergy and anything that smacks of institutional religion is remarkable. “

    Think this has nothing to do with the vocation problem in Ireland, Camilam? 

    Calling Camiliam…  Come back to this universe…

    The truth is, the Irish Catholic Church has been devastated by the same sorts of homo-scandals we’ve had.

    The Catholic boys’ school system has collapsed.  Many Irish, just like many Americans, will never let their sons be alone with a priest, ever again.

    The Pope should summarily FIRE everyone involved in these scandals (including about 1/2 of the American bishops).

    That’s not right.

  • Sinner,

    I think that I have figured it out.  See, I am in the Alpha quadrant, and you are in the Gamma quadrant (Star Trek, in case you think that I might be right). 

    I quote the Holy Father and you quote a movie that the Holy See is outraged over.  Do you honestly believe that this stupid, stupid movie is an accurate representation of the Church? (BTW, I have seen this movie…..and what happens, one of the escapees remains a Catholic, devout at that.)  If so, I have another “winner” for you, it is called Dogma.

    “Think this has nothing to do with the vocation problem in Ireland, Camilam?”

    Nope.  I think that there are a lot more issues than your “homolestor” theory.  I think that modernization of Ireland, I think that the desire to marry, I think that fewer people living in Ireland, and a myriad of other things have to do with it.  Does the scandal fit in there, yes, but it is not the overriding factor.

    How is the Gamma quadrant by the way?  Have the Dominion overrun your world yet and eliminated Catholicism?

    Finally, I am glad that you have softened your stance on the bishops… is only half now and not the “seemingly vast majority” any longer.  There is hope.


  • “Do you honestly believe that this stupid, stupid movie is an accurate representation of the Church?”

    I was having an e-discussion with Scot Lehigh of the Boston Globe recently, and he used the “Magdelene Sisters” as an example of how state and religion used to come together to repress people’s sexuality. (It’s good to know, Camilam, that one of the women remains a devout Catholic.)

    But I also thought – okay, no question, abuses of power have happened and may continue to happen at the hands of clergy/religious. However, 1. that doesn’t change the truthfulness of Church teachings, and 2. how many more young people, particularly young women, are victimized or exploited by those who have come to shape our sexual morality in the absence of the Church – eg, the abortion industry, Hollywood, the entertainment industry, or by predatory guys who have been given a free pass, since there’s always contraception and abortion to take away the consequences of their actions? I’d say the number is a heck of a lot higher than that of girls tucked away in convents, or even of male sexual abuse victims. Not diminishing the awful reality of those people’s experiences in any way, just pointing out that the “evils” of religion don’t really compare to the evil of what we’ve replaced it with. Am I crazy to think so?

  • Sinner,

    Are you implying that homosexual sin is somehow worse than heterosexual sin, by saying “particularly homosexual sin?”

    Because if that is what you are saying, I emphatically disagree.  If not, then we agree. 

    What do I mean?  I mean that those who are not married, those who have exta-marital affairs and intra-marital, and those who are divorced (without annulment) and acting in a way that is contrary to the life of Christ are just as guilty of a sin against chastity as any homosexual who acts out.

    Why?  Because sexual deviancy is sexual deviancy. And it is a sin against chastity. There is no distinction.  Both close the door to the love of spouse (eros) that the Church deems to be vital to the married life and sexual morality.

    But again, why all this about homosexuality?  Isn’t this thread supposed to be about Irish vocations?  Why so much about homosexuality?  It still is not the end all be all.

    This little trip to the Gamma quadrant has been fun.