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Catholic hierarchy must embrace change

The recent RTE religious documentary Faith in Crisis showed there are radical changes needed in the Irish Catholic Church.

The ordination of women priests, the introduction of the laity into the running and administration of parishes, the full and proper investigation of all clerical child-abuse in every diocese in Ireland and the total reorganisation of church powers away from the bishops and Rome are all priority issues.

The claim, perhaps, that the Irish Church hierarchy has been listening to the recent clerical abuse revelations and the need for the Irish Catholic Church to change does not wear well with many of the younger generation of Irish Catholics.

At present, the Irish Catholic Church is a world apart from mainstream public opinion, judging from the recent RTE broadcast. There is no point in Irish bishops introducing the laity into proposed new church structures only for the parish priest and a bishop to over-rule them, or have the final say.

The days of priests and bishops having control of all parish matters needs to be totally smashed. If the Irish Catholic Church is to have a long term future, Cardinal Brady and the bishops have a clear, moral responsibility to learn from the systematic and endemic cover-up of clerical child abuse.

They must accept that the present Church structures, rules and powers are no longer fit for purpose in 21st century Ireland.

PATRICK CLARKE

Dundrum, Co Down

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