The Catholic Church in France “consistently ordains about 120 priests per annum or three priests per million Catholics. Why does the profoundly secular republic of France ordain vastly more priests than the ‘Catholic’ Republic of Ireland?”
This question is asked by Anthony O’Leary in the Irish Times Letters page on 28th Sept., 2020.
“There will be more bishops consecrated than priests ordained [in Ireland in 2020]”, he goes on.
As for the greater success of the French church, O’Leary explains that “One possibility is that all religious formation in France is fully voluntary and is generally carried out in the parishes. In Ireland, faith formation is almost exclusively carried out in compulsory classes in State-funded public schools, by lay teachers.”
He points out that this is now a serious problem for the Irish Church, with many teachers no longer practising a faith – possibly because they never had faith to start with – and that attitude is picked up by pupils.
ACI has called for the Irish Bishops Conference urgently to address this issue among others – to accelerate the development of parish structures to allow the participation of parents and grandparents in the task of instructing children. The bishops will meet next on October 6th and 7th, 2020.
To read Anthony O’Leary’s complete Irish Times letter, click here.