Ireland    RETURN VISIT BY POPE JOHN PAUL CRITICAL TO HALT CHURCH DECLINE
Pope John Paul II has been asked to make a return visit to Ireland to increase vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
   In the context of a long series of clergy sexual abuse scandals, and unprecedented economic prosperity, vocations in Ireland are at their lowest ebb in 200 years.
   Senior Church sources told the Irish Independent that while the Holy Father has been informally invited to re-visit Ireland, a formal invitation will not be issued.
   Pope John Paul II's last visit to Ireland in 1979 reversed a decade-long decline in vocations, quadrupling the number of entrants the following year.
   
Irish Independent
6/4/00

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