Tuesday, 29 August 2017

FROM: THE IRISH CATHOLIC.

Maynooth: ready for a vocations reboot?
Seminary numbers are stubbornly low, but signs are that the Church is trying to breathe new life into the national seminary, writes Greg Daly
St Patrick's College, Maynooth.
This Sunday ( August 27th 2017) sees the seminary at Maynooth open up for another academic year. When the men who have been chosen to discern a vocation in the seminary take up residence on the historic campus this weekend it will be after a turbulent period.
“I wasn’t happy with Maynooth,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said last summer, explaining his decision to send three Dublin seminarians to the Pontifical Irish College in Rome rather than to the national seminary.
“There seems to an atmosphere of strange goings-on there, it seems like a quarrelsome place with anonymous letters being sent around.

“I don’t think this is a good place for students,” the archbishop said.
All the more curious then, perhaps, that Dublin’s archbishop is to speak in Maynooth this November, drawing to a close an international conference titled ‘Models of Priestly Formation: Assessing the past, reflecting on the present, and imagining the future’.
Some might see this as indicative of a thaw in relations between the Primate of Ireland and the national seminary of which he is, after all, a trustee, and while this would surely be a good thing, the conference itself may prove an important pointer to how change is afoot in Maynooth and across the national vocations scene.
Commission
The speakers at the conference are certainly impressive: Armagh’s Archbishop Eamon Martin will open the conference, with Archbishop Jorge C. Patrón Wong, Secretary for Seminaries at the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy giving the opening lecture on ‘The Gift of the Priestly Formation’. 
Fr Hans Zollner SJ from the Pope’s child protection commission, Sr Katherina Schuth OSF of Minnesota’s St Paul Seminary, Fr Christopher Jamison OSB of the National Office for Vocations in England and Wales and Fr John Kartje’s of Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary are just some of the other prominent names who will speak in Maynooth this November.
Not a moment too soon, one might think. St Patrick’s College may have hit the mainstream headlines during last summer’s ‘silly season’, and staunch defenders of the status quo were quick to reject criticisms, but questions have been asked for some time about whether or not it was fit for purpose. 
Were allegations that some seminarians had been using gay dating apps a sign of a wider malaise? Maynooth’s critics certainly believed so.
Questions about Maynooth are hardly new. Indeed, in 2011 Ireland’s seminaries were examined as part of the Vatican’s visitation of the Church in Ireland, with the visitors generally praising the seminarians for their human and spiritual qualities, and their commitment to the Church and its mission, with serious attention being given to studies and formation.
In acknowledging the report, the Irish bishops highlighted these facts, while saying nothing about areas the Vatican highlighted for improvement.
The Vatican had, after all, also recommended that episcopal oversight over the seminaries be strengthened, that more consistent admission criteria be introduced, that greater concern be shown to the orthodox intellectual formation of seminarians, that the formation of seminarians for priesthood be more systematic and balanced, that pastoral programmes be reviewed, and that seminary buildings be reserved for seminarians and those preparing them for priesthood. 
With the exception of the erection of new doors (dubbed ‘Dolan’s doors’ by seminarians after New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan who supervised the review) there is no evidence that any of this was carried out, and last summer’s problems appear to have brought this to a head, as was indicated not merely by the Archbishop of Dublin’s aforementioned comments but by an August 2016 statement from the college trustees.
The trustees – Ireland’s four archbishops and 13 of their brother bishops – stressed then that the Church has clear instructions on the formation of seminarians with there being no place in seminary communities for any behaviours or attitudes that might run contrary to the teaching and example of Christ. 
They also said they had concerns about “the unhealthy atmosphere created by anonymous accusations” along with speculative and malicious social media comments. 
To address this, they undertook to review the seminary’s policies and procedures for reporting complaints with the aim of adopting best practice ‘protected disclosures’, usually known as ‘whistle-blowing’. 
They also said they would ask the seminary authorities to evaluate and review its policies on internet and social media use, and assess the seminary’s future personnel and resource needs.
Beyond the above three things, the trustees also said they would request six things of the bishops’ conference as a whole, starting with the commissioning of an independent audit into the governance and statutes of Irish seminaries, pushing ahead with a standardised national policy on seminary admission, beginning arrangements for all would-be seminarians to have a pre-seminary ‘propaedutic’ year, conducting the triennial review of the national seminary and the Irish College this spring, and setting up a subcommittee to examine the pastoral needs of priestly training in the Ireland of today.
Subsequent months saw the formal opening of a new seminary in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Dundalk’s Redemptoris Mater seminary, which opened with 16 students from Ireland and several other countries, studying in Maynooth but being formed in Dundalk to be priests of the Neocatechumenal Way, and also the establishment this summer of a national vocations office.
Discussion
Although clearly part of the overall vocations discussion, and a hopeful sign of ‘joined-up thinking’, these developments did not directly address the issues raised by the college trustees, and until this June little was publicly said about how these requests and plans have developed, with references to them being conspicuously absent from the reports of the bishops’ conference’s general meetings.
One might suspect that the subject was raised during the bishops’ Ad Limina visit to Rome in January, but while this seems likely, it was only in June that it became clear that the trustees’ plans were moving ahead in any respect.

