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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
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.

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
Louise Fuller

, who had been secretary to Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and John Paul II, resigned as a result. In 1979, all had seemed well in Irish Catholicism, and the enthusiasm surrounding the Pope’s visit would have conveyed that to any outside observer. A  comprehensive survey of values and attitudes in the mid-​ 1970s recorded that 91 per cent of Irish Catholics attended mass weekly (Catholic Communications Institute of Ireland 1975:  71). But cracks were beginning to appear as early as the 1950s and certainly in the 1960s. However, the period addressed here, 1979 to 2011

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
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Ireland’s referendum and the journey from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft
Eugene O’Brien

Irish Catholicism, in essence this visit marked the end of an era’ (Littleton and Maher 2010: 7). Vocations had already begun to decline in the 1970s, and the gradual permeation of the BBC and ITV channels across the country, as opposed to just the eastern seaboard, meant that orthodox opinion was no longer the only voice heard in the media. By the 1980s and 1990s, these channels were now becoming more widespread across Ireland. People now had an element of choice in terms of forming their attitudes, and where heretofore the voices they heard were almost univocal

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
A new church for the unhoused
Michael Cronin

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.

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
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Eamon Maher and Eugene O’Brien

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.   2 2 Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism His partner on the stage in Galway

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
Joe Cleary

interpret them. Many scholarly works invoke a sense of total collapse or even terminal crisis  –​like bell peals, the funereal book titles toll a   210 210 Challenges in the here and now passing: Irish Catholicism since 1950: The Undoing of a Culture (Fuller 2002); Is Irish Catholicism Dying? Liberating an Imprisoned Church (Kirby 1984); The End of Irish Catholicism? (Twomey 2003); Change or Decay: Irish Catholicism 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

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
Irish-American fables of resistance
Eamonn Wall

  105 6 The poetry of accumulation: Irish-​American fables of resistance Eamonn Wall 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 Irish Catholicism 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, it

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
Irish priests and the unravelling of a culture
Eamon Maher

Hierarchy, Vincent Twomey’s The End of Irish Catholicism?, Mark Patrick Hederman’s Kissing the Dark and Underground Cathedrals and Brendan Hoban’s Change or Decay: Irish Catholicism 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 fictionalised. The chapter will argue, therefore, that when one is closely aligned to an institution like the Catholic Church, as priests inevitably are, it is

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism