Many surveys confirm this anecdotal evidence of a profound crisis in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Weekly Mass attendance has plummeted from 91% in 1973 to between 31% and 42% (surveys carried out between 2008 and 2010).
Surveys agree that when it comes to generic belief in God, Heaven and Hell, Irish Catholics have not changed much since the 1973 poll carried out by the Irish Bishops’ Conference.
However, the figures also show that people “believe” in these things, not on the authority of the Catholic Church, but on their own authority. In other words, they have become Protestants. For example, a 2008 poll shows that only 13% of Catholics believe that the Catholic Church is the One, True Church, compared to 82% in 1973. Polls carried out in 2012 indicate that only 62% believe in Transubstantiation, 87% are for married priests, 77% are for women priests, 75% consider that the Church’s Teaching on sexual morality is irrelevant to them, 61% disagree with the Church’s Teaching on homosexuality, and 87% believe that those who are divorced/separated and in a second relationship should be allowed to receive Holy Communion.
The Catholic believes in God and in “all the Sacred Truths which the Catholic Church believes and teaches because God has revealed them and because His Word is true” (Act of Faith), not because a particular truth suits him more than another. If a Catholic rejects one dogma of Faith, he ceases to be a Catholic.
That Irish people claiming to be Catholics call into question the Teachings of the Church which do not suit them proves that the Church in Ireland is undergoing the same crisis of Faith and Morals that the Church is suffering in the rest of the world. The proximate cause of this crisis is the crisis in theclergy, since the reason why Irish Catholics no longer believe is that Irish priests and bishops no longer teach.