June saw the announcement that Fr Michael Mullaney, vice-president of St Patrick’s College since 2007 and acting president since August 2016, was to become president of the college as a whole for a three-year term, but – and this was a startling and unprecedented development – the trustees said they plan, in time, to look elsewhere to appoint a priest with direct responsibility for the seminary.
Pointing out that St Patrick’s College is home not merely to the national seminary, but to the Pontifical University that offers courses to almost 1,000 students, Archbishop Eamon Martin explained that: “In appointing Fr Mullaney as President for a period of three years, the trustees of the college, in consultation with the relevant congregations of the Holy See, have agreed to revise the governance structures of the college, with particular reference to the seminary and the pontifical university as two interrelated but distinct entities.”
He continued: “Plans for the further development of a vibrant pontifical university, alongside the implementation of the vision for priestly formation set out in the new universal norms The Gift of the Priestly Vocation published by the Congregation for the Clergy last December, have led us to reflect on the complementary but distinct roles and responsibilities of a seminary rector and the president of a pontifical university. 
“We have therefore decided to prepare for the appointment in due course of a pro-rector with dedicated responsibility for seminary formation at Maynooth.”
The new pro-rector has yet to be announced, and indeed it seems that the college is currently in need of several other key staff: conspicuous absences from the annual Kalendarium are professors of homiletics and moral theology, and the post of vice-president is also vacant following Fr Mullaney’s promotion. 
It would appear that many questions about how Maynooth is to be organised, staffed and run have yet to be answered.
Timely
In this light, November’s conference looks remarkably timely. Indeed, intended to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Pastores Dabo Vobis, St John Paul’s 1992 exhortation on the formation of priests in the present day, it’s a timely conference given vocational figures not merely in Ireland but across the whole global Church.
While it’s well known that the number of priests worldwide declined dramatically in the 1970s, what’s not often recognised is the extent to which a recovery began under St John Paul, continuing into the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI. Annual global seminarian figures stood at 63,882 when the Polish Pontiff was elected in 1978, reaching 114,439 by 2005, the year of his death, and continuing to rise to 120,616 in 2011.
Since then, however, it looks as though vocational numbers have been slipping year on year, to judge by the Annuarium Statistic Ecclesiae – the Vatican’s statistical yearbook of the Church – which shows numbers dropping four years in a row, with there only being 116,843 seminarians worldwide in 2015, the most recent year for which figures are available.
If these figures aren’t enough to bother Irish Catholics, one figure probably should do the trick: even with this decline, there are 90.1 seminarians for every million Catholics around the world.
Last year’s census suggests that about 3.71 million people in the Republic self-identify as Catholics, with there being over 730,000 self-identifying Catholics in Northern Ireland. With upwards of 4.44 million people in Ireland identifying as Catholic, one would have expected that just going by global averages, the country would have about 400 clergy in formation.
The real figure, of course, is not even a quarter of this. Last year the national seminary had just 39 resident students, down from 56 the previous year and 65 the year before that. Even when we allow for those seminarians in the Irish College in Rome, St Malachy’s College in Belfast, and the various student houses for the Dominicans, the Capuchins and others, it seems unlikely that there are more than 100 students in formation for the Church in Ireland.
***
To judge by raw numbers, Maynooth seems to be in terminal decline, such that a ‘reboot’ of some sort seems necessary there, and across the Irish vocational scene in general, especially given how it appears that vocational declines elsewhere in the English-speaking world look to have been stemmed.  
In England and Wales, for instance, a general decline in ordinations to the diocesan priesthood set in during the 1980s. 
This was disguised in part by an influx of formerly Anglican clergy in the 1990s, but by the turn of the century the decline was impossible to hide: numbers collapsed from 84 in 1999 to 33 the following year, dropping steadily to 2008, when only 15 men were ordained to the secular priesthood.
Since then, however, the story has been very different, with numbers gradually rising to 39 diocesan ordinations in 2013. Numbers fell back to 22 the following year, but since then have been broadly stable, with – leaving aside the formerly Anglican seminarians of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham – 24 and 18 new priests for the dioceses of England and Wales in 2015 and 2016, with 26 priests expected to be ordained this year, 27 next year, and 26 in 2019.
Seminary entry figures tell a similar story: while in 2001, just 22 men began formation for the diocesan priesthood in England and Wales, 40 or more did so during each year of Pope Benedict’s papacy with 53 doing so in 2013. Since then numbers have slipped – to 48, then 45, and more worryingly to 30 in 2016.
Formation
Similarly, while just 10 men across England and Wales entered formation for the priesthood in religious orders in 2003, since 2009 the average number of entrants each year has been over 22, with 29 men beginning formation last year. 
