I hear my local priest say in his homily that there’s a shortage of priests in Ireland, is there really a shortage of priests?
Well, there certainly is a shortage of young priests in Ireland. In some dioceses there are parishes with no priests at all and in most parishes there are no young priests.
There is an effort to address this problem by so-called ‘clustering’ of parishes (e.g. one priest serving several parishes), but this puts a lot of strain on priests.
Some dioceses have welcomed younger priests from other countries to help deal with the critical shortage. Others have enlisted lay people to help with tasks such as leading funeral prayers and services. These were traditionally part of the priest’s role, but lay people can do them too.
I think we can safely say that the situation is getting worse, that there are fewer young men coming forward for ordination, and that this will have a huge impact on the Church’s life (parish life in particular) into the future.
Most popular questions
- I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- Can I become a bishop or cardinal and not a priest?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- If I take a vow of celibacy, will I get very lonely?
- Can a gay man become a priest?
- I do not consider myself to be exceptionally holy, I try to pray every day and follow the commandments. I have always been very interested in the priesthood but I have never felt a burning passion for it. Could I still be called to the priesthood?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- What’s the difference between a diocesan priest and a priest in a religious order?
- Can I still join the priesthood if I have personal debts?