The official Vatican visitation team to the Irish Catholic Church will warn Pope Benedict that the local church is â€œon the edgeâ€ of collapse and that there is only a window of five to ten years to make a radical recovery by giving laymen and women a greater say.
This warning will be submitted in the coming months in a confidential report to Pope Benedictby an international investigator examining the state of the Irish church in the wake of the Murphy and Ryan reports into clerical child abuse.
Cardinal Sean Oâ€™Malley, the archbishop of Boston, gave this commitment at a private meeting with members of the recently formed Catholic Priestsâ€™ Association, Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery revealed at the weekend, the Irish Independent reports.
Addressing the annual meeting of The People of God, a lay reform group, Fr Flannery, who met Cardinal Oâ€™Malley, revealed that the US prelate engaged in â€œserious discussionâ€ with the association.
Fr Flannery said Cardinal Oâ€™Malley told the association that the Irish church had a decade, at most, to avoid falling over the edge and â€œbecoming like other European countriesâ€ where religion is marginal to society.
Previously sceptical about the Apostolic Visitation to Ireland ordered by Pope Benedict, Fr Flannery said that in the light of Cardinal Oâ€™Malleyâ€™s undertaking, â€œthere may be some gleam of hopeâ€.
Pope to be told church here â€˜on edge of collapseâ€™ (Independent.ie)