This chapter describes the Irish Catholic Church as both a bureaucratic hierarchal institution and transnational network that promotes migrant integration and welfare via 'network-making power'. It begins by discussing the complex negotiation of national and transnational frames of reference within the Catholic Church and how these dynamics are configured with reference to church teaching on ministry to migrants. The chapter also describes the Irish Catholic Church, first, as a sending and secondly, as a receiving church. It explains the role of the church as a key civil society actor in shaping the meanings of immigration, especially with regard to 'vulnerable' migrants. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the church's network-making power in shaping meanings of and responses to (em/im)migration through its own transnational network but also as a node in a wider network organized around the goal of migrant integration.
This chapter briefly reviews key debates in Transnational Studies (TS) and Diaspora Studies (DS) before discussing the particular contribution of DS in framing 1990s study of migrant and non-migrant Irish women. As in migration studies more generally, the literature in both TS and DS has only belatedly addressed questions of gender and sexuality. The 1990s saw a proliferation of studies across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences variously invoking the terms transnational(ism) and diaspora in accounting for migration and associated phenomena including transgenerational ethnic identities and cross-border practices. Feminist and queer theory scholarship in Irish DS has begun to address the gender and sexual politics of diaspora by attending to the dynamics of boundary expansion, queering and dissolution. However, the heteronormative logic of Irish diasporic belonging remains hegemonic.