In most organisations, those that make up its leadership receives more focus than their numbers would suggest. In the Catholic Church, just 0.03% of its membership is made up of bishops, priests and deacons, the overwhelming majority being lay Catholics (1.2 billion in total)
Sacramental priesthood can only come from the sacrament of baptism – without baptism there can be no priesthood. Today, the numbers in training for priesthood in the western church continues on a sharp decline, something which has been happening for the last fifty years. Consequently, the celebration of those sacraments reserved to the priest, has become less frequent than before. Many hard decisions will be necessary as we move forward, not least of which is the very survival of the Church itself.
In Ireland, the Church is looking at how it can continue to address the spiritual needs of its members. Dioceses are seeking to address the decline in priestly numbers so that less ordained clergy can continue to meet the demands of people in a way that is sustainable for all. Here in Clogher, we are seeking to explore how the diocese can best serve its parishes, currently and into the future. This process continues on Tuesday 6th June 2023 with a gathering of the priests of the diocese as we strive to put in place a plan to meet the needs of today’s church with less priests. Please keep Bishop Larry and all involved in your prayers.