North of the British border there are signs that a similar story might be in the offing, with 12 men being ordained to the Scottish diocesan priesthood this year, a number not seen in Scotland since 1997. 
Over the past 20 years the average number of annual ordinations has been five, but it is understood that this figure is not level: it tended towards three or four per year for a long time and six or seven has been the norm in more recent years. 
“On top of that there seems to be a general rise in the number of men approaching our vocations directors to apply for seminary,” Bishop John Keenan, President of Priests for Scotland, told The Scottish Catholic Observer, thanking those in daily rosary groups who’d been praying for vocations and praising Scotland’s vocation directors for “putting together new structures with fresh ideas, through social media and monthly get-togethers and the like, to help identify and accompany those who feel God calling them. We can see this good work beginning to pay off.”
Making the Scottish and Anglo-Welsh figures particularly interesting is how they compare with those in Ireland: Scottish government figures suggest that up to 840,000 people in Scotland are Catholic, while according to Prof. Stephen Bullivant of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society in St Mary’s University, Twickenham, about 3.8 million people across England and Wales self-identify as Catholic.
With roughly 4.4 million self-identifying Catholics across the island of Ireland, one might expect there to be 30 diocesan ordinations in Ireland this year if Ireland were to have ordinations proportionate to the number in England and Wales, or 62 if our figures were more like those for Scotland.
Dream
Predictably, however, the Church in Ireland can right now merely dream of such figures. According to Maynooth’s Kalendarium, just eight priests were ordained for Irish dioceses between last December and this July, down from 10 last year and 15 in 2015. 
Given how few people have been entering the national seminary in recent years – typically about 16 a year for each of the last five years – there is no sign of these figures improving in the immediate future.
Scotland’s bumper figures for this year look tied to a ‘Benedict bounce’ from the 2010 papal visit, with most of this year’s ordinands having entered seminary around the time of the then Pope’s visit to Edinburgh, so an obvious question is whether Ireland could hope to capitalise on a ‘Francis effect’ should the Pontiff visit Ireland for the World Meeting of Families next year.
Catholic will hope and pray for such a boost, of course, but figures from the United States suggest that vocations come above all from the nurturing of a vocational culture.
In the US, where the annual number of priestly ordinations dropped from 771 in 1975 to 442 in 2000, diocesan vocations reached 595 in 2015, with 2016 seeing 548 men ordained and 590 men lined up for ordination this year.
***
Research for Georgetown University’s Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) found last year that most new priests first considered their vocation when they were about 17, with 70% being encouraged towards the priesthood by parish priests, 48% by friends, 46% by parishioners, and 42% by their mothers. 
This year’s research found that 82% of the 2017 new priests were encouraged by about four people to answer their vocation, with most first feeling a call to priestly life around 16 and with religious ordinands typically having known their order for about six years before joining. The average age for this year’s ordinands is 34, reflecting a drop in ordination age of about two months a year since 1999.
Almost half of this year’s ordinands attended a Catholic school for at least part of their schooling, with 59% participating in parish religious education programmes lasting an average of seven years, and 47% having participated in ‘come and see’ weekends at their seminary or religious institute.
Encouragement
Simple encouragement, then, not least from priests themselves, clearly plays a big role in helping people try to answer God’s call. Priests and other Catholics should perhaps ask themselves whether they are doing this – or whether they are doing the opposite.
The US figures suggest that 30% of ordinands are born outside the US, 8% are converts and 35% have a relative who is a priest or a religious; while Ireland has few converts to draw from, given how many Irish people now are from Polish or other families, it looks as though serious questions need to be asked about the extent to which our immigrant families are integrated into the mainstream Church here and whether future seminarians might come from the ‘new Irish’.
Strikingly, 70% of US ordinands had served as altar servers, with 53% being readers at Mass, and 17% having attended World Youth Day; 73% report regularly praying the rosary before entering seminary and the same number participating in Eucharistic adoration ahead of entry. 
The Irish Catholic reported last week on how a third of this year’s new Irish priests – secular and religious – had had Legion of Mary connections, and links with Youth 2000 have often been noted, so it looks as though thought needs to be given to the extent to which new movements, traditional devotions, and the application of Church teaching in the streets draw people towards priestly devotions. 
Such data will be vital in building our own culture of vocation in Ireland, and if our new National Office for Vocations can gather similar data here, it should be possible to help Ireland’s youth once again hear God’s call to the priesthood. If November’s conference in Maynooth pays off, our national seminary may yet look like a credible place to try to discern that call.

