The Restructuring of Irish Dioceses Edited By: Eugene Duffy

The Restructuring of Irish Dioceses

Author: Edited By: Eugene Duffy
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The many reforms needed in the Catholic Church in Ireland include restructuring its 26 dioceses. Their boundaries, unchanged since they were arranged in the twelfth century, no longer match the distribution of the Catholic population.

Historian Adrian Empey shows in detail how Church structures in Ireland were transformed in 1100s – from being linked to areas influenced by monasteries to the diocesan system we now know. 

Geographer Des McCafferty shows how dioceses should normally generate, or at least be based, on a sense of place and a sense of identity. Ten other writers examine a range of relevant topics. They draw comparisons with diocesan re-organisation undertaken by the Church in France and by the Church of Ireland. 

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The many reforms needed in the Catholic Church in Ireland include restructuring its 26 dioceses. Their boundaries, unchanged since they were arranged in the twelfth century, no longer match the distribution of the Catholic population. Their disproportion is often spectacular: the archdiocese of Dublin, for instance, has a Catholic population greater than the combined populations of the 13 least populous dioceses. What is to be done? Historian Adrian Empey shows in detail how Church structures in Ireland were transformed in 1100s – from being linked to areas influenced by monasteries to the diocesan system we now know. This was not an easy process. The twelfth century reforms can teach us that the challenges we face today are neither new nor unique, but that, if faced bravely, can prompt a renewal of evangelical energies. Geographer Des McCafferty shows how dioceses should normally generate, or at least be based, on a sense of place and a sense of identity. Ten other writers examine a range of relevant topics. They draw comparisons with diocesan re-organisation undertaken by the Church in France and by the Church of Ireland. They look at mergers among the Franciscan friars, and the Mercy sisters. The teaching of Vatican II and canon law and theology all bear on the topic. The radical social and ecclesial changes that have occurred in Ireland in recent decades demand radical responses; continuing to work with outdated institutions will impede the pastoral strategies that are needed. This requires a fresh missionary impetus demanding that ecclesial structures be flexible and adaptable, and necessitating courage and determination, grounded in faith, hope and love.   Eugene Duffy, formerly of the department of theology and religious studies at Mary Immaculate College–University of Limerick, is Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Renewal and Development in the Diocese of Achonry. He is also a co-convenor of The Peter and Paul Seminar, a follow-up by theologians and canon lawyers to the Groupe des Dombes publication For the Conversion of the Churches.

The many reforms needed in the Catholic Church in Ireland include restructuring its 26 dioceses. Their boundaries, unchanged since they were arranged in the twelfth century, no longer match the distribution of the Catholic population. Their disproportion is often spectacular: the archdiocese of Dublin, for instance, has a Catholic population greater than the combined populations of the 13 least populous dioceses.

What is to be done? Historian Adrian Empey shows in detail how Church structures in Ireland were transformed in 1100s – from being linked to areas influenced by monasteries to the diocesan system we now know. This was not an easy process. The twelfth century reforms can teach us that the challenges we face today are neither new nor unique, but that, if faced bravely, can prompt a renewal of evangelical energies. Geographer Des McCafferty shows how dioceses should normally generate, or at least be based, on a sense of place and a sense of identity. Ten other writers examine a range of relevant topics. They draw comparisons with diocesan re-organisation undertaken by the Church in France and by the Church of Ireland. They look at mergers among the Franciscan friars, and the Mercy sisters. The teaching of Vatican II and canon law and theology all bear on the topic.

The radical social and ecclesial changes that have occurred in Ireland in recent decades demand radical responses; continuing to work with outdated institutions will impede the pastoral strategies that are needed. This requires a fresh missionary impetus demanding that ecclesial structures be flexible and adaptable, and necessitating courage and determination, grounded in faith, hope and love.

 

Eugene Duffy, formerly of the department of theology and religious studies at Mary Immaculate College–University of Limerick, is Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Renewal and Development in the Diocese of Achonry. He is also a co-convenor of The Peter and Paul Seminar, a follow-up by theologians and canon lawyers to the Groupe des Dombes publication For the Conversion of the Churches.

The many reforms needed in the Catholic Church in Ireland include restructuring its 26 dioceses. Their boundaries, unchanged since they were arranged in the twelfth century, no longer match the distribution of the Catholic population. Their disproportion is often spectacular: the archdiocese of Dublin, for instance, has a Catholic population greater than the combined populations of the 13 least populous dioceses.

What is to be done? Historian Adrian Empey shows in detail how Church structures in Ireland were transformed in 1100s – from being linked to areas influenced by monasteries to the diocesan system we now know. This was not an easy process. The twelfth century reforms can teach us that the challenges we face today are neither new nor unique, but that, if faced bravely, can prompt a renewal of evangelical energies. Geographer Des McCafferty shows how dioceses should normally generate, or at least be based, on a sense of place and a sense of identity. Ten other writers examine a range of relevant topics. They draw comparisons with diocesan re-organisation undertaken by the Church in France and by the Church of Ireland. They look at mergers among the Franciscan friars, and the Mercy sisters. The teaching of Vatican II and canon law and theology all bear on the topic.

The radical social and ecclesial changes that have occurred in Ireland in recent decades demand radical responses; continuing to work with outdated institutions will impede the pastoral strategies that are needed. This requires a fresh missionary impetus demanding that ecclesial structures be flexible and adaptable, and necessitating courage and determination, grounded in faith, hope and love.

 

Eugene Duffy, formerly of the department of theology and religious studies at Mary Immaculate College–University of Limerick, is Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Renewal and Development in the Diocese of Achonry. He is also a co-convenor of The Peter and Paul Seminar, a follow-up by theologians and canon lawyers to the Groupe des Dombes publication For the Conversion of the Churches.