Catholic Church in Ireland is collapsing?

VOTE FOR WDTPRSOur Lord promised that Hell would not prevail against the Church He founded.  He didn’t promise the Church would prevail in Ireland.

The Holy Father wrote in his letter to Catholics in Ireland that they should do penance in more intense way and return to some traditional practices.  He focused on the healing of the Irish people and the Church.  If there were ever a place in the world where a New Evangelization and for what I have dubbed Pope Benedict’s “Marshall Plan” to be implemented, it might be Ireland.

I read today in the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, a grim story.

My emphases and comments.

‘Visitator will tell Pope that Irish Church is near to collapse’

By Michael Kelly on Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Cardinal O’Malley [of Boston] is one of several senior prelates charged by Pope Benedict with carrying out an apostolic visitation of the Irish Catholic Church following a series of highly critical judicial reports that revealed abuse by priests and a widespread culture of cover-up for decades among Church leaders.

Fr Tony Flannery, a leading member of the Association of Catholic Priests, revealed at a conference of lay people in the Irish capital that “Cardinal O’Malley told the association the Irish Church had a decade, at most, to avoid falling over the edge and becoming like other European countries where religion is marginal to society”.

Fr Flannery said Cardinal O’Malley gave a commitment to the priests’ association that he would deliver the frank assessment to the Pope in a confidential report to be submitted later this year.

Admitting to being previously sceptical about the apostolic visitation, Fr Flannery said that in light of Cardinal O’Malley’s undertaking, “there may be some gleam of hope.” [If bishops and priests preach repentance, demonstrate the same, and promote a return to solid doctrine and traditional practices.]

Cardinal O’Malley could not be reached for comment.

In a mid-November statement, the Vatican said it would issue a comprehensive summary of the investigations’ findings when they are completed.

Fr Flannery said that while the association was ready to campaign for radical change, it was apprehensive that it would be viewed as “a new clericalism”. [?!?  Is there any other course?  Fear of being accused of returning to "clericalism" is a fear that comes straight from the wiles of the Enemy.]

The association, which represents more than 400 of Ireland’s 4,500 priests, was formed in 2010. It has proposed a re-evaluation of the Church’s teaching on sexuality and the inclusion of women at every level within the Church.

The first phase of the visitation should be completed by Easter, and it is likely the visitators will meet with senior officials of the Roman Curia in the spring to discuss what Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, described as the next phase of the “path to renewal”.

There are not many alternatives.  The Church’s pastors in Ireland can surrender to modern trends, which will result in the collapse of the Church in Ireland.  They can dither, which will result in the collapse of the Church in Ireland.  They can do what Pope Benedict asked, and do it boldly, and save something of the Church in Ireland.

“Fear of clericalism”?

For the love of God be priests.   Stop clericalizing the lay folk, look people in the eye, teach them how to pray with worthy worship, preach the four last things, invoke the help of the Mother of God, the Holy Angels, St. Patrick and all the saints, do penance and move forward despite the howls.

Will the Church lose numbers or status in Ireland?  Maybe.  Do it anyway.

St. Augustine preached about the sort of healing that Christ as the great Medicus sometimes applies.  He said that the doctor does not stop cutting just because the patient is screaming for him to stop. (s. 80.3)

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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This entry was posted in Clerical Sexual Abuse of Children, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Catholic Church in Ireland is collapsing?

  1. shane says:

    The mistitled “Association of Catholic Priests” really represents about 10% of Irish clergy. The founder members are all prominent ‘liberals’, including Fr Flannery (who wrote a truly awful book on the Ryan Report). Of course the media love them because they can represent their views as mainstream and hence create a consensus.

  2. I notice, however, that this organization only represents less than 10% of the priests in Ireland. Of course, I’m skeptical of any group of priests that join together for the purposes of proposing “a re-evaluation of the Church’s teaching on sexuality and the inclusion of women at every level within the Church.” Organizations like this Association of Catholic Priests have been part of the problem over the last 40 years, and will not be the solution. Since the 60′s, we’ve tried “re-evaluating” (meaning ignore and dissent from) the Church’s teaching on sexuality and the role of the laity in the Church. It doesn’t work.

