February 29, 2008

Not Enough Catholic Clergy In Ireland

by Rohan Parker

For many years Ireland has been a stable exporter of Catholic clergy to the world, however now there are such few new clergy members that in the next 20 years their numbers will have dropped by two thirds, meaning the country will no longer have an excess of those who’ve taken the holy vows, but will have a shortage in their own countryl.

This isn’t a revelation, as this decline in numbers in Ireland has been foreseen due to economic success for the Celtic Tiger which has brought on further secularistion in the country, which has long been the Pope’s favourite mainstay for Catholic clergy within Europe. However these new figures paint a startling picture of what the Irish priesthood could be facing if this trend is not countered.

Nine priests were ordained last year in Ireland, but 160 passed away. The figures look worse for nuns with just two taking their final vows and 228 passing away during 2007.

If this trend continues, predictions from The Irish Catholic newspaper stated that the number of priests in Ireland could decline from the current 4,752 to as little as 1,500 by 2028.

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