Fears over 'critical' priest shortage
A NEW Catholic group formed to give lay people a bigger say in the running of the Irish church is seeking an urgent meeting with the hierarchy to discuss the critical shortage of priests here.
The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI), which has committed itself to reform and renewal of the church, was formally launched in Dublin on Saturday.
During the meeting, members discussed the role of the laity in shaping the future church here.
According to ACI spokesman Noel McCann, the objectives of the new group include working towards greater inclusion of the laity in decision making in the church, as well as fostering dialogue and transparency.
The group also wishes to address issues such as the effect on young people of the archaic language in the church's liturgy.
Mr McCann, from Howth, Co Dublin, said the ACI membership was "very concerned" over the dwindling number of priests in the country.
He told the Irish Independent that the group was to join forces with the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in an effort to bring the Irish bishops to the table to discuss the crisis.
"The ACI believes now is the time for the hierarchy to engage in dialogue with groups such as the ACI and ACP with a view to exploring the options available to address this critical issue, which is of great concern to all practising Catholics," said Mr McCann.