PAT SAYS:
PAT AFTER MASS YESTERDAY

The talk is that SEVEN candidates entered Maynoth on Sunday.
Is this true?
If it is true it must be the lowest ever.

If I was thinking of the priesthood I would be worried about entering Maynooth with it GAY reputation.
If I was the parent or family member of a young man going there I would be worried too.

So little seems to have changed in Maynooth. Even today their website still says that FATHER PAUL PRIOR is there!
EVEN WEBSITE NOT UPDATED
I think there is LITTLE WILL either by those in Maynooth - or by The Irish Bishops to really transform Maynooth into a healthy plave.
I don't know how much pressure the Vatican will put on?
It probable needs CLOSED and CLOSED SOON.
It needs a quick death - and not a slow, lingering death.

65 comments:

  1. Nice photo of you Pat.
    Keep up your good work.

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  2. Every other year there's been a press release saying how many have entered the seminary. They must be too embarrassed this year. You should put up an aerial photo of the college, to show how vast it is and only a handful living there. It must cost an absolute fortune to keep open.

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    1. I imagine, since it's a national institution, the government of ROI pays for its upkeep.

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  3. In what way would closing down Maynooth lead to an increase in the number of newly-ordained priests (if you are quoting statistics showing that numbers need to increase)?

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  4. @Pat This Greg Daly person who wrote the article in the Irish Catholic is a Dominican or did he leave? He was all over their Vocations website. HAs he written about the Dominicans formation? Did he leave or was he ordained? If he left it must have been recently enough

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  5. I have to say that I don't entirely agree with your opinions. It's certainly a valid argument that moving the seminary from Maynooth might be a wise choice for a variety of reasons. However, I think the idea that parents should be worried about their sons going to Maynooth is both silly and insulting. Firstly, I don't know if most seminarians enter seminary straight from secondary school these days. Secondly, even if 50-90% of seminarians in Maynooth were gay, how exactly does that pose a threat to anyone? I'm aware that Maynooth has been associated with sexual scandals, but just because other seminarians might be gay it does not equate to them being a threat to anyone. I think putting forward the idea that parents should be worried perpetuates a stereotype of gay men as sexual deviants with no ability for self-control. In the present day and age, I don't think that kind of attitude should be tolerated or supported. Whatever the arguments about gay men in seminaries, promoting the notion that gay men should be thought of as sexual predators is wrong.

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    1. In one sense you have a point.

      Most gay men are not predators.

      But in the case of Maynooth we have:

      1. Promiscuous gay seminarians targeting other seminarians, including first years.

      2.Gay seminarians bullying straight seminarians - sometimes to the point of leaving.

      3. Seminarians preparing for a life of celibacy in bed together.

      4. A seminarians lying naked and face down in his room welcoming multiple callers making "deposits.

      5. Drunk seminarians trying other seminarians door along corridors.

      Etc

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    2. 10.25 Where is Church in all of this. It is more about immature sexuality enclosed in a very unhealthy greenhouse

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    3. Well Pat, what about the numerous men that are prowling phoenix park at all times during the day looking for a quick f..k? That seems quite predatory to me.