  3. MaryMaria says:

    For the love of God be priests. Stop clericalizing the lay folk, look them people in the eye, teach them how to pray with worthy worship, preach the four last things, invoke the help of the Mother of God, the Holy Angels, St. Patrick and all the saints, do penance and move forward despite the howls.

    Try it you’ll like it and there are lay Catholics out there who will LOVE you for it!!!!

  4. disco says:

    This is the same association that was hating on the new translation right? The bishops of the Church in Ireland should disband this group immediately. The Church loses when it gives ground on the core of its teachings. The liberals like to pretend that if the Church ordained women and ceased to recognize homosexual activity as sinful there would somehow be more unity. I love father’s quote from St Augustine about the doctor not stopping the cutting just because the patient screams. Those who think they know better than the holy father are the gangrene growing in a wounded limb that once amputated will allow the rest of the body to heal.

  5. lucy says:

    I’d dearly love to send this to my Irish neighbor (been in America for close to 15 years), but it would cause rift with us. She still prays daily, but hates the Church she grew up with, saying how horrible the priests and nuns were. She refuses to go to Church here. And she thinks we’re crazy for going to that awful old-fashioned traditional Mass.

    Good article !

  6. Dirichlet says:

    The only thing this group can achieve is speed up the collapse of the Church in Ireland. It could be a year, instead of a decade!

    What about the other 4,100 priests out there?! Stand up!

  7. catholictigerfan says:

    This is sad, i do have a friend who went to Ireland last summer to study abroad, but I saw recently that in the world the growth of Christians is much higher then that of non religious. I think this is mostly becuase of the smaller 3rd world countries who finally have religious freedom. But I wouldn’t be surprised if God would use these areas to bring back his church. It is clear that the church is losing its hold on the industrialized world, the church is losing its impact in the states as well.

  8. samgr says:

    Here’s a link to the NYTimes story on the same subject that appeared Sunday. It’s the usual one-sided hatchet job, but with enough truth to be more than disturbing: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/magazine/13Irish-t.html?_r=1&hpw

  9. shane says:

    @samgr, that is an ignorant, ill-informed rant by someone who has clearly little knowledge of what they’re writing about. That the New York Times would see fit to publish it says a lot about their standards (or lack thereof).

    @Disco, yes, this is the same beast.

    The ACP get the diagnosis right but they prescribe the wrong medicine. Or rather the ‘medicine’ is itself the cause of the disease. To quote a recent editorial in Church and State magazine (organ of the old Campaign to Seperate Church and State):

    [...]When we set out to erode the abnormal dominance of the Church in the early 1970s, we figured out how it had happened and published a book about it: The Veto Controversy. That book was widely circulated for review but not a single review of it was published.

    One bookshop took a dozen copies. They sold out within a week. But it refused to re-stock. Other shops refused to take it at all.

    The early issues of this magazine carried a series of articles on The Rise Of Papal Power In Ireland, explaining it more or less as it is explained here. They were issued as a pamphlet, under that title, on the occasion of the Pope’s visit in 1979. Again they were widely distributed for review. One curt notice, dismissing the subject as inappropriate, was published, in Books Ireland.

    So the Pope came and he was received with mindless adulation, lay and clerical, with only two noticeable expressions of dissent—this magazine and the Bishop of Cork, who is now taken to be a by-word for obscurantist reaction, Con Lucey.

    The Taoiseach was Cork City politician Jack Lynch, who had won an overall majority in 1977 in an election campaign which was unusually Catholic clericalist for Fianna Fail. But, two years later, the Pope did not visit the second city in the state because the Bishop did not invite him. And, some time later, Lucey retired and went off to be a missionary in Africa. He did not ever explain his failure to invite the Pope to Cork, but it is not hard to see a reason for it.

