Catherine Maignant’s chapter deals with Tony Flannery, another Irish priest whose writings and liberal media pronouncements led to a caution from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which disqualifies him from publishing work or accepting invitations to express his views at public events without seeking prior permission from Rome. Maignant argues that Flannery has all the traits of a Christian witness, in that he is a prophet who appears to be reviled by certain forces within his own Church for daring the express unpalatable truths. Notwithstanding his censure, he has continued to write and to air his sometimes-daring opinions, all the while knowing that they could eventually lead to his excommunication.
Many assume that the Celtic Tiger was the root cause of the decline of religion as a hegemonic force in Irish society. Careful examination of data does not support this analysis, and this chapter argues that what has in effect occurred is that the Irish religious market has evolved from being monopolistic to becoming pluralist structure. Religious market theories argue that liberal and neo-liberal economic theories have their religious counterparts. Theorists thus defend the view that religious choice in a pluralist society is regulated by rational decisions based on supply and demand, competition and consumer needs. Religious products however have specificities, and faith implies that choice has an irrational dimension. Maignant analyses the nature of today's religious market in Ireland from the perspective of the Celtic Tiger values as echoed by religious market theories and by the post-secularization theory. The fusion of market terminology, market research analysis and objective accounting of the data offers a perspective on the place of the Church in Ireland that is highly original and innovative. It also offers a more objective perspective on the current state, and future trajectory, of the Catholic Church in a contemporary Irish context.