Irish church ‘on the edge’ of collapse

The official Vatican visitation team to the Irish Catholic Church will warn Pope Benedict that the local church is “on the edge” 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 O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, gave this commitment at a private meeting with members of the recently formed Catholic Priests’ 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 O’Malley, revealed that the US prelate engaged in “serious discussion” with the association.

Fr Flannery said Cardinal O’Malley told the association that the Irish church had a decade, at most, to avoid falling over the edge and “becoming like other European countries” 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 O’Malley’s undertaking, “there may be some gleam of hope”.


Pope to be told church here ‘on edge of collapse’ (

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