Sir, – Last Sunday, at the consecration of Michael Duignan as the new bishop of Clonfert, Msgr Cathal Geraghty proclaimed that parents should include five minutes of prayer each day with their children for vocations to the clerical model of patriarchal priesthood ( "Parents told to pray their children will be priests", News, October 14th).
He spoke of “the clamour that seeks to drown God out”, instead of heeding the silence of priests and confronting the massive updating and reform urgently needed in the Catholic Church. He seemed unaware of polls over the past 30 years which reveal that Irish Catholics want married priests and women priests and a thorough upgrading of the priesthood of all baptised persons. The vast majority of Irish Catholic parents are only too well aware of dysfunctional clericalism, abuse and cover-up instructions. Responsible parents know that there are serious problems within the clerical and imperial model of priesthood. Such parents have no intention today of encouraging their sons to submit to the abuse and injustice of enforced celibacy which arose from a negative view of sexuality and deep-rooted misogyny.
Most parents do not wish to insult God’s providence or to collude in the charade of praying for vocations to a restricted and medieval model of priesthood. Lay people sense that there is an abundance of women and men – both married and single – in every parish with the vocation and talent to serve the Christian community as leaders, animators and priests. While it may be very pious to pray for vocations, it is indeed tragic that the hierarchy refuses to listen to the consensus of mature priests and lay people for updating and serious reform of ministry. – Yours, etc,