Michael Cronin opens this chapter by observing that the greatest threat to Irish society has been the dominant discourse of neo-liberalism and the Market, which has come to be the deity to which all must bend. The Irish Church has traditionally been associated with a regime of fear and punishment, which is somewhat paradoxical given that the founding message of Christianity is one of hope, of the end of fear. In Cronin’s view, a more radical move for a Church, which has been brought to its knees by a multiplicity of cultural factors, would be to embrace empathy and a politics of hope, which might consist of no longer saying ‘No’, but ‘Yes’. The affirmation of justice for all, a more equal sharing of wealth, the creation of a climate where difference is embraced, these are the life-affirming and Christian principles on which the future of Irish Catholicism should be based.
vocation was often still
viewed as an austere calling. In addition, Casey was known as a bon viveur who
enjoyed socialising and driving fast cars. He was a major force in Irish society,
especially when it came to presenting a human face of a monolithic organisation
such as the Catholic Church. Casey had charisma, the common touch. He had his
finger on the pulse of the Ireland of the 1980s, a time of economic free fall and
increasing dissatisfaction with both church and state.
Tracing the cultural legacy of IrishCatholicism
His partner on the stage in Galway
interpret them. Many scholarly works invoke a sense of total collapse or even terminal crisis –like bell peals, the funereal book titles toll a
Challenges in the here and now
passing: IrishCatholicism since 1950: The Undoing of a Culture (Fuller 2002); Is
IrishCatholicism Dying? Liberating an Imprisoned Church (Kirby 1984); The End
of IrishCatholicism? (Twomey 2003); Change or Decay: IrishCatholicism in Crisis
(Hoban 2000). Still, while such titles draw legitimate attention to a contemporary sense of an ending, a focus on ‘the death of Irish
. The story of modern IrishCatholicism
and lay women therefore is complex, marked by losses and gains. The
complexity is increased still further because the changes documented
by first-hand accounts of IrishCatholicism existed alongside
remarkable continuities. From the desolation of the famine years right
through the first few decades of independence, Catholicism was central
to women’s ordinary daily lives, and women actively participated in
devotional life and the creation of their religious identities.
The role that Catholicism has played in creating modern
The poetry of accumulation:
Irish-American fables of resistance
Writing on Eiléan Ni Chuilleanáin’s poetry, Andrew J. Auge, in a devastating
piece of reportage, describes the recent change that has taken place in the reputation and role of Irish Catholic Church: ‘by the turn of the millennium, the
once imposing edifice of IrishCatholicism appeared increasingly derelict’ (Auge
2013: 145). Given all we have learned from reports into how the Church has
dealt with abuses committed by its clergy and cover-ups initiated by its hierarchy,
Vincent Twomey’s The End of IrishCatholicism?, Mark Patrick Hederman’s Kissing
the Dark and Underground Cathedrals and Brendan Hoban’s Change or Decay: IrishCatholicism in Crisis and Who Will Break Bread for Us? Unlike Sulivan, the Irish
priests did/do not write fiction, but in many ways Sulivan’s novels were very close
reflections of his personal experience and contain many characters that are barely
The chapter will argue, therefore, that when one is closely aligned to an institution like the Catholic Church, as priests inevitably are, it is
, 1990), p. 72.
See carlson, ‘introduction’, in carlson (ed.), Banned in Ireland, pp. 9–18;
adams, Censorship, p. 146; ferriter, Occasions, pp. 308, 385, 388; kenny,
Goodbye to Catholic Ireland, pp. 141, 148–9, 155, 159–60.
connolly, ‘censorship’, p. 151. many of the quotations that follow are from
James h. murphy, ‘introduction’, in James h. murphy (ed.), No bland facility:
selected writings on literature, religion and censorship (gerrard’s cross: colin
Smythe limited, 1991), p. 7.
fuller, IrishCatholicism, pp. 63–4.
patrick hannon, ‘heart in pilgrimage
majority still identify as
Catholic, there has been a precipitous decrease in the proportion attending weekly
Mass, from approximately 85 per cent in the late 1980s to 43 per cent today.4 We
are thus prompted to ask why IrishCatholicism appears to be more vulnerable
than American Catholicism to external threats. The forces of modernisation, secularism and individualisation and the priest sex abuse crisis impinge in both
societies, yet American Catholicism seems more resilient than IrishCatholicism in
the current moment. This chapter probes the commonalities and
. Fairness is important and
children develop a belief that if you keep God’s rules (don’t sin) you will
be rewarded. Some people remain at this stage throughout their lives. A
lot of traditional IrishCatholicism was rule-based; moral behaviour was
strongly related to adherence to Church discipline, especially in the area
of sexual morality.
Fowler suggests that most people reach Stage 3, which he calls
Synthetic–Conventional faith. It is non-analytical – therefore synthetic
– and is characterized by conformity – therefore conventional, and this
is achieved in
This is the first book-length study of one of the most significant of all British television writers, Jimmy McGovern. The book provides comprehensive coverage of all his work for television including early writing on Brookside, major documentary dramas such as Hillsborough and Sunday and more recent series such as The Street and Accused. Whilst the book is firmly focused on McGovern’s own work, the range of his output over the period in which he has been working also provides something of an overview of the radical changes in television drama commissioning that have taken place during this time. Without compromising his deeply-held convictions McGovern has managed to adapt to an ever changing environment, often using his position as a sought-after writer to defy industry trends. The book also challenges the notion of McGovern as an uncomplicated social realist in stylistic terms. Looking particularly at his later work, a case is made for McGovern employing a greater range of narrative approaches, albeit subtly and within boundaries that allow him to continue to write for large popular audiences. Finally it is worth pointing to the book’s examination of McGovern’s role in recent years as a mentor to new voices, frequently acting as a creative producer on series that he part-writes and part brings through different less-experienced names.