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We're running out of priests...

The number of priests entering the seminary in Ireland this year is less than a quarter of those in England and Wales.

Image: priest via shutterstock

THE NUMBER OF those taking up a priestly vocation in Ireland has fallen below those of our neighbours in England and Wales.

In a new survey carried out by The Irish Catholiconly 14 men entered the seminary in Ireland in the last year. This is compared to the 57 who began studying for the priesthood in England and Wales.

While the lowest ever figure for entry into seminary in Ireland came in 2012, the figures this year put Ireland at less than a quarter of those entering the Church in England and Wales.

This is despite Ireland having a greater number of Catholics than our British neighbours.

There are currently 4.65 million Catholics living here compared to only 4 million living in across the water.

It is thought that the dearth of those hearing the call could lead to Irish parishes being left without a priest.

Association of Catholic Priests 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie about the findings Sean McDonagh, a member of the Leadership Team with the Association of Catholic Priests, described the priest shortage as a big issue, and said:

We have been talking about this since our inception since 2009 – we have come up with proposals that we have presented to the hierarchy as temporary solutions. Anyone who has been in the ministry and has got married and wants to return should be allowed to do so.

The second thing we think is that the ordination of married men should be introduced.

On the role of women in the Church McDonagh went on:

We do not see the future of ministry only in the male world. Women have to be brought into the structure of the Church. Into the very heart of the population… historically women were on the outside of culture generally – women did not have leadership roles. That has all changed into the twenty first century.

Read: Pope Francis accepts Cardinal Seán Brady’s resignation

Also: McAleese advert rejected over the former President’s views on female ordination

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