    Vatican 2 Catholicism undermined and trivialised the earnest Catholicism of Pius IX on which the Irish Church had formed itself, in association with the developing national movement, since the mid-19th century. That phase of development was not exhausted in Ireland when it was halted by Vatican 2. It was still filling itself out when it was ordered to stop. If the original impulse given by the triumph of Anti-Vetoism in the Veto Controversy was running out of momentum, there would have been evidence of this in the appearance of a sceptical intelligentsia to dispute certain areas of ground with the Hierarchy, and by so doing to provide for an evolutionary transition to a new relationship of Church and State.

    What happened instead was that the new Church formed in Ireland in the mid-19th century—by O’Connell’s Roman colleague, Cardinal Cullen—was stopped in its tracks by the Vatican, while there was still no social development against it to take its place. The Vatican 2 changes had to be imposed on Ireland. And their imposition devalued the values to which the generations then in their prime had dedicated themselves.

    Religious development in Ireland, with which social development was connected, was suddenly written off as an aberration. My Lord Bishop suddenly became Bishop Jack or Bishop Jim. Communion and Confirmation became occasions for display of fashion. Hell was abolished—and Heaven along with it, for all that was said to the contrary. And convents and monasteries were deprived of meaning.

    The ersatz intelligentsia, which is now kicking the Church because it is down, did nothing to bring it down. It was the Vatican that undermined it. But that is an inadmissible thought in the fashion of the moment because the futile scepticism which is the outcome of Vatican 2 must have it that Vatican 2 was a good thing. (The creature must love its creator.)[...]“

  10. Allan S. says:

    Clericalism is often trotted out in my area as a very bad thing to be avoided at all costs. Yet the more I learn about it, the more I am convinced it is a very good thing indeed. The papacy itself is the ultimate extension of clericalism, isn’t it? Without the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome, what would we be?

    Here is the advice offered by one traditional website about how to behave in the presence of a priest:

    “Stand when he enters the room and remain standing until he invites you to sit. Men must remove their hats in his presence. If a priest visits your home, it is customary to ask for his blessing; the simple words, “Father, bless” are fine. When blessed by a priest, kneel on both knees until he is finished. It is also customary for many people, especially those in Latin cultures, to kiss the priest’s hand to honor the Eucharist, as they alone are able to consecrate (unless the Pope is present). ”

    I’m trying to imagine the reaction of Father “spirit of Vatican II” when his flock attempt to kiss his hands. Might well be worth the price of admission…!

  11. Caro_c says:

    The Church in Ireland needs collapse. It needs to become marginal. A huge part of our problem is that everyone is Catholic, but no one is catholic. A lot of Irish Catholics are not even christian, they are baptised pagans. Being Irish and being Catholic are too entwined. If the church of Fr Flannery dies it will be no loss. The quicker the better.

  12. phd12699 says:

    I have found that the most “clerical” of my brother priests are those try to eschew being “different” from layfolk at all costs. They are the ones who are continually telling their people how to pray, how to receive Holy Communion, what music to have during Mass, etc. On the other hand, those priests who know and understand the character they have received through ordination seem much less dictatorial to their people (regarding those things where differences are allowed by the Church).

  13. susanmk says:

    Caro c has it exactly right. My husband is from Ireland and my daughter and her family live there. The Church in Ireland has been declining for at least two decades. Baptized pagans indeed.

  14. dap says:

    All leadership structures depend on the consent of the governed, and this reality applies to religious institutions. For good or for ill, Westerners are increasingly withdrawing their consent from the monarchical-styled hierarchy. Sadly, many Catholics from all corners of the globe believe the present church structure is unable to engage the modern world in healthy, non-repressive ways.

    We are in the midst of a reform era of great historical consequence, and the unfolding evolution of Christian experience will undoubtedly continue to provide many challenges and surprises. Powerful religious structures from the past few centuries have largely lost popular crediblity and they are fading from the scene since the necessary cultural foundations which supported those structures are gone. Movements that appear to assert “clericalism” are dead on arrival in the 21st Century as the emerging religious environment is one of collaboration and decentralization. I fear that the painful changes in Ireland will be increasingly experienced across the West.

