The Church of the Future – a Lay Church

In Ireland there is a huge decrease in those seeking priestly ordination. All seminaries in the Republic of Ireland,except one, have been closed and this one has been condemned by Cardinal Dolan as has been the Irish College in Rome. The Archbishop of Dublin has forbidden his students to attend this national seminary.

So in the future there will be few Irish priests, even at present priest are dying off. So, perhaps, Mass will be replaced more and more by Services of Word and Eucharist, led by lay folk, male and female, since permanent deacons are not allowed in much of the country.

There will be greater lay involvement in the Church, as recommended by Vat II.

Will this tendency be followed elsewhere? D you agree with my prediction and do you welcome this trend?

I guess I’m living in a time warp, because vocations are up in my diocese. That makes me more optimistic about the future of the priesthood and the Church.


I’ve heard this prediction before. With respect, it’s nonsense! There will be no Church without priests! Our Lord told us we’d know them by their fruits. If places like Ireland have no priests, then the Bishops have to perform a collective examination of conscience and ask themselves what happened under their watch.

The Bishops spearheaded a revolution after Vatican II and this did immense damage. They abandoned the time-tested disciplines and spirituality for experimentation and novelty. This is why the pews and seminaries emptied. The Modernist heretics detonated a spiritual nuclear bomb after Vatican II and destroyed the Church under their care.

Contrast the Church in Europe with the Church in Africa. The African Bishops and Priests were not Modernists. They experienced no decline in vocations or conversions. Take a look at the last synod. The German Bishops wanted to alter the doctrine of the Church and their parishes are dying a rapid death. The African Bishops stood firm and defended the Faith and their parishes are flourishing!


You must have a good Bishop. That makes all the difference.


I see predictions of
A lay church
A church with women priests
No church
Proof that Christ is in some newly discovered tomb.
Etc, etc. Etc

There is strong evidence that Christ values Faith. There is our guarantee that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail” against the Church. Christ told us He will be with us til the end of time. Why are we so willing to disbelieve Him?


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In the Byzantine Catholic Church, there is the Typika service with holy communion which is served only exceptionally and only by a deacon, for those emergency situations when a priest is not available to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. We have used that service a few times in my parish (I am Byzantine Catholic).

I want to thank all who replied to my post.

You are blessed, Deo Gratias.

In my brother-in-law’s parish in North Carolina the congregations at Sunday masses are over one thousand, as happens in other US churches. But Ireland has changed.

Yesterday I was at a lecture given by a young Californian Benedictine nun, which was brilliant, and our University Church in Dublin is now under the stewardship of Notre Dame University (Indiana). US priest are working in Ireland and doing great work.

Perhaps we should try to learn from the US where we went wrong. But we are where we are and we have try to solve today’s problems. It is not enough to analyse where we went wrong. We need prayer, reflection and action.

Are you absolutely sure Vatican II called for what has happened in Ireland?

I’ll say this. Saint Josemaria Escriva is held by many to have been an inspiration for Vatican II. He spent his life showing the laity how to be apostles in their ordinary life. He wanted the laity to really live their Faith to the full. At the same time, he told the laity that their arena was the world and not the Church. The laity are not supposed to usurp the role of the Priest. They’re supposed to get out into the secular world and re-christianise it. Laymen are supposed to covert people and bring them to the Church.This is what Vatican II called for! Read Apostolicam Actuositatem. Vatican II did NOT envision an extreme priest shortage and the near extinction of the Church in the land of Saints and Scholars.

The only people who say “the Church of the Future is a Lay Church” are the very prelates who decimated their flocks and can’t admit they took several wrong steps. And many innocent laypeople are misled by them and believe the same claptrap.



In the future there will be priests in Ireland, perhaps many will be from the US and Africa, but there will not be many. Perhaps we will go back to the old Roman custom where communion was sent to outlying parishes for distribution from the center. Or alternatively there will be infrequent masses and in between masses hosts previously consecrated will be distributed.

It is my job to examine my own conscience, not those of bishops, but some feel that in the past Irish bishops may have been too remote, arrogant, unfriendly and distant.

Here’s the problem.

