There may be a significant number who are non practising and misguidedly endorse obscenities like gay marriage (in the pervertec name of equality or compassion) but the mere fact they designate as catholic shows a flicker of faith still resides within.The Church should take encouragement from this and bring that flicker to a flame.
There is nothing to suggest that the Catholic Church in Ireland has any clue on how to turn around its continuing decline in terms of practising/actual members of its congregation. The demographics of those currently making up the numbers practising their Catholic religion shows that within 20 to 30 years there will barely be anyone regularly attending Church services.
The Church is in chaos, it is now unable to respond the regular scandals which show that it is crumbling at its core. Its leadership is unable to make the decisions required and it has no strategy for renewal that it can bring to its membership for consultation and believes that a top down organisation can sustain itself in the 21st century. The leadership of bishops have an average age well into their 70s, the priesthood has an average age of those working in parishes in its late 60s and only 7 priests will be ordained in 2017.
Most of the 78% of the population in RoI are nominal Catholics, i.e. they have received the sacraments of baptism, communion, confession, confirmation and possibly matrimony and will probably wish to avail of extreme unction but they are no longer regular attenders at Church services. In the RoI, they will still present their children for baptism because the Church still controls the education system and makes baptism a condition of admittance.
The turmoil within the Catholic Church in Ireland is seen in the political events in appointments to being a bishop, parish priests, deployment of priests to parishes and the failure to deal efficiently and effectively with those priests accused of wrongdoing while leaving them in effective limbo. The papal nuncio has become a casualty of politicking by Rome as he is moved from a handy number in Dublin to be sent to a post in Albania.
How Tony can be happy for the Catholic Church in its current state of chaos and spiralling decline?