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Vatican planning major restructuring of Irish hierarchy?

Catholic World News - August 11, 2011

Commentator David Quinn reports widespread rumors that the Vatican plans a radical restructuring of the Irish Catholic hierarchy in response to the sex-abuse scandal there.

The reforms suggested by the Vatican could include a reduction in the number of Irish dioceses and the replacement of many bishops, Quinn says. The need for some sort of profound reform is evident, he argues:

If it continues on its present course, the Church in Ireland will soon be like the Church in Holland or Quebec, a faint shadow of what was once was (in the best sense) or could be.

A dramatic reorganization of the hierarchy, along the lines that Quinn sketches, would be completely at odds with the usual Vatican approach. Although several prominent observers (including Irish theologian Father Vincent Twomey and the American author George Weigel) have called for the wholesale replacement of the Irish bishops, such an approach seems unlikely.

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