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From Galway to Cloyne and beyond

This book engages with the spectacular disenchantment with Catholicism in Ireland over the relatively short period of four decades. It begins with the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979 and in particular his address to young people in Galway, where the crowd had been entertained beforehand by two of Ireland’s most celebrated clerics, Bishop Eamon Casey and Fr Michael Cleary, both of whom were engaged at the time in romantic affairs that resulted in the birth of children. It will be argued that the Pope’s visit was prompted by concern at the significant fall in vocations to priesthood and the religious life and the increasing secularism of Irish society.

The book then explores the various referenda that took place during the 1980s on divorce and abortion which, although they resulted in victories for the Church, demonstrated that their hold on the Irish public was weakening. The clerical abuse scandals of the 1990s were the tipping point for an Irish public which was generally resentful of the intrusive and repressive form of Catholicism that had been the norm in Ireland since the formation of the State in the 1920s.

Boasting an impressive array of contributors from various backgrounds and expertise, the essays in the book attempt to delineate the exact reasons for the progressive dismantling of the cultural legacy of Catholicism and the consequences this has had on Irish society. Among the contributors are Patricia Casey, Joe Cleary, Michael Cronin, Louise Fuller, Patsy McGarry, Vincent Twomey and Eamonn Wall.

Author: Cara Delay

Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism is the only book-length study of lay Catholic women in modern Irish history. Focusing on the pivotal century from 1850 to 1950, it analyses the roles that middle-class, working-class, and rural poor lay women played in the evolution of Irish Catholicism and thus the creation of modern Irish identities. This project demonstrates that in an age of Church growth and renewal stretching from the aftermath of the Great Famine through the early years of the Irish Republic, lay women were essential to all aspects of Catholic devotional life, including both home-based religion and public Catholic rituals. It also reveals that women, by rejecting, negotiating, and reworking Church dictates, complicated Church and clerical authority. Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism re-evaluates the relationship between the institutional Church, the clergy, and women, positioning lay Catholic women as central actors in the making of modern Ireland. It also contests views that the increasing power of the Catholic Church caused a uniform decline in Irish women’s status after the Great Famine of the 1840s, revealing that middle-class, working-class, and rural poor lay women fought with their priests, dominated household religion, and led parish rituals, thus proving integral to the development of a modern Irish Catholic ethos and culture.

Church, State and modernity in contemporary Ireland
David Carroll Cochran

  53 3 Dethroning Irish Catholicism: Church, State and modernity in contemporary Ireland David Carroll Cochran In his essay A Catholic Modernity?, the Canadian Catholic philosopher Charles Taylor reflects on how modern secularism’s process of ‘dethroning’ Catholicism, of gradually disentangling the Church from the dominant institutions of societies where it long held political and social power, has paradoxically extended many of Catholicism’s core commitments and liberated it to find a new and creative voice within modernity. Taylor is reacting to a general

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
Beyond ‘ghettos’ and ‘golden ages’
Alana Harris

Chapter 2 English Catholicism reconsidered Beyond ‘ghettos’ and ‘golden ages’ Fiddle with your rosaries Bow your head with great respect And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect On 31 October 1949, The Times ran an article entitled ‘Catholicism To-Day’ which purported to offer a ‘tentative review of the present position and immediate prospects of the largest and most influential of the Christian communions’1 comprised of 3.5 million Catholics in the United Kingdom, and 15.5 million more throughout the British Commonwealth.2 In a lively and often heated correspondence

in Faith in the family
A time of hope!
Vincent Twomey

  89 5 Contemporary Irish Catholicism: A time of hope! Vincent Twomey So-​called traditional Irish Catholicism is largely the product of historical and cultural processes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as I have tried to point out in The End of Irish Catholicism? (Twomey 2003). It had many weaknesses. However, it also had many strengths. New religious orders, such as the Irish Christian Brothers, the Presentation and Mercy Sisters, were founded in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by remarkable men and women such as Blessed Edmund Rice, the

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
Niall Coll

Irish identity and the future of Catholicism 22 Irish identity and the future of Catholicism Niall Coll It is a truism to say that the Catholic Church came to dominate both the public identity and the personal values of the great majority of the Irish people from the middle of the nineteenth century until recent times. Now, in the wake of the gradual rise of urban, secular Anglo-American cultural norms on the one hand and the clerical abuse crisis on the other, that dominance has been shattered.1 Dermot Keogh has written that the Catholic Church in Ireland now

in Irish Catholic identities
Raymond Gillespie

7 Gaelic Catholicism and the Ulster plantation Raymond Gillespie In the historiography of early seventeenth-century Ireland the Ulster plantation has assumed a paradigmatic role. Military defeat in 1603 was followed by the flight of the earls and expropriation of the lands of the Catholic Irish and colonisation by Protestant Scots and English. There is certainly contemporary evidence to support this sort of view of seventeenth-century Ulster. From the perspective of the native Irish, the Annals of the Four Masters, written in the 1630s, characterised the Ulster

in Irish Catholic identities
David Doyle

12 Irish diaspora Catholicism in North America* David Doyle I In their global faiths as in their insular polities, the experiences of the Irish at home entailed a series of unstable ‘identities’ to ease relations with others. This was so despite their obligation of due deference to political authority, regardless of those exercising it. The search for status and prestige imposed choreography of positioning in social life which weakened any consistent outward witness to Catholic values. Impoverished political identities exacerbated this, regardless of their

in Irish Catholic identities
David Finnegan

4 Irish political Catholicism from the 1530s to 1660 David Finnegan The reconstruction of the institutions of the Irish polity attendant upon Henry VIII’s pursuit of imperium in the 1530s presented his Irish subjects, both old and new, with fundamentally new political realities. The introduction of Reformation via the parliament of 1536–37, and the elevation of the Irish lordship into a kingdom in 1541, began the slow transformation of the island’s religio-political landscape. Of more immediate consequence though was the destruction of the Fitzgeralds of

in Irish Catholic identities
Ulrike Ehret

04-ChurchNationRace_118-177 28/11/11 14:42 Page 118 4 The Catholic right, political Catholicism and radicalism The Catholic right in Germany In 1920, Hermann Freiherr von Lüninck assessed the political landscape of the Weimar Republic in his ‘Thoughts on Centre Party politics’.1 He believed that large sections of the nobility, peasantry, academia and elements among the clergy felt alienated by the Centre Party’s cooperation with social democracy. In order to create the envisioned Christian conservative party, Lüninck hoped to draw conservatives to the Centre

in Church, nation and race