A Journal for The Contemporary Church

New and Back Issues

Amoris Laetitia and Movements for Christian Marriage


I recall in the early 1980s discussing with a Lecturer in Theology in Boston College the then state of the Church. Her research and teaching focussed on how to increase lay involvement in the Church’s mission. She asked me about the local Church in South Co. Dublin . I told her with some pride that there were 9 parishes within a 10 to 15 minute radius of Ballyboden (Dublin), where I live, with an average of 3 priests per parish. Within a somewhat wider radius there were 9 flourishing male religious orders – Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans, Jesuits, Marists, Mill Hill Fathers, Servites and White Fathers. Female religious orders included Dominican, Good Shepherd, Loreto, and Mercy sisters. Her response surprised and concerned me. She said that these numbers of clergy and religious were not sustainable and, based on her USA experience, were likely to reduce significantly in the decades ahead. She also said that from her research this relatively high proportion of clergy and religious often led to passivity among lay people.