Church income crashed by over 80% in the archdiocese of Dublin in early 2021, according to Archbishop Dermot Farrell.
Finances have been “severely impacted” during the Covid 19 emergency, with two different Sunday collections down 80 per cent and 86 per cent, respectively, for the months of January to March 2021.
To attempt to make up this shortfall the archbishop has approved the running of an extra Summer Dues collection to support Dublin priests.
The archbishop writes (in a letter to parishioners) that the church in Dublin “needed to evolve as the resources available no longer allow me to appoint priests, deacons and other pastoral ministers to meet the pastoral needs of every faith community … We do know that a radical renewal is required…. a different sense of ‘ownership’ of the Church and its mission – from a ‘clergy-owned’ Church to a Church truly ‘owned’ by the People of God. This change, indeed, this transformation will take time.”
Five ‘Ages’ of the Catholic Church in Ireland
Archbishop Farrell proposes that the history of the Irish Church be seen as falling into five phases: “ the Gaelic and Monastic Church, the Anglo-Norman Church, the Reformation and Penal Church, the Post-Emancipation Church, and now the Church in Contemporary Ireland. In each of these historical phases there was a beginning, a flourishing and a decline.”
“What we are experiencing today is a crisis in a particular historical form of Church.”