He blamed a lack of leadership for the lowest number of wannabe priests applying to study at Maynooth in the 200-year history of St Patrick’s College.
Mannix, himself a child victim of clerical abuse, said: “These numbers have been declining for a long time.
“The clerical abuse issue and the institutional abuse issue have really impacted on vocation.
“The idea of people having an allegiance to the church and individuals signing up to this vocation right across the globe have dropped.
“As more allegations emerge on a global basis in different countries, people are not only failing to sign up to religious life and the priesthood, but people are also leaving in droves which is very alarming.”
The Dublin native added that the good work undertaken by members of the church in some areas was often overlooked.