Irish Church Soon in ‘Free Fall’?

Face the crisis with us: join the discussion!

Before leaving his post as Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown warned in March 2017 of an approaching ‘cliff edge’ and ‘free fall’ for the Irish church. He was speaking of a looming collapse in the number of priests fit to serve – but (as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has recognised) this problem is intimately connected with the absence of young people from our churches.

So far there is little sign that most other Irish bishops are ready to acknowledge this crisis and face it head on.

We in the Association of Catholics in Ireland are already doing that, on this website. With the ‘World Meeting of Families’ set for August 2018 in Dublin, we hoped to encourage a national conversation on the need for families to take responsibility for transmitting the faith and revitalising our liturgies.  In April 2018 we held a ‘Future Families’ conference in Dublin to hear from Irish families who feel marginalised from their church and hope for change as a result of Pope Francis’s visit.  The detailed report  of this ‘Future Families’ conference – already sent to the organisers of the WMOF – can be read by clicking here.

Other key questions covered on the ACI website:

‘Faith Formation and Fear of Shame’
In this article, first published in the Maynooth monthly The Furrow in July 2017, Sean O’Conaill argues that it is probably fear of the likely results that prevents Irish bishops from researching (in a publicly accessible form) the effectiveness of Catholic schools in faith formation – given the current situation in which so many young people and young adults are alienated from the Church.  This article was published also by the Irish News, Belfast, 7th September 2017.

Faith formation: the role of home, parish and school
Faith formation? Take it out of school altogether.
In these articles Aidan Hart and Sean O’Conaill make the case for parents and parishes to take from schools the primary responsibility for passing the faith to younger generations – and Aidan explains in detail how this can be accomplished.

Mass, Eucharist and Communion: Teresa Mee
Teresa explains what’s missing from our way of ‘celebrating’ the Eucharist, and how that could be changed.

How to do ‘Mission’ in Ireland now.
Aidan Hart insists that Catechesis (detailed teaching of the truths of the faith) needs to be preceded by experience of God’s unconditional love – as the biblical story of salvation illustrates 


These interlocking problems of faith formation and faith celebration can only be addressed by a new conversation between hierarchy, priests and people – with families taking the lead. Formed to promote that conversation, ACI asks its members to join the discussion.  The worse our crisis gets, the stronger the case for dialogue.

What do you want to say on these issues? Please do not put this off.
Either email us to , or add a comment below one or more of these articles here on the website.

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