New Dublin bishop struck by generosity of priests

New Dublin bishop struck by generosity of priests Bishop Paul Dempsey. Photo:
Matt Letourneau

The new auxiliary bishop of Dublin, Bishop Paul Dempsey has said that he is only a few weeks in Dublin but is already struck by the large size of the parishes and the generosity of the priests.

“One of the things that has struck me in Dublin and I’m only a couple of weeks here is the enormity of the parishes, they are absolutely huge parishes in Dublin and I’m conscious of the generosity of Dublin priests and I’m not just saying that, I’ve seen it myself, guys who are in big parishes who are maybe taking on the responsibility of another neighbouring parish and again the generosity of elderly priests. I’ve met men in their eighties who are still working in parishes that we wouldn’t expect others in society to do. So there’s a huge generosity in Dublin and across the country that I’ve encountered.”

However Bishop Dempsey, who was Bishop of Achonry before his Dublin appointment told The Irish Catholic podcast, The Confession Box, that painful questions need to be asked.

“We do have to ask the question how long that can continue, in fairness these men are growing older and the energy levels are not going to be the same.  I don’t think we can expect priests to be able to give the same service as they are today in ten or fifteen years time.  And this is not just a priests issue, this is an issue that is going to have to be faced by people and priests, now and into the future, because we can’t keep going they way we’re going. We need to reflect and dialogue and come up with imaginative ways of dealing with it. And it will be painful.”