IRELAND’S priests will have almost “disappeared” in 20 years according to a new book written by a founder member of the Association of Catholic Priests.
In his new book, Who Will Break Bread for Us, Father Brendan Hoban predicts a speedy decline for the vocation in Ireland.
“We don’t need to have 20-20 vision to see this particular train coming down the track,” he says. “All we need to do is to be able to count. Ireland’s priests will have virtually disappeared in 20 years.”
The author claims the Catholic Church is in denial about the fall-off and cites the example of his native diocese of Killala, Co Mayo where for 22 parishes there are now just seven priests under the age 55.
The book is dedicated to six priests who he says have been silenced or threatened with silence by the Vatican, including Fr Brian D’Arcy, Fr Seán Fagan, Fr Tony Flannery, Fr Gerard Moloney, Fr Iggy O’Donovan and Fr Owen O’Sullivan.
He argues that in seven years Tuam archdiocese will have 50 priests for 55 parishes and 10 years on from that, in 2030, there will be just 30 elderly priests in the Galway region.
In 1990 there were 525 students studying for the diocesan priesthood in Ireland. This year there are just 70.