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  6. The number of seminarians has fallen drastically according to your figures here. Where do you think the seeds of new vocations are sown?
    What positive suggestions for solutions are there and how can we all help?
    Negative knee-jerk reactions are easy and instant but in what real practical ways are they meant to guide people forward into a real improvement? In a situation like this, only people who can offer genuine positive suggestions are worth listening to. They will have thought the problem through and will have come up with suggestions for re-building and not just trotting out the same old "tear it down" stuff with no clear outline of how they would then take positive steps forward and exactly what those steps should entail. Otherwise---no...for you have nothing new to add.

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    1. The real a swer is the ordination of suitable married men - even if you don't want to go down the ordination of women.en route.

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  7. There must only be around 30 or 40 seminarians altogether now! Have the numbers ever been that low since 1795?

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  8. 01.31 I believe you are right. I believe the church has lost sight of a realistic eclesiology. The basic question now is What is a priest for? Do they know themselves. Do the people so. The church is victim of a history of its own making

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    1. Sean, I can never understand your contributions. They're confusing and incomplete. Make no sense most of the time......

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    2. 11.44 I I could explain any better I would. Can you point out something concrete. I m afraid I don't understand your point on this occasion

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    3. It's horrible how these anonymous people attack you. I suspect that it's just one person more than more than that.

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  9. I wonder?... But if married men are the solution, then where are the protests, appeals and continual battering on the Vatican and Maynooth doors of young married Catholic men who are angrily demanding their right to admission? I don't see them. All we have is silence...

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    1. There are good men in every parish who would be happy to be invited to step forward.

      Some young. Some not so young.

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    2. Pat at 11.02. Why don't you invite these young men to the Oratory!! I think they would seriously disapprove of your vision!! No takers....

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  10. The whole format needs to be changed.
    Yes I wd be worried if any of my grandkids wanted to be a priest.

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  11. One young First year at Maynooth has related how he has left his prized Calvin Klein collection at home because of the fear of them being nicked. Going on past experiences he is wise to do so. Clearly he had good advice in advance which tells you something. He didn't leave his bottle of poppers at home though and a pair of beads which are not of the rosary variety. It doesn't take long for word to get around. He's obviously starting as he means to go on, he's been called a tease by some already.
    Seminarian.

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    1. Yes, it's easy to forget things when you're packing for one of potentially the most important trips of your lifetime. Glad our seminarian has at least remembered some things. Let's hope he also packed his teddy and some Lego,... and maybe a return ticket for the bus?

