It's now time to move preparation for first communions and confirmations away from schools, according to a group of Irish priests.
The Association of Catholic Priests - which represents around 1,000 priests - says the current model, where the bulk of preparation for the sacraments takes place in school, is "no longer fit for purpose".
They say many children "rarely, if ever" attend mass before or after a communion or confirmation day.
They believe it should therefore be up to families and parishes to "nurture faith and introduce children to the sacraments".
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Fr Paddy Byrne - a priest based in Abbeyleix and Raheen in Co Laois - says he fundamentally agrees it's time to move responsibility out of the school context.
He said it's “absolutely ridiculous” that the Catholic Church has such ownership over education in Ireland in 2021, despite only a small percentage of young families are now practicing religion publicly.
As society grows more secular, Fr Byrne said there’s an expectation that communions and confirmations still have the same cultural significance as 40 years ago.
He observed: “It has, respectfully, made these days very superficial. It’s a one-day wonder.
“As a Church yearning to rejuvenate itself and have some hope for its future, we need to take these occasions more responsibly… and to empower parents, particularly, on the task - and, of course, support them on a parish level.
“The idea of a school taking responsibility for sacramental preparation exclusively… that day is well over.”
Fr Byrne said he's "pragmatic" about the consequences of changing approach, and he knows it could result in fewer children having a first communion or confirmation.
However, he believes the current situation means many people - even children - may not feel they have a choice around participation.
He added: “I don’t think that has done us any favours in terms of evangelisation."
It comes as some bishops have expressed their frustration over the continuing restrictions on communions and confirmations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government last week said it hopes to ease the restrictions around the ceremonies from September.