  15. Katherine says:

    So, should we be on watch for Ireland sinking into the Atlantic, as St. Patrick warned?

  16. Sixupman says:

    These “Associations of … Priests”, together with their Bishops’ Conferences, ultimately seek ‘National Churches’, only loosely linked to Rome, where they can adopt and follow their own proclivities without let or hindrance.

  17. lacrossecath says:

    Does anyone know a book or website that give the big picture on the Church in Ireland? Are we saying Ireland is worse off than say GB??

  18. Denis says:

    Women priests, married clergy, democracy…these are the recipes for growth? That must be why the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans are such a screaming success. These liberal denominations couldn’t be more marginal in Europe and the UK.

    And if you’re really opposed to religious authority, why go to any church? After all, you can just go to the mall, think about Jesus as you shop, and read the Bible when you’re at Cinnabon.

  19. Tom Ryan says:

    I find a lot of the criticism comes from the avant garde urban Irish in the media and smug Catholics here in the US who think they are all that matters. In the rural towns, the Faith is better preserved than I’ve ever seen it anywhere here in post V2 America.

    The real problem with Ireland, as in Poland, is that there’s been little for the laity to ‘react to.’ It’s a seemingly benign novusordoism devoid of most of the excesses we see in the typical US suburban parish. They should rename the country EWTNland because they thought all was wonderful and never had their preconceptions challenged.

    Sure you have EMHCs, but in many places they’re still using the communion rail. If they imposed the changes in Eire as they did here, perhaps we would’ve gotten a fight out of the Irish.

    They are frogs in a slowing warning pot of water.

  20. Tom Ryan says:

    And Fr. Z is right about Benedict vis-à-vis the Irish. They love him and his picture is EVERYWHERE!

  21. shane says:

    I have no objection in principle to the idea of a clerical ‘trade union’, representing the distinct interests of clergy. ACP however are clearly unworthy of the name. When they issue these kinds of statements there are few orthodox priests out there contradicting them (bar the extremely mediocre and hugely overrated Fr Vincent Twomey) so naturally people assume that they represent the views of most priests.

  22. Esther says:

    The self-destruction of the Irish Church is leading to the self-destruction of the society itself.
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/01/04/irish-civil-partnerships-come-into-law/
    Yucky yucky yucky.
    :’(

  23. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Is Ireland supposed to fall into the sea?

  24. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    I’ve mentioned this before on this website, but to understand the collapse of American Catholicism, it helps to understand its demise in Boston. [I am editing the rest of this out. This isn't your forum to speak about the Church in Boston.]

  25. Kevin B. says:

    “For the love of God be priests. Stop clericalizing the lay folk, look people in the eye, teach them how to pray with worthy worship, preach the four last things, invoke the help of the Mother of God, the Holy Angels, St. Patrick and all the saints, do penance and move forward despite the howls.”

    Quote of the day. I know many priests who are good men but… I seldom hear them speak of things like sin, grace, the last things, the communion of saints, and all the rest. I often want to ask them, “Gentlemen, who on earth are you so afraid of offending?” If priests were more clerical in the positive sense of the term, I think they’d receive far more thanks than they would complaints.

  26. Brad says:

    Ireland signed her name in blood via the EU. The luciferians in illuminati ground zero, Brussels, will impose abortion soon. I hate to simply drop it like that, but what else is there to say?

  27. Caro_c says:

    “(bar the extremely mediocre and hugely overrated Fr Vincent Twomey) ”

    Shane, that is very uncharitable of you to speak of Fr Vincent Twomey in that way. As one of his ex students I have huge respect for this man. He is a wonderful faithful priest and teacher. He works tirelessly for Christ’s Church in Ireland. I am disappointed in you Shane :-(

  28. Caro_c says:

    Here is a link to Fr Twomey’s response to the (Irish Association of Catholic Priests) after they attacked the new transaltion of the Mass.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/letters/2011/0208/1224289258751.html

  29. Clo Mhuire says:

    The ACP set up an association for their own purpose. Big fans of celtic new age spirituality (that’s putting it mildly), they have their own agenda (no, I didn’t mention Austria or similiar groups), and show little if no respect for Church teachings. What’s important is that we have many great priests in Ireland who remain faithful to the Church.