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  12. Young married men or mature married men might be encouraged to think about studying for the priesthood.
    They could take evening courses at central locations...say any college.
    Mature gay men could do the same.
    I believe that all young men should have a secular degree first.
    Studying in a cloistered building should be abhorred.
    Absolutely no need for seminaries
    Eventually all women could be accepted in the same way as men are.

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    1. Poster 11.06 says
      "Absolutely no need for seminaries"
      So that suggestion merits deep thought and sets up challenges for the poster himself and for us to examine with mature honesty--

      For example - What are the disadvantages of seminary life (even in a well-run institution)?
      What are the advantages and disadvantages for a trainee priest studying out in a non-seminary situation? - - for receiving support from his mentors and peers? - -for learning to cope with the demands of everyday domestic life and life as a priest would experience it? - - for deeply reflecting on his studies and vocation for an important period of time without distraction? -
      Why do you think seminaries were for many years so successfully able to turn out very devout and successful priests in such adequate numbers? (Remember this DID happen alongside those who fell foul of the system or later became abusers and it is important not to cloud the issue)
      In what way can seminary life prepare a man who sees his vocation to be leading him in the direction of a monastic life?
      Is it possible that the one - size-must-fit-all type of seminary formation is no longer feasible? - What other models would you suggest if men could be offered a choice?
      Would new models of formation really attack the root causes of shortage of vocation applications? In what ways do the ingrained attitudes of the home, of the schoolroom,of the public profile of the priesthood in society affect young people's perceptions of a possible vocation? Would the amount of day to day supervision re/moral development etc of external seminarians be possible? . What difficulties could arise?
      So you see what I mean about the need for thinking all the implications carefully through.
      There are no trite and knee - jerk easy answers to any of my questions.
      And if anyone wants to use them as the basis of his dissertation, feel free to do so. The more debate and examination the subject gets, the better. But this is an honest attempt to show what needs to happen...

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  13. Married former Anglican Clergy have been admitted to the Catholic Church in the UK in special circumstances. It has not helped any increase in clergy numbers. The Church of England despite allowing Married Clergy and Ordaining women still struggles with clergy numbers. Saying Marriage is the answer is simply missing the point completely.

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    1. Then try to imagine the situation were married clergy not allowed in the Church of England.

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  14. To @10.59
    .
    Of course!--so you discourage your grandchildren... that's what you are saying..
    And in what way does that improve the situation and increase the number of vocations exactly?
    A previous poster asked the most important question of the day... "Where do you think the seeds of vocations are sown?"
    That should give you food for thought.

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    1. What? Should he wish his grandchildren among predatory wolves?

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  15. Since 1977 Maynooth has had a lot of presidents: O'Fiach, Olden, Ledwith, O'Donnell, Farrell, Connolly, Mullaney. Its numbers have gone from 550 in 1979, 350 in 1987, 230 in 1992, 55 in 2000 and about 35 now. Draw your own conclusions.

    Also, until the mid-1990s the following Irish were still open: Holy Cross, Clonliffe, St Patrick's, Carlow, St Peter's, Wexford, St Patrick's, Thurles, St John's, Waterford, St Kieran's, Kilkenny, All Hallows, Dublin, and in Maynooth the houses of the Kiltegans, SMAs, and the Columbans. St Malachy's Belfast still had a good number and the Irish College was full.

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    1. Ah the blessèd fruits of Vatican II...What a wonderful springtime!

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    2. Arlene's on fire29 August 2017 at 14:36

      To think that Maynooth was for decade after decade the biggest seminary in the world.

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    3. Arlene's on fire29 August 2017 at 15:11

      The tradionalist Silverstream Priory in Co. Meath has a waiting list and run out of space. The FSSP could fill every single room in Maynooth (all 650 of them) if the bishops hadn't the property to them, but in dog in a manger fashion they won't and the same methods that have borne no fruit will carry on being tested to destruction.

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    4. Arlene's on fire29 August 2017 at 15:14

      Lol, if this is springtime what's winter like? Once the old women who comprise 80% of a post-Vatican II congregation go the way of all flesh it's all over.

