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Is The Church a Healthy Organisation?
consumer issues |
Monday March 21, 2005 10:26 by Sean Crudden
Organisation and Health
The weather is fluky here in Cooley today with rain and depression coming down. The following text may do something to lighten the spirits of indymedia readers.
Some people think that The Archbsihop is just another venal cleric. Others may say that he is only a cod. However no-one can deny that he has in abundance the unusual gift of seeing what is (blindingly?) obvious.
The following is a post factum reconstruction by Archbishop Michael Desmond ("Dessie") Hynes of a talk he gave to the fifth annual winter workshop organised by Cooley Environmental and Health Group. The workshop entitled "Organisation and Health" took place on the afternoon of 29 January 2005 in The Strand, Omeath, Co Louth.
Arahbishop Michael Desmond Hynes Prepares to Serve at The Handball Alley, Tullyvin, Co Cavan
In this short talk I wish to respond to Cllr Dr Mary Grehan’s talk that has painted a very gloomy picture of the health care system. It immediately came to mind for me to sing the Hymn, with meaning, entitled "God of Mercy and Compassion"! I shall now address this topic "Organisation and Health" from a Christian perspective of which there may be many versions.
Yes friends! There is a great need for Much Love and Trust in our society as we have heard from Cllr Doctor Mary Grehan. WE need to have Faith, belief in what we do and how we do it! This is where religion comes in. Many of us may forget the old Redemptorist’s especially in times of a parish mission addressing the word Faith. I suppose many of you remember the Hymn, "Faith of Our Father’s." Well Faith needs to be living in us still. In or around 110 AD the word Catholic came to the fore (meaning Universal). Many may argue that religion was a way for helping people to live together in social and spiritual harmony in the interest of common good. However! Not all the populous will adhere to such theory. To be religious from a Catholic perspective, we need to love others, as we love ourselves. In practice many may again disagree on this one. Lol.
1. In to day’s Irish consumer, post-Christian, secular society we may witness a fall off in Sunday church attendance. In Meath for example, one PP suggested that attendance was 33% of registered baptised Roman Catholics attending Sunday Mass. It is true to argue, too, that social change has gathered much speed in recent years and this speed seems to be getting faster and faster as the years roll on. Our Social Scientists now boast of the prevalence of the nuclear family in favour of the extended family that was the norm in bygone years where you basically knew all your relations and looked after your parents until they were called to eternity. Sadly now that day has long passed us in Ireland similar to it has in the developed world. The world has gotten smaller in terms of accessibility where, say, you can jump on a jet and be in New York or elsewhere in much less than a day whereas in Columbus’ time ye had you go in a primitive boat weather permitting.
2. Pre-Vatican 2 days would not allow or condone present family structures. No shacking up with the bird as they say in Dublin! The word partner was more or less solely addressed to the business world. To day when canvassing houses if we do not risk offending at a strange house we can be safer asking for the "partner" rather than the "wife" or "Mrs." Times have changed and are changing faster as the clock and calendar moves on.
3. We have the sex scandals wrecking the church putting much pressure on the secular church while only 3% of clergy are involved. Like a bad apple in a bag it rots and/or corrodes the church’s structure yet 97% of clergy are not into the said form of criminology. As well, we have priests with other problems, such as gambling and alcoholism as we have in the wider society. Therefore it is worth remembering that priests are human too as well as the wider society of which we all are apart of.
4. Statistics tell us that some 93% of the Irish population are registered as Roman Catholic. However that does not say that 93% are practising members of the Church that was founded in the 3rd century when it became popular to be affiliated with Rome and the Roman sector of the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.
5. It is fair to argue, that the church is losing control as the rhythm method has become outdated as the Céili band giving way to the condom, the pill, and the morning after pill as witnessed in recent years. Also many young girls going up the shoot and having babies outside of marriage helps to further erode the family structure as we knew it in the past with husband and wife married in church before having babies as the general practice. In a sense we in society are becoming more like the animal, where the male’s mission seems to be getting as many females pregnant as possible, while the female’s mission seems to be getting a house built much bigger than her neighbour, say, Mrs Jones. I feel that there is much truth in Darwin’s theory on evolution here coming to the fore. Also, maybe some truth in the saying of a local character, "a standing cock has got no conscience"!
6. Ageing clergy is another problem for the church coupled with a shortage of vocations that play havoc on the supply and demand bank of clergy for labouring in Christ’s Vineyards.
Today we see the Church is run on business lines in Irish parochial circles, as churches are closed in inner cites, etc., and masses are cut due to shortages of priests. I see where Armagh Archdiocese has just 2 deacons to be ordained priests this year and have at least 2 curacies urgently awaiting vacancies filled. More PP’s are soon due to retire and this shall mean that more parishes will lose curates and be subjected to cuts in the number of masses as a result. With the average age of priests being over 50 years, this paints a gloomy picture for the supply of priests putting much pressure on current PP’s who are struggling in certain cases to serve their parishes at present. Canon Gerard Clifford, Armagh’s auxiliary bishop - who is also a serving vicar general, has revealed that 7 applicants have applied for to study for the priesthood this coming year. It remains to be seen if they all will go forward - and finally be ordained. One theory suggests that "supply will equal demand" as they forecast a fall off in attendance on a par with France where attendance is averaged at 10% on Sundays.
In England we have married priests. Some 40 former Anglican priests mainly High Church of England who have been ordained are now working in the Westminster Archdiocese along with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor. Aberdeen has once such priest married working in their diocese too!
Fewer priests mean less manpower to pay and more cash for the priest, as he will have the monopoly when, say, weddings and other services have to be undertaken. In Armagh the basic rate is €12 000 a year whereas the C of I cleric gets around €29 000 while the Presbyterian has around €35 000 a year. However, rates vary in RC Dioceses as Dublin for example gets a basic rate of €18 000 per annum. It must also be remembered that priests get the money for saying a daily Mass whereas C of I and Presbyterian fall down on this income here. For years of service a priest gets around €30 for each year’s service as well as the basic salary and this varies from diocese to diocese.
To conclude: Society is changing very fast and the church is finding it problematic keeping up with such change. In the past, such as in Reformation times, the church was subjected to much greater pressure as it was illegal to practice the Catholic Faith in public and many priests were ordained that could neither read nor write in order to keep the Faith going. If the Church was fit to overcome such a blow as that struck with the Reformation, then I am assured that it is well fit to deal with the knock it has got from paedophiliacs and social changes.
It is unfortunate that at the present, - "the RC Church is choked with bureaucracy." However, there is one consolation, that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger will not be in power forever, as he is now 78 - and soon be a man of history, like many of his counterparts that have spurned the thinking of Vatican II - and can be blamed in part at least for the present problems of the Church.
God will send the Holy Spirit, to guide the church out of apostasy and get back to the basics of Christianity and thus help the world and workplace to be a better loving place for all adherents - in organisation and health, interdependently linking - for the betterment of all.
St Peter was a married man, and was the first Bishop of the Church of Antioch! Hopefully the Holy Spirit will give us another Peter, as Bishop of Rome. Amen.
+Most Rev Dr Michael Desmond Hynes OMA
Patriarch of Ordo Maria Apostolorum
Archbishop Ulster & Cooley OMA