Crisis of Personnel and Finance: Dublin Task Force Report

Nov 27, 2021 | 0 comments

Click on the image above to download the report.

With nearly half of the 312 priests in Dublin’s Catholic Archdiocese now 70 or older, and just two students preparing for priesthood, Dublin archdiocese faces a personnel crisis in the short term – with so many priests set to retire by 2026.

This stark challenge is posed frankly in ‘Building Hope‘ – the report of a ‘Task Group’ set up by Archbishop Dermot Farrell in the spring of 2021

Moreover, according to the report, “The severe impact of Covid restrictions on attendance at Mass and on the associated collections impacted on the finances of every parish and damaged the financial sustainability of the archdiocese”.

It follows that “many hard decisions cannot be avoided” and that “the archdiocese in Dublin is at a time of great change”.

Despite this stern warning of the need for change – and for ‘co-responsibility’ of lay people and clergy – ‘Building Hope‘ lacks transparency on the initial consultation process that the Task Force began in April 2021.  On its first page the report acknowledges that “some issues raised in the consultation are beyond the scope of this Task Force” and therefore of the strategy outlined for meeting the challenges outlined – but these issues are nowhere listed in the report.

It is left for readers to guess what they might be – by reading the report to see if their own concerns are reflected there.

Not mentioned are the known canonical obstacles to ‘co-responsibility’ that have discouraged generations of Irish Catholic lay people from the volunteerism the report calls for.  As ever the principle of clerical control is left to vie with, and defeat, the purported aim of co-responsibility.

Also lacking close attention in the report is the widely experienced ineffectiveness of the Irish church’s school-reliant faith formation system in ‘handing on the faith’ – posing a critical problem of faith continuity that coincides with the church’s personnel and financial crisis.

Advancement of the role of women in the church gets a mention, but without detail on how this is to happen.

To read the complete report, click here.



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ACI’s Campaign for Lumen Gentium 37

The Promise of Synodality

What we have experienced of synodality so far gives ACI real hope that a longstanding structural injustice in the church may at last be acknowledged and overcome.

As all Irish bishops well know, the 'co-responsibility' they urge lay people to share - as numbers and energies of clergy decline - has been sabotaged time and again by canonical rules that deny representational authority and continuity to parish pastoral councils.  ACI's 2019 call for the immediate honouring of Lumen Gentium Article 37 becomes more urgent by the day and is supported by the following documents - also presented to the ICBC in October 2019.

The Common Priesthood of the People of God and the Renewal of the Church
It was Catholic parents and victims of clerical abuse who taught Catholic Bishops to prioritise the safeguarding of children in the church

Jesus as Model for the Common Priesthood of the People of God
It was for challenging religious hypocrisy and injustice that Jesus was accused and crucified. He is therefore a model for the common priesthood of the laity and for the challenging of injustice - in society and within the church.

A Suggested Strategy for the Recovery of the Irish and Western Catholic Church
Recovery of the church depends upon acknowledgment of the indispensable role of the common priesthood of the lay people of God and the explicit abandonment by bishops and clergy of paternalism and clericalism - the expectation of deference from lay people rather than honesty and integrity.

For the full story of ACI's campaign for the honouring of Article 37 of Lumen Gentium, click here.


"Come Holy Spirit, Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Saviour, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen."

Saint Pope John XXIII, 1962 - In preparation for Vatican Council II, 1962-65.

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