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    5. Yep, Arlene - - and presumably our parish will have to discontinue our crèches and "Children ministry" from our 10.00 Mass... pity..

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    6. Arlene's on fire29 August 2017 at 16:17

      5% of the congregation, max. The thing is that many of the older parishioners are ethnic Catholics ie they grew up in that culture/cultus, which formed them but they despise it as old-fashioned and unwanted, they think. Yet the same see their children lapsing, the grandchildren unbaptised but yet still press on with the Vatican II solution, even though it didn't work, clearly.

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    7. Oh dear! I am afraid our Arlene rather missed the irony in the reply that poster 15.25 made to her. It was funny in a way though LOL

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  16. Where do u think the seeds of vocations are sown
    Now that was the question over the past 100 years...the made priest in the family....that should give you 11.14 the answer.
    No more 'made 'priests thank God.
    Yes I actively discourage my grandsons.
    Now when they mature and thinking of university degrees we can have conversations?
    I have sons and sons in law with not 'too young 'families who would make excellent priests part time....they are the ones who should be sought out by their peers.
    Just look how dedicated some young parents are to their football and community...Now there is where your food for thought should be directed.
    Got it ...good..and leave the children to be just that.

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    1. Did the original poster in any way suggest that the person should coerce his family? He certainly did not. What he did do though was discourage knee jerk reactions. I think he merits much deeper reflection on the nature of vocations and the importance of the spiritual life in the children's upbringing than such a trivial surface response as we might be suggesting here.. He didn't suggest what you are implying. He asked you an important open question "Where do YOU think the seeds of vocations are sown?"
      He still probably awaits your suggestions and solutions.

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  17. 11.13... marriage is just one of the many options
    One of many?

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  18. A very good friend of mine, he is gay, had a long standing relationship with a PP of the Dublin diocese. The PP passed away and left instruction in his will for his, ipso facto partner , money etc, etc. My friend contacted DM as he had to for some pertinent reasons. The first words out of DM's mouth was ( on the phone) : " did he (the PP) ever give u any money?" I was shocked to say the least and yet upon reflection it doesn't surprise me.

    Anyway, thought I'd let me know.
    Love the blog. It has opened my eyes. Thank you.

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    1. DM's reaction will not surprise many here either considering the fraud cases you often read about associated with priests, Catholic, or otherwise.

      Only last April a priest in England stole £50K to spend on oysters, wine and foreign travel for housekeeper he fell in love with. Another in Scotland nearly £100,000 from church funds to pay for an online ­gambling problem.

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  19. To poster 14.36 today..

    That was so interesting and you obviously have thought carefully...
    Thank you.

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    1. Thank you too.

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    2. Potentially seven new gays with the capacity to create lots of lovely new scandal stories.

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    3. 17.24. Pat must love your rather shallow, stupid comment. Another trollop blogging. Go back to school....

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  20. '... breathe new life into the national seminary'

    Waste of time, life has been sucked out it long ago.

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    1. So what do you suggest, poster 17.07 as a solution plan?

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  21. Pat, I'm not so sure if the contributions here are in any way an encouragement for any man to consider priesthood. Apart from repeatedly reporting on "deviant" and "inappropriately" behaving clergy, priesthoid in general on this blog is being ridiculed, maligned and undermined. Today you allowed Magna to use that hateful phrase yet again when he offered some "profound" remark (?)- "predatory wolves" in reference to priesthood. How could any man have confidence when you allow Magna & others use such hateful and dangerous language!

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    1. Because it's the truth?

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    2. 18.37 - you're very profound and an obvious illeterate!!! I'm being sarcastic, lest you miss it!! Inane fool.

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  22. @17.54

    I think all honest and fair-minded people will agree with you.

    Some of today's more thoughtful posters had some interesting ideas though and obviously didn't feel any need to descend to using inflammatory and derogatory language such as that which you mentioned. The gauntlet has been laid down to people to prove their sincerity by coming up with genuine suggestions and solutions. The mudslingers are a one-trick pony.

