Ireland: manmade vocation wasteland

Jesus_Lamb_Storm_Boat_640Ireland and the Catholic Church in Ireland have their problems.  Sadly, they gave some of those problems also to the USA.  However, since I am forever harping on praying for vocations to the priesthood, one problem in particular struck me today.

From IrishCentral:

Only six Irish sign up for the priesthood – a 222-year-record low

A mere six men will be starting the classes required to become a priest at the National Seminary at St. Patrick’s College Maynooth in County Kildare this fall – the lowest number in the seminary’s more than two centuries of existence.

Fifteen men, the Irish Catholic reports, are currently undergoing preparatory work that will allow them to become seminarians in the fall of 2018.

Maynooth, which opened in 1795, was once the largest seminary in the world with space for 500 men to train to become priests.

Last year there were only 80 men undergoing the necessary studies at the seminary to become members of the clergy.

The number is likely to have dipped even further this year following something of a crisis last summer when a number of seminarians were caught using the gay hookup app Grindr. [No, no!  Nothing to see here.  I wonder if Fishwrap (aka National Sodomitic Reporter) has reported on this.] As a result, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin ordered three trainees to leave the seminary and continue their studies at the Irish college in Rome.

“I have my own reasons for doing this,” the Archbishop said at the time.

At the time critics of the move warned authorities that his actions would damage Maynooth; Fr. Brendan Hoban said it was “unfair” and said it did not address the underlying issue.


It’s a vicious circle by now, a tornado of failure, a hurricane of identity suicide.

The vocations crisis was in part manufactured. In Ireland it is so bad that it is a self-perpetuating vortex of self-inflicted wounds.

Talk about manmade climate change!

I’m reminded that Benedict XVI, in his Letter to the Irish people, recommended a return to traditional practices.

Do you want where you live to look like Ireland?

Pray for vocations. Be willing to offer your own children. Support your priests and seminarians.

Stop coddling perversity. Return to the Mass of our forebears as much as possible. Bring back our devotions and processions and many seasonal and festal blessings. Use sacramentals. Pray the Rosary.

Do penance for sins and offenses against the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. acardnal says:

    Orthodoxy breeds vocations! Simple.

  2. corm_corm says:

    As an Irishman, who is friends with a number of seminarians, I hope I can shed some light in the inaccuracies in this article.
    From this autumn, the Irish Bishops Conference has decided that all men entering seminary must do a propaedeutic year in the English college in Spain. They have also decided that older men should attend the Beda College Rome.
    The six men entering Maynooth this autumn are either relics from the old system or from dioceses where this Bishop has decided not to implement the propaedeutic year.
    So, in reality there are actually around two dozen men starting studies for the priesthood for dioceses in Ireland. Although, let us not fool ourselves, in a country of 6 million people, 70% of which identify as Catholic, two dozen men commencing studies for the priesthood is a dismal number.

  3. Alanmac says:

    It is getting harder to separate priests from gay when you have James Martin bleating from major news sources about changing Catholic views and commencing dialogue (which is leftist code for we’re doing it my way). If you are homosexual, you shouldn’t be a priest.

  4. Kevin says:

    This is very depressing though not entirely surprising. Six months from now this Irish nation of long forgotten Saints and Scholars votes to remove any legal protection for the unborn. Save a handful of churches in the country, we’re hearing almost nothing from the clergy. “Luv”, recycling and saving the planet are the topic du jour from the pulpit, at least locally. Catechises, apologetics, sin, fasting, the rosary striving for sanctity, the wonder of the Holy Mass the Holy Eucharist, avoidance of hell have never been mentioned in my 35 years of adult life. There is no attraction or draw towards a Holy vocation, instead of challenging young people we’re trying to endear them with entertainment and the gospel of nice.
    But then on the very bright side I’ve got the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, less than 15 miles away in the neighbouring diocese. What incredible beacons of light they are, thanks be to God.

  5. ejcmartin says:

    Sadly the Church where I live already looks like Ireland, or worse.

  6. Chris in Maryland 2 says:

    A gigantic problem is the in seriousness of “the contemporary Church.”

    Consider the case of Ireland: for I believe over 20 years, the man in charge of the seminary in Maynooth was Michael Ledwith. Mr. Ledwith – now laicized and an apostate – was in his time considered a “rising star” in the Irish Church and a shoe-in for Bishop.

    What does Mr. Ledwith do now? He lives in Arizona and travels world-wide teaching of the wisdom of The Ancient School of Ramtha – Ramtha being an alien intelligence whose teachings are channeled through a woman living in Arizona.

    I am not making this up.

    Mr. Ledwith – btw – had to excuse himself from his “Catholic career” after he was found to have sexually molested a seminarian.

    How on earth can a parent entrust his son to a seminary when this type of evil gets done by criminal men running many seminaries?

  7. majuscule says:

    Our Lady of Knock, pray for us.

