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“In the last few years, now, it’s particularly noticeable that the income for the parish has been dropping steadily,” he said on Irish national radio.

“A lot of it, I think, is that people just don’t have it.”

Father Duffy said priests reported a 6 percent drop in their income in 2010 and that lay congregation members in “key leadership roles” had to be paid in order to ensure the church’s future.

Dublin priests contacted for this article declined to comment.

Some Catholics worry that the church will cut back on social programs as a result of its dire financial troubles.

“There are a lot of worthy Dublin Diocese projects - social outreach, food kitchens - and that may come under pressure,” said Mr. Price. “The church also has elderly clergy to take care of.”

Dublin resident and parishioner Paddy Monaghan said the church should look for other ways to raise money.

“I think there’s a lot of [church] property in Dublin,” he said. “There are things that can be done without asking parishioners for more.”