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Signing off

, interest in The Bell by the Irish academic and cultural elite. Yet O’Faoláin was not only disappointed with the format and content of the magazine, he would later question its entire validity as a project. The very things that now define The Bell in popular memory had failed according to O’Faoláin. His constant criticisms of the government, his run-ins with the Irish Catholic Church and his struggle to nurture Irish literary talent were instead symptomatic of his own sense of failure, failure to become the writer he had hoped to be in his youth: To return to change and

in Rebel by vocation

with the sacred, its paganism that has resisted all efforts at Christianisation, his own included. The Irish Catholic Church has sought to repress the pagan rituals of the ancestral Celtic culture, represented in the play by the Lughnasa festival and its bonfires and animal sacrifices, but in Ryanga, pagan rituals and ceremonies still permit a spiritual communion which does not deny the body. Jack’s tales of African customs – in which dancing, polygamy and love-children feature prominently – holds out an image of a world in which the sexual energy of women is neither

in Irish literature since 1990
Having one’s cake and eating it too

. Roughly the same period also saw the escalation of the Irish Catholic Church abuse scandal, 5 precipitating a pastoral letter of apology from Pope Benedict XVI in March 2010. Had Colegate been writing a decade later like Horowitz, she might have been less inclined to choose a clergyman for her novel’s protagonist, who not only discovers the abuse but is killed while helping to save some of the violated slum children from a fire set by the perpetrator. The clergyman’s self-sacrifice would have smacked of apologia. All too

in Interventions
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Sexuality, Irish moral politics and capitalist crisis,1920–40

2 Growing pains: sexuality, Irish moral politics and capitalist crisis, 1920–40 In 1927 the bishops of the Irish Catholic Church held a national conference at Maynooth. Afterwards, they issued a lengthy statement with instructions for this document to be read at all Catholic churches. The statement extends beyond strictly religious matters to give the bishops’ assessment of the social and economic condition of post-independence Ireland. One of the first sections in this statement is entitled ‘Perils in our Path’. These ‘perils’ in the path of the Irish people

in Impure thoughts
Easter 1916 and the advent of post-Catholic Ireland

those who rose on Easter Monday.7 As Backus makes clear, the Irish Catholic Church had held firm authority over Irish life and politics from the time of the religious renaissance that followed Catholic emancipation in 1829.8 For most Irish republican nationalists, therefore, the quest for sovereignty was a decidedly Catholic pursuit. According to Irish historical novelist John Banville, The rising was a Catholic affair, from top to bottom, and as such was unique in the annals of Irish revolutionism … With certain exceptions, [James] Connolly among them, the 1916

in Haunted historiographies
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. 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 Irish Catholic Church 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

in Impure thoughts

. His characters write in neat aphorisms about the (re)constructedness of historical narratives, prompting readers to question, as does Dr. Grene, ‘the written word [which] assumes authority but…may not have it.’65 Barry establishes his novel’s political significance via the intersection between Roseanne’s personal history and an Ireland beleaguered by the perpetually open wounds of colonial trauma and revolution. The Secret Scripture focuses on the unchecked authority by which the Irish Catholic Church rules over the haunted conscience of Irish individuals for much

in Haunted historiographies
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Taking the Green Road

that they would nevertheless have been better advised to model themselves after Ismene, Antigone’s sister, who was prepared to submit to the law of the land and to resist the realm of ritual and the Gods.78 But with ‘Antigone in Galway’, the classical tragedy is less clearly in view. Instead, we have an amalgam of contemporary horrors: the discovery of a mass grave and the exposure of yet more cruel and/or criminal treatment by the Irish Catholic church of its laity. Catholics, in this case, are now in the polar opposite condition to that in which O’Brien had placed

in Five Irish women
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Church and state in The Bell

Julia was unsure of the full extent of his commitment to the Irish Catholic Church, noting that ‘if he was Catholic at all, he was no longer a full time one’. Yet she does recognise that he died ‘yearning for a belief in an afterlife which had evaded him, and feeling the ire of a man who had paid his dues to a club [the Catholic Church] which welshes on commitments’.83 O’Faoláin’s stated rebellion against Catholicism was never as one-­ dimensional as now perceived, and through a review of the omissions and contradictions in his own writing a much more rounded picture

in Rebel by vocation