    @caro c @susanmk You may only be familiar with baptised pagans but there are many of us who are baptised Catholics and living our faith to the full with God’s grace always at work. You should meet us the next time you are over. We welcome all faiths, even pagans who might like to meet Catholics living their faith. :)

    Is Ireland sinking in the Atlantic? No. God prepares his people and we are heading into a reform, not the bottom of the ocean. Patrick intercedes for us. How do I know….Because God still calls the Davids from the fields, the Marys from the kitchens and while many chatter, others are praying and waiting on the Lord.

  30. raitchi2 says:

    Returning to clericalism isn’t going to solve the issue of pedophilia. If anything clericalism *allowed* (not caused) it to happen. By questioning clericalism, I’m not advocating for some sort of lay run church. I merely advocating for a more disclosing and self-critical hierarchy. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  31. Childermass says:

    I’m glad to see Cardinal Sean’s frankness about the Church in Ireland. His flock, I included, pray that His Eminence exhibit some frankness about the Church here.

  32. Paul says:

    Don’t write the Irish off yet.

    There is still a lot of faith despite the lack of catechesis.

  33. JARay says:

    Here, in Australia, there are two associations to which priests may belong. One could be described in the terms of these Irish Association of Catholic Priests and the other is a far more traditional one. It is called The Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and I believe that in America there is a similar The American Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. The two held a joint conference in Rome early last year and they invited like minded clergy from other countries to join them. I believe that the redoubtable Fr. Tim Finigan (The Hermaneutic of Continuity) was one who joined them.
    So there are associations of Catholic priests which are solidly Catholic and supportive of the Holy Father in some of the English speaking world at least. It seems to me that Ireland is in need of a version of the ACCC.

  34. Tony Layne says:

    “Fr Flannery said that while the association was ready to campaign for radical change …”

    As if they’d support a change towards orthodoxy? Usual b.s. … we can only save the Irish Church if we copy the Anglicans ….

  35. Igne says:

    First and foremost, the ACP is an atrocious organisation and deserves to be attacked intelligently at all times. Tony Flannery, Sean McDonagh, Pat Rogers et al use arguments and blur boundaries that even a rudimentary acquaintance with orthodox doctrine would make laughable, if only it wasn’t so serious. They are the uber-clericalists. They, even if they don’t admit it, want the adulation of the faithful. They are part of the problem. Ireland has not been catechised in decades. This is partly because of wonted clerical confidence that the Irish were instrinsically Catholic and would never change. Historically speaking clericalism has indeed been a very bad thing in Ireland. Ireland has had too many ‘good’ clerics who were bad priests. The negligent view the pastors of the Church took towards the faithful in Ireland amounted to treating them like mushrooms… leaving them in the dark and feeding them s**t. This has amounted to what is nothing more or less than a wholesale crisis of faith. The Irish have not been given the doctrinal or apologetical wherewithal to fight off the attacks of anti-Christian forces. Catholicism seems absurd. And, in fairness, the extreme spokespeople of the left, and, indeed, many of those on the right have been absurd. Consequently the faithful in Ireland are often ignorant and by now are too lazy to care. They would rather stay in bed on Sundays. (I’m Irish, so I feel entitled to say these things). The priests and their self-centred obsession with their clerical status, whether in vestments or tie-dye, have been to blame. There are good priests in Ireland, but the clerical system has deprived many of them of the oxygen needed to be confident in doctrinal orthodoxy. This process has been under way for a long time. Believe me. The future may give hope, but the hope won’t come from any Irish clericalism.