  8. Charlotte Allen says:

    I’m one-fourth Irish, so I can say this: The Irish are a mess. They can’t stop whining about that potato famine, for which they hate the English Prots (on whom they blame all their problems), but on the other hand, they have a deep intellectual inferiority complex and will grovel in any direction to try to get the English Prots to respect and love them. That Land ‘o Lakes Butter declaration of the 1960s was all about the feeling among mostly Irish Catholic professors that the Catholic colleges where they taught just weren’t good enough, and that if you could only disentangle them from the clutches of the Catholic Church, Notre Dame would be just like Harvard. They were just plain ashamed of their Catholic heritage. They wanted to prove that they were forward thinkers no longer to be identified with the “ghettoized” and backward urban parishes–they were sophisticates! (Read any issue of Commonweal to get this feel.)

    And it’s the largely Irish clergy and hierarchy that ran the Catholic Church in America from the 19th century onward that was largely responsible for the clerical sex scandals unveiled in recent years. It was also the largely Irish clergy and hierarchy who got into the worst liturgical excesses of the post-Vatican II period. They were the pioneers of the current mania for statue removal–on the ground that if they could only make their churches look more Protestant and their Masses seem more Protestant–why the mainline Prots would finally respect them. It was again that desire to be as progressive and sophisticated and advanced in thinking as their Protestant neighbors. One of the fascinating aspects of present-day Irish-American demographics is that hardly any of the children or grandchildren of the Vatican II generation practice Catholicism, and large numbers of the grandchildren are unbaptized. Of all my (mostly Irish) former classmates in grades 1-12 in Catholic schools, I can count on the fingers of one hand those who still attend Mass regularly. Well, maybe both hands but not making it up to 10.

    It was inevitable that exactly the same trends would take place in Ireland itself, the motherland of the Irish inferiority complex. It took a little longer in Ireland because until a few decades ago, most of Ireland’s population was rural and poor and very traditional in attitudes. But now most of them live in Dublin and its suburbs, they’ve had a big prosperity bubble (it burst a few years ago, but no matter), so the Irish Catholics hastened to secularize as quickly as their Irish-American cousins, and for the same reasons: to keep up with their perceived betters. The excellent movie “Calvary” is a portrait of the desiccated Irish church and the people who have “moved beyond” Catholicism. It’s sad, because, as in Quebec, it was the Catholic Church that stood up to English domination and provided identity, cohesion, and solidarity to people whose culture might otherwise have been effectively eliminated.

  9. Chris in Maryland 2 says:

    I must admit that this is probably a perennial problem. The concern I have now is that given the “current administration” wholesome efforts from B16 are getting undermined, and things are slipping back into “Maynooth-ism.”

  10. ChesterFrank says:

    Good use of the phrase Climate Change. “Laudato Si” really does apply here as political and social climates are true climates.They are a major part of the Church ecosystem.

  11. DeGaulle says:

    The way things are going here, I expect the number of priests to decline in an appropriate proportion to the numbers of laity seeking their services. A disheartening number of people in Ireland have fallen for liberal, politically-correct transgressiveness. We have a job on our hands keeping abortion out.

  12. corm_corm thanks for setting the record straight. You left out the religious though. The Dominicans have been doing well vocations wise and the Franciscans have four novices this year. Most if not all of these are aiming to be priests. Yes Ireland, like the rest of the West has become secularised. That may come as a shock to those who were raised with an idealised version of our little island but we do not live in a bubble. Remember also that just as Ireland has micro-climates she also has micro-‘faith cultures’. For instance, having in the last year worked in Donegal, Cork and Carlow (literally from one end of the island to the other), I have seen that while the Faith has dwindled in Dublin it is thriving in Donegal and doing well in Carlow. There are many devout and holy people still in Ireland. They have been starved of catechesis and been given poor guidance in how to live a holy life but they still try to live that life. Catholic Ireland may be battered but she is not on her knees yet. There’s a hidden life in the old girl yet.

    Charlotte Allen, I am 100% Irish and I have no inferiority complex whatsoever! Having taught Irish teenagers for twelve years I can also say that they had no sense of inferiority about their Irishness either. On the contrary the Irish continue to believe that we live in the best little country in the world and will one day win the world cup preferably by beating England. If the Irish dislike the Brits (actually the English) it’s because we have to live beside them. All to often the English have a reputation for bad behaviour and rudeness around Europe that we Irish do not. I cannot answer for what the Irish may have done in the US but I think when the full story is finally told there was a lot more good than bad. The Irish in the US, the UK or in any other part of the Hibernian Diaspora, are not the Irish at home especially those born or raised away from Ireland. Most Irish people really don’t consider you Irish unless you’re born here, preferably of Irish parents.

