The people have bought into the evils

In Ireland a group of priests – who have an official group, called Association of Catholic Priests, ACP, which makes it official and substantial and everything – got together with some other priests and mostly a bishop except for that one bishop who had to be somewhere. They got together and talked about things, and then issued a report on the things. This is that report on things.

They talked about how being a priest isn’t a red-hot popular career these days.

There is no doubt that priests are under great pressure, and that was generally acknowledged.  But we did meet with a fair degree of disagreement with our analysis of the situation. There seems to be a substantial number of bishops, and some priests, who believe that the problems we are facing are not due to any difficulties in the Church or with the priesthood, but are caused by a lack of faith in the people.  The people, they told us, have bought into the evils of materialism and consumerism, and don’t have time or interest in faith any more. They have, to all intents and purposes, become pagan.

Because those are the only two choices – being goddy, or being consumerist.

To their credit, the Association priests disagree.

It is a convenient belief, in that the blame lies elsewhere than among ourselves.  But, apart from stating their understanding of the problem, there didn’t seem to us to be any practical ideas, or indeed energy, around how this evangelisation could be progressed.  One bishop told us bluntly that he totally disagreed with our analysis, and another felt that dialogue with us would be very difficult while we held such unacceptable views about priesthood. We consider there are real problems here for the Irish Church. If there are such radically different understandings of the current situation, it is hard to see how we can make headway in working towards a solution.

Deep rifts.


  1. Stevarious, Public Health Problem says

    Because those are the only two choices –being goddy, or being consumerist.

    Not just ‘goddy’ – ‘*approved brand of xtianity* goddy’.

  2. Brian E says

    Sorry Marcus, when it’s God(tm) work, it’s not extortion or dodging. Didn’t you know that whatever God commands is good. Why, I think I’ve just hit upon the source of morality! I’ll call it divine command theory. God says ‘Slaughter the Canaanites, enslave their virgin girls for a good rogering’, it must be good! Now, I’ll be off to catch up with Plato and his buddy Euthyphro, what a splendid day I see before me, nary a dilemma in sight.

  3. says

    Well, which is it?
    A) the only two choices are being goddy or being consumerist, or
    B) the only two choices are being Christian or being pagan (i.e. there is no non-goddy option, there’s just a wrong-sort-of-goddy option)?

    Having it both ways is at the heart of every great religion.

  4. says

    Can’t help noticing that the people are telling the priests how “evil” they’ve become, regarding their lack of faith, when it should be the other way around with the perpetrators of clerical child sex abuse.

  5. sailor1031 says

    How can so many in the clergy and especially at upper levels of hierarchy STILL not see that they themselves are the problem? One hopes that the laity will continue to see what nonsense this all is and continue to drop out at an accelerating rate

  6. Stevarious, Public Health Problem says

    How can so many in the clergy and especially at upper levels of hierarchy STILL not see that they themselves are the problem?

    Because in a way, they are right. The church hasn’t change. The people have. The church is still engaged in the same hypcritical bullshit they’ve been doing for hundreds of years.

    What the church doesn’t understand is that the people have become MORE moral than they are, and less willing to tolerate hypocrisy.

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