Saturday 23 September 2017

Archbishop Martin's mission to jump-start Church being stalled by myopic clericalism

Pope Francis speaks to a woman during confession at the Porziuncola (Portiuncula) at Santa Maria degli Angeli Basilica, near Assisi in Italy. Photo: Getty
Pope Francis speaks to a woman during confession at the Porziuncola (Portiuncula) at Santa Maria degli Angeli Basilica, near Assisi in Italy. Photo: Getty
Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

No room at the inn for priesthood candidates if you're a woman, or a man who can't take a vow of celibacy - and move along please if you're a practising gay. What a chilly Christian family the Catholic Church has let itself become. No wonder there are only 55 trainee priests at Maynooth.

The Catholic Church has been stalled at a crossroads for some considerable time, with dwindling vocations and shrinking congregations. Those who seek to jump-start the institution - such as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin - face obstacles from a doggedly conservative bloc.

This week, we see him isolated among the Irish hierarchy in his stance on Maynooth, with nobody in the Church's management class willing to support him. The Irish Church is inherently traditionalist, and Archbishop Martin (who trained in Rome and spent most of his career there as a diplomat) is not part of that clerical club.

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