Recruiting Priests in Ireland

Recruiting Priests in Ireland October 22, 2011

The Catholic Church in Ireland is suffering through a terrible shortage of priests — gee, I can’t imagine why — and they’ve decided that the solution is to build an iPhone app to aid them in recruiting new ones.

“The app is an original approach to assist current and future generations seeking to investigate and find information on vocations to the diocesan priesthood in Ireland,” a statement issued ahead of the launch said.

The number of new recruits to the priesthood has fallen sharply in the recent decades – and as Ireland has become engulfed in a series of child sex abuse scandals over the past few years…

The new ‘Vocations’ app was designed by Father Paddy Rushe and developed by the company Magic Time Apps, based in Dublin. It is available to download for free from the Apple iPhone App Store, said the church.

Some of the features of the app, according to the church, are: Connection to Twitter and Facebook; Social networking at the service of vocations; Contact details and statistics on the 26 dioceses of Ireland; Frequently asked questions to assist a person to discern his vocation; News feed running from the national vocations website; Novel and cursory ‘tests’ to enable the user to reflect on vocation potential.

“Future updates will include a “prayer counter” to allow people pledge a period of prayer for vocations and a picture gallery which will include some images from the life of a seminarian,” the church statement said…

The app is part of a campaign promoted on the church website – http://www.vocations.ie – and follows ‘Priesthood Sunday,’ which was on September 25. The website called it “an opportunity to highlight and promote particularly the vocation to the priesthood.”

When I was doing comedy in the early 90s, the American church had a similar shortage of priests and had a billboard campaign to recruit new priests. That led me to write a joke about it, which went like this:

I don’t think this is gonna work. Poverty and celibacy are not the kind of things you can talk someone into volunteering for; they’re more like unfortunate side effects of being an only child in Arkansas.

I did that joke once and a guy in the audience stood up and started screaming at me. He was obviously drunk, I presume on sacramental wine. And at one point he yelled out “You need Jesus!” I replied, “I need Jesus like I need a hole in my hand,” prompting him to run toward the stage to beat me up. The bouncers wrestled him to the ground and threw him out.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • DaveL

    I don’t think this is gonna work. Poverty and celibacy are not the kind of things you can talk someone into volunteering for; they’re more like unfortunate side effects of being an only child in Arkansas.

    More like being the youngest of six. Seriously, why do you think the Catholic Church is so hell-bent against contraception? They need big families. Damn few parents want their only son to take a vow of celibacy.

  • I like hearing news like this. It’s like a bright shining beacon in the dark depths of my current political pessimism.

    I just hope the bad press for the churches keeps on building. I’d hate for the exposure of sex scandals and cover up conspiracies to peter out before the church has gotten too small and weak to be worth international coverage.

    Well, I suppose an alternative I could settle for is the church figuring out that they need to police their own instead of protecting and aiding the molesters.

  • More like being the youngest of six. Seriously, why do you think the Catholic Church is so hell-bent against contraception? They need big families. Damn few parents want their only son to take a vow of celibacy.

    Huh. Don’t think that particular thought occurred to me. Makes perfect sense as far as I can see.

  • Akira MacKenzie

    Do you want to be a celebite purveyor of Medieval authoritarianism, supersticion, and misogyny?

    There’s an app for that.

  • dingojack

    There’s a pedo app?

    Thanks Steve, you’re such a modern techno-saint!

    Dingo

  • koyoteken

    if the app contains local church rosters of altar boys, it might be successful………

  • …And now I’ve got this mental image of Pope Pedobear showing up as an icon on my iPod.

  • Nice Ogress

    Given how far the Church is spiraling into the drains at this point, I’m surprised they haven’t just skipped a step and started recruiting priests right out of the prison population.

    Convicted sex offender? HAVE WE GOT A JOB FOR YOU!

  • barbrykost

    Did anyone else read this post immediately after reading the Onion parody of Cain and feel like you were still reading satire?

  • CSB

    barbrykost: Not really. These days, the easiest way to identify satire is that it’s TOO accurate.

  • Michael Heath

    barbrykost writes:

    Did anyone else read this post immediately after reading the Onion parody of Cain and feel like you were still reading satire?

    Close, I’m surprised we haven’t yet seen any comment posts on whether this new app provides leading indicator demographic stats in order that priests can best target dioceses with the most number of young children per capita.

  • Larry

    I thought that Apple had a policy about excluding porn apps from the app store?

  • They should start telling prospects about all 27 virgins they’ll get when they go to heaven after spending the rest of their life celibate. That’d be sheer marketing genius.

  • Aquaria

    Gee, what a surprise: A country that starts getting economically powerful, with higher standards of living, starts having people abandon the church in droves. Who would have thought?

    And it’s like DaveL said: one of the reasons they don’t want contraception is because they expect at least one child per family to go into the church, as a nun or priest. They’re dead in the water without a cheap, abundant source of workers.

    It pales into comparison to opposing birth control to keep the church pews filled with people to extract tithes from. Or because they’re authoritarian killjoy control freaks. But the decimation of their labor pool from smaller families is definitely another of the reasons they hate contraception.

  • dingojack

    Hey Ed- Perhaps rather then Ireland, you meant Treasure Island.

    As in: “Arrgh Jim-lad, bend over and get me an apple from the barrel” 🙂

    Dingo

  • Aliasalpha

    “I need Jesus like I need a hole in my hand,”

    That may be the best comeback I’ve ever heard

  • I’m still waiting for the database-of-sins app that the Catholics will use to collect all the sins from their parishioners for future spiritual blackmail. They already have one to collect that data after all, they just need a way for the priest to grab and search those databases.

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