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  23. It is interesting when you see which Diocese in which countries are year in and year out getting plenty of vocations, and some are even in Western developed countries. Diocese such as Lincoln, Nebraska or Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia, Perth, WA Australia to name just a few and there was a really great North Western USA rural diocese I cannot remember the name of.

    All these diocese have a few common themes running through them and it might be worth Bishops who have no vocations or so few reflecting on them and seeking advice.
    1. Theological Orthodoxy
    2. A Clear Sense, Idea and Theology of the Priesthood throughout the diocese
    3. A good seminary, with good priests, that is masculine and cultivates a healthy sense of manhood and no gay culture (this doesn't mean no gay celibate men as all candidates are called to celibacy)
    4. Strong support for families, and formation for familes
    5. Regular and constant prayer for vocations
    6. Strong leadership from their bishops who actively promotes all vocations but especially priesthood
    7. Great love of the Eucharist including a lot of Adoration

    That being said I also think a key to this is the willingness of families to encourage and support their sons to be generous and answer the call. It comes down to a simple formula which I read somewhere a while back and can't remember where for the life of me. "No priests, means no Eucharist, and no Eucharist means no Church." That for me summed up Sacramental Theology, Theology of Ministry, and Ecclessiology all in one and could have saved me doing three University Papers.

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    1. Excellent comment!

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    2. I'd have stayed in Maynooth if there were a healthy, non-cynical, masculine culture.

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    3. I know a number of seminarians who left Maynooth because of the effeminate, bitchy, and homosexual culture (including among staff) that existed there. They would have made good priests, some might still, but their bishops wouldn't send them elsewhere or listen to their concerns.

      Bishops, listen to Kieran's comment above!

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  24. Thank you, Kieran.
    The seven common themes you mention go right to the heart of the matter. If even one of the seven supports was missing, I think the whole vocation edifice would be weakened.
    You are sincere in your efforts to pinpoint important criteria which are sadly lacking in Ireland and other vocational deserts. I thought you were spot on in fact.

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    1. Exactly so, Kieran and I mean that sincerely.

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  25. Has Fr Gary Donegan lost his habit or clerical shirt? He just seems to never wear it on tv as was the case again this evening. I didn't think the Passionists were that hard up. Poor old Brian Darcy finding it hard readjusting in Crossgar.

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  26. 20 .32
    Good that you are happy in your place of abode and your attire

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  27. What's the problem with the primary school in co Louth ?
    Armagh diocese

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  28. Kieran 19.41. You are so right. A very positive, reflective, intelligent & constructive contribution. It is heartening to reflect on what you posted. I'd be interested to hear Pat's response, since he has not posted anything meaningful by way of supporting priepriesthood. He seems more focused on the negatives, which is easy, but has not ever supported CATHOLIC PRIESTHOOD. His own remarks, mostly shallow and sarcastic demean and malign priesthood as a neaningful way of life. Certainly if I was considering priesthood in light of this nasty blog, I'd be very concerned. Pat has allowed and supported a hate campaign against priests in general and priesthood in particular. No amount of piotious, pseudo, supposed learning from him is favourable to genuine debate and reform. Thank you Kieran for your reflective piece today. Pat - take note.

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  29. Yes, it can be hard for someone to make new friends, adjust to new colleagues and leave behind a place where you were so warmly appreciated as Fr D'Arcy was in Enniskillen and in his home in The Graan. I am sure in time he will find that there are some wonderful people in Crossgar too! He is very much missed in Co. Fermanagh.

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    1. MournemanMichael30 August 2017 at 11:29

      There are indeed many fine Crossgar people, in both sides of the Norn Iron divide. It sits on an invisible but culturally recognisable line between unionist North Down and nationalist South Down. The Tober Mhuire community is well thought of and its priests regularly serve in local parishes. I've been to a few family weddings where they were especially asked for so expect he'll be well occupied.
      MMM

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  30. Not only in Co Fermanagh.people came from many counties.
    I loved my long Sunday drive there on many Sundays throughout the year.
    I loved his inspiring talks.
    I'm gonna miss those precious hours spent at graan

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