By Andrew Hamilton

Allowing priests to marry and ordaining women priests are two of main changes suggested in a revolutionary new document produced by the Diocese of Killaloe as part of the Listening Process.

The process, which was started by Bishop Kieran O’Reilly last year, involves more than 700 priests and lay church members in the diocese and is viewed as a blueprint for the future of the Catholic Church in County Clare.

The document also recommends the creation of new active roles for lay people in the diocese and fostering a greater appreciation for local priests as two of it’s other main aims.

The document also highlight the main challenges faced by the church in the Killaloe diocese with mass attendance as low of 10 per cent in some parishes. Other fears also include the prospect of church closures in rural part of Clare, as priest numbers continue to decline.

“This [listening] process is an invitation to engage again and to be an integral part of our future,” said Fr Brendan Quinlivan, spokesperson for the Diocese of Killaloe.” The next step in this process is unclear as many of the recommended changes would require a change of official church doctrine in The Vatican.

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Colin McGann is Deputy Managing Director of The Clare People and has been involved with the newspaper since it opened in 2005.

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