Bryan Fanning
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A Catholic vision of Ireland
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In his 1911 novel The Dawn of All, Robert Hugh Benson, an English priest who converted to Catholicism, imagined a future where most of the world had done the same. England had assented to Catholic home rule in Ireland and encouraged its Catholic population to emigrate there. Catholicism had declined everywhere except in Rome and in Ireland, where appearances of a woman in blue were reported at Marian shrines. For more than half a century Catholic sociology articulated influential visions of Ireland's future. Edward Cahill's Framework of a Christian State discussed at length the history of socialist ideas, theories of surplus value and dialectical materialism. The period of influence of the Catholic social thought had coincided with a period of Irish-Ireland, of a post-colonial cultural nation-building project which emphasised economic isolationism and efforts to promote the Irish language.

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