  36. PghCath says:

    God bless Cardinal O’Malley for his honesty. I know he alienated many readers of his blog last year with the Kennedy funeral and the Hingham Catholic school debacle. I lived in Boston for a few years, and while I don’t agree with him on everything, I do recognize that he “stopped the bleeding” in a broken archdiocese. I guess the Pope recognizes that too.

    I pray for the strength of the church in both Ireland and Boston.

  37. PghCath says:

    Make that “readers of THIS blog”

  38. Igne says:

    Yes, and you’re right. Clericalising the lay people in Ireland is the order of the decade/century. It’s appaling. And even worse given the lousy standard of catechesis in the country. Whatever about the problems this phenomenon causes now, just wait until is has to be rolled back some time in the future because of the abuses it brings. That will be a battle royale.

  39. lacrossecath says:
    15 February 2011 at 1:46 pm
    Does anyone know a book or website that give the big picture on the Church in Ireland? Are we saying Ireland is worse off than say GB??

    – Check out THE END OF IRISH CATHOLICISM by VIncent Twomey:
    http://www.ignatius.com/Products/EIC-P/the-end-of-irish-catholicism.aspx

  40. Felicia says:

    I was in my early 20s when I visited Ireland for several months in the late 1980s. I remember being able to drop in to most Churches for prayer at all times of the day and there would be someone else in there. Ireland was also the first place I ever experienced a Corpus Christi procession! Yet the preaching at Mass was uniformly dull as dishwater and I met many individual Irish people who were dismissive of the Church and hostile to religion.

    I know how ugly a formerly Catholic society looks like when it turns its back on Catholicism—hey, I’m from Quebec!—and I really feel for Ireland right now.

  41. Charivari Rob says:

    As bad as things may be for the Church in Ireland (and I, like others commenting here, have reason to believe that there are problems)…

    I wonder if we (most of us, anyway, and myself included) are taking for granted the accuracy/completeness/truthfulness of what this Father Flannery says Cardinal Sean supposedly told Flannery’s group about the confidential report +Sean will be making to the Pope, later this year, about a Visitation where phase I isn’t even complete and +Sean is only one of four primary Visitators.

    Why? Because it tends to agrees with what we’ve already decided is the case?

    When someone says to me “Here’s what so&so told me is going to be in a confidential report” – I’ve gotta ask myself “Would so&so really have told him anything confidential?” and “If so, why does this guy think he can reveal it?” Perhaps it’s best to take what he says with a grain of salt.

    It may be that events transpired exactly as this Father Flannery described. It may also be that +Sean said something rather general to this group “Yes, the Church in Ireland is clearly in crisis and I will be reporting that quite plainly to the Holy Father.” and Father Flannery views that as convergent with his own opinions.

  42. irishgirl says:

    ‘For God’s sake, be priests. Stop[ clericalizing the lay folk’.
    Amen, Father Z! You hit the nail right on the head!

  43. irishgirl says:

    Whoops-forgot to delete the ‘[‘ before hitting ‘post’.
    Using a different computer-hope I’ll get my laptop back soon.
    Sigh….

  44. robtbrown says:

    raitchi2 says:

    Returning to clericalism isn’t going to solve the issue of pedophilia. If anything clericalism *allowed* (not caused) it to happen. By questioning clericalism, I’m not advocating for some sort of lay run church. I merely advocating for a more disclosing and self-critical hierarchy. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

    A priestly caste is intrinsic to the Church. For years, priests have been treated differently, simply because they were considered above the fray, with lives of sacrifice (incl celibacy) that was dedicated to their vocation (in the US physicians have a similar status). I do not consider this clericalism.

    IMHO, clericalism happens when priests prefer organizational power to Truth. Its primary symptom is condescension toward the laity. It was manifest in bishops’ turning a blind eye toward the scandals, and later in the USCCB’s response (which was a combo of a half a$$ed attempt to deal with the problem and a big PR push).

