The Irish Times
RITE AND REASON: There are a myriad of problems facing the church, not least the lack of leadership
TWO REMARKABLE statistics emerged from recent surveys. Firstly, in the census, 84 per cent of people in Ireland ticked the “Catholic” box. And secondly, in an Amárach survey on behalf of the Association of Catholic Priests, 35 per cent of Catholics said they attended Mass weekly.
After all that has happened to the Catholic Church in Ireland in the last two decades no one, I suspect, could have predicted such extraordinary results. The odds against it would have been significant. And yet here we are.
After the child abuse scandals, the failure to deal with them, the scathing reports, the inevitable condemnations, the continuing decline in vocations and church attendance and not least the growing perception that the Irish Catholic Church is in terminal decline, suddenly, extraordinarily, there are reasons for believing that belief in and commitment to the Catholic project is resilient and, numerically, still significant.