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With no seminarians, Irish bishop sees acute shortage of priests looming

March 30, 2017

An Irish bishop has advised the faithful of his diocese to anticipate changes, brought on by a critical shortage of young priests.

The Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, in southwestern Ireland, has no seminarians. Most of the 53 priests in the diocese are over 60, and by the year 2030, only 25 will be under the age of 75. In a pastoral letter released this week, Bishop Francis Duffy warned that “a declining number of clergy is set to continue.”

The shortage of priests “will impact every parish in the diocsee and will bring about considerable change in how parishes are organized and also in the way the Good News of Jesus Christ is passed on to succeeding generations,” the bishop said. He thanked the Catholics who have served in various capacities in the 41 parishes of the diocese, and said that there would obviously be a need for more lay involvement in the future. Bishop Duffy welcomed suggestions on how the diocese could respond to the challenge.


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  • Posted by: nix898049 - Mar. 31, 2017 8:54 PM ET USA

    For some time I've been thinking that God is calling fewer men to the priesthood in the USA. There are fewer to call, in the first place. Now I think He's calling, they're just not responding.

  • Posted by: td4207 - Mar. 31, 2017 6:19 PM ET USA

    The Irish bishops have reacted to the scandals of priest and religious abuse without expressing sincere sorrow and asking forgiveness. They have turned off the people in general and millennials in particular.