Irish Church Collapse?

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, O.F.M.Cap., of Boston reportedly will tell Pope Benedict XVI that the Catholic Church in Ireland is “on the edge” of collapse because of the fallout from clerical abuse scandals. Cardinal O’Malley is one of several senior prelates charged by Pope Benedict with carrying out an apostolic visitation of the Catholic Church in Ireland following a series of highly critical judicial reports that revealed abuse by priests and a widespread culture of cover-up for decades among church leaders. The Rev. Tony Flannery, a leading member of the Association of Catholic Priests, revealed at a conference of laypeople on Feb. 12 in Dublin that “Cardinal O’Malley told the association the Irish Church had a decade, at most, to avoid falling over the edge and becoming like other European countries where religion is marginal to society.” Admitting to being previously skeptical about the apostolic visitation, Father Flannery said that in light of Cardinal O’Malley’s undertaking, “there may be some gleam of hope.”

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