The war, the poor, the Church and the state, 1939–45
Irish social policy’.12 An essential part of
this story is the relationship forged between certain members of the Department of Local Government and Public Health and the Archbishop of Dublin.
In this context it is possible to analyse the changing relationship between
the Irish state and the IrishCatholicChurch in the era of modern welfare
provision that prefigured the mother-and-child controversy of the 1950s.
There is little doubt that McQuaid entered the field of social services in
general, and maternity services in particular, in order to counteract the
seemed to waive the
very principle and goal of non-discrimination to start with.
Over the past decade (as we saw in Chapter 4), the IrishCatholicChurch has
constantly reaffirmed the principle that a Catholic ethos should permeate all
aspects of school life. In a memorandum addressed to Minister for Education
Batt O’Keeffe in September 2008, representatives of church interests in the
field of education in Ireland (the Bishops’ Education Commission, the Catholic
School Managers’ Association and the CORI) took up this idea once again:
Catholic schools are communities
. This abuse did not
represent a failure of the system but was endemic to it; as Ryan
observes, ‘abuse occurred in the Institutions’ and ‘the Institutions in
themselves were abusive’.3 Likewise, the three reports on the failure of
the Catholic Church to adequately confront the sexual abuse of children
by some of its priests, along with the testimony of their victims, have
thoroughly discredited the IrishCatholicChurch as an authority on
human sexuality.4 Throughout the twentieth century, as Ursula Barry
and Clair Wills note, ‘the Catholic Church in Ireland played a
Church, State and modernity in contemporary Ireland
David Carroll Cochran
-the-church-in-ireland (accessed 19 August 2015).
——(2011) ‘ “Keeping the Show on the Road”: Is this the Future of the IrishCatholicChurch?’, Address to the Cambridge Group for Irish Studies, Magdalene College,
Cambridge, 22 February, available at www.catholicbishops.ie/2011/02/22/address-
cambridge (accessed 19 August 2015).
McDonagh, Enda (2003) ‘Church-State Relations in Independent Ireland’, in James P.
Mackey and Enda McDonagh (eds.), Religion and Politics in Ireland at the Turn of the
to minimise and sometimes deny
the prevailing crisis in the IrishCatholicChurch’ by asking who will actually say
mass for the people in another decade or two:
Suddenly there it was, like a pearl glistening in a clearance, demanding our attention. It isn’t, of course, the only question that needs to be asked as our Church faces
a difficult future, but it is of immediate and critical concern. For, at most, we have a
window of a decade or so to come to terms with this imminent crisis. And unless we
do a Eucharist famine will prevail in Ireland as parishes without
The fraught relationship between women and the Catholic Church in Ireland
(accessed 1 November 2014).
Beale, Jenny (1986) Women in Ireland: Voices of Change, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
Conroy, Pauline (2004) ‘Maternity Confined in the Struggle for Fertility Control’, in
Patricia Kennedy (ed.), Motherhood in Ireland: Creation and Context, Cork: Mercier,
Donnelly, James S. (2002) ‘The Troubled Contemporary IrishCatholicChurch’, in
Brendan Bradshaw and Daire Keogh (eds.), Christianity in Ireland: Revisiting the Story,
Dublin: Columba, pp. 271–86.
Fahey, Tony (1992) ‘Catholicism and Industrial
elites moved rightwards by embracing a callous neo-liberalism. It is not unlikely
that the IrishCatholicChurch will, despite its antipathy to sexual and gender
policies embraced by the left, also find itself impelled to move in liberal-left
directions as the once socially conservative and overtly Catholic parties, Fianna
Fáil and Fine Gael, become more openly neo-liberal and secular and espouse an
aggressive neo-liberal capitalism. Declining authority and less cosy church–state
relations are wholly compatible with increased Catholic critical
as there were four
provinces in the kingdom, and two kinds of Catholics, natives
(aborigines) and those of English descent, ‘reason itself suggested that
these divisions should be taken into consideration in all Confederate
government’.69 Certainly if there were four places on an ecclesiastical committee, two members would tend to be English Irish and
two Gaelic Irish.
In 1648 the IrishCatholicchurch, an institution which had
developed over the previous half century out of the medieval
churches ‘among the Irish’ and ‘among the English’, failed to
It added that even Father Kenyon,
who was well known for his uncompromising pronouncements, had given
Lalor ‘a cool reception’.7 Only two weeks later though, The Times chided
the Catholic clergy for seeking a prominent role in the negotiations
between government and the prisoners, and between government and the
To some extent, the Church’s disapproval was not unexpected, especially in the aftermath of the violent ‘June Days’ in France. Moreover,
throughout the nineteenth century, the IrishCatholicChurch hierarchy
had proved to an implacable enemy
hypothesised that a concern for the religious welfare of the departed
may have coloured clerical condemnation of the exodus, there has
been little substantiating analysis of the pastoral response of the IrishCatholicChurch to the mass out-movement of their congregations.33
Examination of what the Freeman’s Journal termed ‘priests for the
emigrants’ has instead been the almost exclusive preserve of ecclesiastical historians, often moonlighting clergy, who have arguably
treated the subject of the pastoral response of the Catholic Church