    To me clericalism is most manifest in liberalism, simply because it does not rely on a foundation of Truth but rather organizational power. Ask most pastors for a Latin mass, and the response will likely be one of clericalism.

    is a similar caste for doctors

    s more isolated

  45. Dr. Eric says:

    I had never seen so many Anti-Catholic Catholics in my life until I went to Ireland 9 years ago. And yet, I had never seen such devotion until I went to Knock. A total paradox. Pray for Ireland.

  46. robtbrown says:

    dap says:

    All leadership structures depend on the consent of the governed, and this reality applies to religious institutions.

    Incorrect. The authority of the Church is Divine, not the result of democratic consent.

    For good or for ill, Westerners are increasingly withdrawing their consent from the monarchical-styled hierarchy. Sadly, many Catholics from all corners of the globe believe the present church structure is unable to engage the modern world in healthy, non-repressive ways.

    That sounds like what I was hearing in the 70′s. Warmed over Marxism: Laymen of the World, Unite!

    We are in the midst of a reform era of great historical consequence, and the unfolding evolution of Christian experience will undoubtedly continue to provide many challenges and surprises. Powerful religious structures from the past few centuries have largely lost popular crediblity and they are fading from the scene since the necessary cultural foundations which supported those structures are gone.

    It depends on what you mean by cultural foundations. If you are referring to the legitimate authority of priests and bishops, then I disagree. On the other hand, if you mean the move from modern to post modern society or the devastation of the liturgy that has siphoned off most of the symbols of transcendence, then I agree with you.

    The irony of what you say is that post Vat II theology has adopted the triplex munera from Calvinism (Teacher, Ruler, Sanctifier). After the end of the German Prince Archbishops, I don’t know of any ruling (governing) authority possessed by bishops.

    Movements that appear to assert “clericalism” are dead on arrival in the 21st Century as the emerging religious environment is one of collaboration and decentralization.

    See my comment above on clericalism.

    I fear that the painful changes in Ireland will be increasingly experienced across the West.

    Disagree. First, most of the problems started hitting the US 25+ years ago. Second, for various reasons, Ireland is very different culturally than the US or the nations on the continent.

  47. robtbrown says:

    Dr. Eric says:

    I had never seen so many Anti-Catholic Catholics in my life until I went to Ireland 9 years ago. And yet, I had never seen such devotion until I went to Knock. A total paradox. Pray for Ireland.

    The Irish are, like the Germans, a naturally religious people. That’s a strength but also a weakness. Seeking to satisfy one’s religious instinct can sometimes produce a very subjective attitude toward the Church. PostCatholic here is a good example. A former seminarian who has lost the faith, he has embraced Unitarian Universalism, probably because he’s trying to satisfy some religious instinct.

  48. Supertradmum says:

    Father Benedict Groeschel, on EWTN last summer, stated that the only anti-clericalism he ever encountered was in Ireland. He was spit on when on the streets. He attributed it to the fact that he was wearing a habit, a symbol of his order, and that was part of the discussion-the importance of the habit, or clerical wear. He has traveled in many places.

  49. robtbrown says:

    should be:

    Disagree. First, most of the problems started hitting the US 25+ years ago. Second, for various reasons, Ireland is very different culturally FROM the US or the nations on the continent.

  50. lacrossecath says:

    @Pigeon Street
    Thanks!

  51. Cailin says:

    Wow, can’t believe what I’m reading.
    Ireland is not lost. Ireland is going through a purification, badly needed, but only for something much brighter. The CPA does NOT represent the priests or the people. Around 400 turned up for the first meeting and around 50 turn up for any subsequent meeting. The 350 obviously were open to something ‘new’ but soon realised who the rebels were that were running it and haven’t been back.
    The majority of priests in Ireland are good men. They are suffering because of the fallen few. Pray for them.
    The Lord has been working very quietly for the last 15 years or so with many lay Catholics, preparing for the new evangelisation, while the ‘filth’ was being cleaned out.

    Believe me, the time is at hand, something very gooood is about to begin. Watch and pray.