Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has again spoken of the fact that we are going to have fewer priests in Ireland. His homily on Saturday is partly reported in today’s Irish Times. For some reason it gets front page placement. But it’s hardly news! The fact that priest numbers are falling dramatically in Ireland and that the average age is increasing rapidly has been reported and commented on for years!
The implicit news is there there is still no effort at finding a solution. Yes, the media love it when an odd bishop or two propose that the church should talk about ordaining women priests. Curiously RTE’s story on Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe gave us a second-hand report of what he is alleged to have said but they didn’t broadcast the actual interview!
Furthermore, their story goes on to say
“He also urged discussion of mandatory priestly celibacy. Earlier, Bishop Walsh challenged a lesser Vatican rule that almost completely excludes Protestants from its Eucharist.”
Isn’t that extraordinary! RTE’s view is that the difference between the Catholic Church and the Protestant churchs’ understandings of the Eucharist is a “lesser” issue than than the Catholic Church’s discipline regarding celibacy for priests!