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Report denied: No fear of 'national collapse' facing Irish Church

Catholic World News - February 17, 2011

Correcting published reports that a Vatican investigation will show the Irish Catholic Church near “national collapse,” an outspoken priest has said that the investigator, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, is actually hopeful on the prospects for Irish Catholicism.

Earlier this week, multiple published reports said that Cardinal O’Malley—who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to conduct an apostolic visitation of the Dublin archdiocese—had said that he would give the Pontiff a report of a Church close to disaster. The reports did not quote Cardinal O’Malley directly, but cited Father Tony Flannery of the Association of Catholic Priests, who had met with the visiting American prelate.

(A CWN headline story dated February 14 noted that these reports “should be read with some caution.”)

Now Father Flannery has told John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter that the earlier report “wasn’t quite fair to what O’Malley said.” Father Flannery said that while the cardinal recognized “very deep and real problems” in the Irish Church, he remained hopeful for the future. Citing other informed sources, Allen added that Cardinal O’Malley is “actually fairly bullish” about Catholicism in Ireland.

Cardinal O’Malley himself has not commented, noting that the apostolic visitation is being conducted under terms of confidentiality.

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