The Fall In Vocations
Sir, - The figures published about the vocations crisis in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland make dismal and alarming reading. Many, including myself, do not share the optimism of some of the clerical spin-doctors. The reaction of parishioners, like that of many of those in the parish of Flagmount and Killarney in Co Clare, will become more common as parishes are left priestless. The sensus fidelum - the insight of the faithful - in this country expresses itself in the polls as 85 per cent in favour of married priests, and 69 per cent in favour of the ordination of women. The sensus fidelium is a factor which must be taken into account in reaching for the truth.
The Holy Spirit also speaks through the faithful. Is it not past time that the Conference of Irish Bishops made a strong case in Rome for married male priests and women priests? The faithful in priestless, and inadequately serviced parishes will begin to blame the bishops and hold them responsible for the lack of priestly personnel. Even though Rome may reject their petition, at least they would have put it on record. By voting with their feet, many priests and laity are expressing a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the institutional church. - Yours, etc., Rev Michael Keane,