Baptisms and Marriages may disappear due to shortages of Priests
As Ireland heads for full employment with skills shortages in all occupations and sectors it appears thaT the Irish Church is also running out of priests
The number of priests under 70 will halve this decade, this is due directly to to the significant drop in those attending mass over the past 30 years .
Indeed this shortage has resulted in a reorganisation of parishes with collaboration among parishes who are now working together to deliver services such as Mass, baptism , Weddings and Funerals .
Some of the figures relating to the loss of Priests are quite startling with the Diocese of Clogher losing a third of its priests over the past 20 years with 37 parishes and 85 churches now served by just 58 priests .
Of the 58 active priests nearly half were over the age of 65 with 14 of these priests retired as parish priests with many more due to retire in the coming years .
A group representing 100 Catholic priests in Ireland today warned that the vocation crisis has become so critical that the basic sacraments such as baptisms and marriage are likely to disappear from some parishes .
The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland demand reform to prevent parishes from closing stating that they are facing a catastrophic situation in the next 10 to 20 years
Ireland and the Church in Ireland are looking at new solutions to deal with this issue and will need to look at lay priests urgently, along with recruiting back priests that had left the church to get married and have families along with ordaining women priests .
All of this depends of course on Rome and they are slow to embrace change .