Mass is the Celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ; only an Ordained Priest can Celebrate Mass; no Priest in Ireland not Mass.

Maran atha!


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Hi, Stephie!

It’s the autonomy theology–everyone wants to dictate to God how He Reveals Himself and how He accepts Worship–remember Cain? He killed his brother because ‘God, will have to accept my offerings now!’

Maran atha!


I agree the Church will not disappear fully form the earth.

But it can disappear from large parts of it. In parts of the world where Paul preached, Turkey, Christianity has almost fully gone. And in the Holy Land itself Christianity is weakening.

You mention ‘There is strong evidence that Christ values Faith’. That opinion could form the basis of another thread. I note
But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8 NAB)

I have to be really honest. The Church in Ireland is still reeling from the sexual abuse crisis. The English tried and failed for centuries to destroy the Faith. Nobody could have guessed that the Irish hierarchy and priests would do in less than a century what the English couldn’t do for hundreds of years! In addition to the priest scandal, the Faith was weakened by the rampant consumerism and materialism brought in by the Celtic Tiger.

The Holy Spirit is not responsible for what happened in Holy Ireland - it is most certainly the work of the Devil.

I believe Ireland can be restored to former glory but it will take a lot of prayer and penance. And I believe it has to start with individual committed Catholics who convert their own families. The restoration will begin as a grass roots movement in which families begin praying together. These individuals shouldn’t see themselves as replacements for priests and they shouldn’t see the Church as the setting for their spiritual lives. For these laymen, the train is their monastic cell; the street is their church; and the work desk is their altar. They’ll be a spiritual injection into the bloodstream of society. They’ll take Christ into the market, into the workplace, into the pub, into the gym - they’ll take Christ wherever they go. And they’ll spread the Gospel! This is how Ireland will be restored.

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This was something that concern me because our priests are so stretched. So I joined the many people praying for an increase in vocations from worthy men. Years passed and then our prayers were answered by a sudden increase in seminarians this year (the highest for a long time.

So I live in hope and the promise that the Church will prevail, continue to pray and do the best I can to support our priest and the Church.


Saxum (#9)
What Vat II recommended and what some say it recommended differ. B XVI stresses that it fostered continuity, not rupture (a hermeneutic of continuity not rupture).


I fully concur!

I would only add–this is how the Church worldwide, must engage God and man.

Maran atha!


I was reflecting on several of the posts in this thread. An interesting thought emerged with respect to the Church in Ireland. Think of the Book of Job and both its message and how events played out. Now equate Ireland to Job. Except the events are still playing out.

Maybe I’m influenced a little by our former (very) Irish pastor.

Just something to think about.


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As I said, read the actual document on the laity - Apostolicam Actuositatem.

Furthermore, what St. Ignatius was to the Council of Trent, St. Josemaria Escriva is to Vatican II. It is widely acknowledged that the teaching of St. Josemaria was a major inspiration to the Council Fathers. And St. Josemaria definitely did not want the laity to take over from priests; he wanted well-trained priests and that’s why he founded the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

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This only indicates that missionary Priests from Africa and other continents will be pressed into service. Why must they be Irish? What’s wrong with a little diversity? Seminaries in Africa are overflowing, and growing rapidly in Asia. So once-again pagan Ireland, as with the US, is now mission territory, and extern missionary Priests are taking up the challenge.

p.s. They are an absolute blessing.


[quote=“jcrichton, post:11, topic:454849”]
It’s the autonomy theology–everyone wants to dictate to God how He Reveals Himself and how He accepts Worship–remember Cain? He killed his brother because ‘God, will have to accept my offerings now!’


thanks for your post. I always enjoy them, since they make me think deeply.

Your mention of Cain and Abel reminds me of Oklahoma! where the farmer (Cain, the tiller of soil) and the cowboy (the herder of flocks) should be friends. The bible does not give a reason for Cain’s actions or why God preferred the offering of Abel over that of Cain.

Just because Cain liked to push a plow and Abel to chase an animal was no reason for God to prefer Abel’s gift. There is no mention of Cain claiming 'God, will have to accept my offerings now!’

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