A priest has written an open letter to the Pope warning him that the “Church in Ireland is dying”.
Father Joe McDonald of Ballyfermot, Dublin gave a brutal but honest assessment of the position of the Church in 21st century Ireland.
With regards to the Church’s stance on the recent same-sex marriage referendum, he wrote: “We have made such a mess here that it is difficult to know where to begin.”
The shocking letter highlights the problems the Catholic Church faces in Ireland in order to re-connect with younger generations.
Many have accused it of being intolerant and outdated in its stance towards the same-sex marriage referendum. Father McDonald was open about his opinions on the matter: “We made world news recently when we glowed pink. A large majority of our brothers and sisters voted in favour of same-sex marriage. In so far as it was a victory over discrimination and an end to the appalling treatment of homosexual people, sometimes by the Church, it was a happy day indeed.”
Father McDonald continued: “Holy Father, the Church in Ireland is dying. Yes, we could say it is tired, or it has lost the young, or we must find a new language, and all that is true, but the reality is that the Irish Church is gasping, heaving, in a crippling smog of secularism.”
The letter goes on to question the policies of some of the senior figures within the Church. He even suggests that bishops should be restricted to six-year terms, and that the Pope may want to consider handing out some p45s in the near future.
The letter has attracted much media speculation and comments online. The position of the Catholic Church in Ireland has been on the decline for several years. As yet, it has not found a way to regain the importance in society that it traditionally held.
Father McDonald signed off the letter by writing: “Holy Father, I see you miss going for pizza and, as it happens I love pizza. I was wondering would it be possible that we could share a pizza, somewhere convenient to yourself, and I could elaborate a little on just how serious things are.”
Perhaps Father McDonald’s letter is just the push the Pope needs to plan a restructuring of the Church in Ireland to enable it to appeal to a younger generation.