    There is a problem with homosexuals hiding out in the Church and the priesthood and it’s not confined to Ireland (cocaine fuelled homo-orgies in the Vatican remember?). The problem is that the only options offered by society to those with Same-Sex Attraction are either wallowing in gay culture or staying in the closet. So far the Church is only offering the single, chaste life (essentially society’s second option). Almost no one is offering treatment (it’s even illegal to suggest there is such an option in some places). If the Church were to offer healing and freedom from SSA then the priesthood might not look so inviting. That means backing those programs that aim to free people from SSA! I don’t see that happening soon, does anyone?

    I don’t think the homosexuals who enter the seminary or a religious order do so out of malice. They may be running away from their issues or trying to find a way to meet some of their emotional needs while doing some good. Some may even have genuine vocations. Yet until they get those issues sorted out the seminary or religious life, still less the priesthood itself is not the place for them to be.

  13. Charlotte Allen says:

    Hi Br. Tom Forde!

    I’m sorry to seem so cynical about the people whose blood I share. My half-Irish father and his six brothers and sisters, all deceased, were actually loyal stalwarts of the church (except for one, and he was slowly veering back from atheism, albeit via the Episcopal Church). I’m just looking at the public face that Ireland seems to be presenting these days, which is irritatingly secularist and annoyingly anticlerical.

    I’m glad to know that religious orders are holding their own in Ireland. They’re holding their own here, too. I belong to a Dominican parish, and the Dominicans are enjoying a surge in vocations. There is hope for all of us.

  14. Maineman1 says:

    No worries: Isam is rapidly growing force in Ireland. By next century, Ireland will be a Muslim island, and no doubt Maynooth will make for a lovely mosque, or perhaps the Al-Azhar of Europe?

  15. Mike says:

    When this whizzed by my bleary eyes first thing this morning I read vacation wasteland—which would be a disappointment as I’m hoping next year to visit Limerick and the ICRSS apostolate there. Which, one prays, is a place where Irish vocations will resurge.

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  17. jaykay says:

    I’m really glad you reined back in on that mess of generalisations, Charlotte Allen, because someone who is: “one-fourth Irish” doesn’t actually have any special insight as to what goes on here in this country by virtue of that fact. I very much doubt we’re any more of “a mess” than the rest of Europe, in fact, not to mention your own country. Corm_corm and Br. Tom Forde give a balanced picture of what is actually going on here, as I can attest from just one example: my own experience of our local Dominicans who have recently gained vibrant young members in their community coming from among the large numbers ordained within only the last 10 years. I could also mention the huge numbers that turned out in July for the Pro-Life Rally in Dublin, 70,000 or about 1.5% of the total population. Not bad for “a mess”. The equivalent per-capita in your country would have been over 4 million.

  18. Charlotte Allen says:

    Hi jaykay:

    I’ve been to Ireland only once, but the Irish temperament I know pretty well from my Irish paternal grandmother (who was classic Irish!), the tons of Irish kids I went to parochial and convent high school with (and watched nearly all of them abandon their faith on reaching adulthood), and various other Irish types I’ve either known all my life or been able to observe via the media. The Kennedys are a perfect example. How many live Mass-going Catholics are there right now in that entire clan? Ethel may be the last one now that the Shrivers are gone. (I do know–and have known among the now-deceased–a few still-practicing Irish Catholics, but only a few. Naturally these are American Irish I’m talking about, but it’s not hard to extrapolate to the Irish Irish, especially when all I read about in the press are extremely anticlerical Irish leftists.

    I’m glad, though, to know that the Dominicans are flourishing in Ireland just as they are here–and that you got such a crowd in Dublin for a pro-life rally. Although Ireland does seem on the cusp of legalizing unlimited abortion, just as it has legalized same-sex marriage. Maybe it won’t, thanks to your prayers.

  19. jaykay says:

    Hello, Charlotte. Thank you for your good wishes. Actually, I honestly do think that the abortion issue will fail to pass, as opposed to the totally contrived “marriage” referendum which was essentially a massive exercise in virtue-signalling. I think many people of otherwise sound judgement let themselves be bamboozled, carried along, by the whole “equality” lie. I deeply regret that there are some of those in my immediate family – to whom I’m a lost cause, of course :( Yet these same have not been fooled by the lies about abortion – choice and all that – despite the fairly relentless barrage of propaganda coming from all the usual sources. Hence the very large numbers who annually turn out on the Pro-Life rallies, far, far more than the pro-aborts can ever muster. Even our “gay” and otherwise standard-issue liberal Prime Minister has been on record as being opposed to it, albeit this was before he became PM. He’s actually a qualified medical Doctor, so he at least knows the true facts. So I’m cautiously hopeful for the result.

  20. Kevin says:

    The abortion issue can be killed stone dead if the Bishops and Priests declare it a non negotiable for Eucharist receiving Catholics because of the gravity of the sin. They have never come close to giving this kind of clear direction, ever.
    There’s more chance of the Pope remaining silent on the papal plane.?

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