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Patrick supposedly drove the snakes from Ireland and converted pagan festivals into Christian ones, Cullen modernised a church that the suppression of Catholicism had turned into an untended garden. Priests of the previous generation had been active in politically mobilising Catholics and active in supervising their education, but expressions of religious worship – celebrations of the sacraments and funerals – were not housed in churches to the extent these came to be under Cullen’s influence. A number of chapters emphasise Cullen’s influence upon Catholicism in

in Irish adventures in nation-building
Abstract only
Ireland’s referendum and the journey from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft

‘replaced in its functions the previously dominant ideological State apparatus, the Church’ (Althusser 2001: 154). By making marriage central to the Gemeinschaft of Ireland, such ideological conformity was ensured from the beginning of the State. Marriage in Ireland was largely sacramental, as already noted, but it was also generative of other sacraments for the children of such marriages. Therefore, marriage engendered the baptism of the child, the sacrament of penance, followed by that of first communion and then later confirmation. Ideally, the children would then

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
A time of hope!

the school, and nourished by active participation in the Christian sacraments and regular attendance at mass and other religious exercises (such as pilgrimages). The council’s liturgical 93   94 94 Tracing change and setting the context reforms, however necessary in themselves, were carried out in a way that impoverished the celebration of the mass, the very core of Irish Catholic spirituality, and practically wiped out traditional devotions, once the lifeblood of Irish Catholic life. In more recent years, the scandals caused first by a bishop being found to

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

interdiction on the display of any religious symbols in state-​subsidised schools, and religion is increasingly relegated to a largely private affair for those who still wish to practise it. Priests in France have therefore been dealing a lot longer with a secular state apparatus than their Irish counterparts and have developed various strategies for ministering to an ever-​decreasing number of people attending mass and the sacraments.This chapter will analyse the extent to which some French and Irish priests have attempted to grapple in their writings with a changed

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
Silent and betrayed

elderly man was not where the Catholic Church was at any more’. This comment exemplifies the challenge that the Catholic Church in Ireland faces and especially the person in the pew, when the lacuna in theological knowledge is so enormous that priests such as this are ignorant of even the basics of the Catholic tradition. Reducing the nature and purpose of the sacrament of reconciliation to an elderly man in a dark room is entirely secular, superficial and dismissive while masquerading as faux progressiveness, on a par with the utterances of our worst politicians

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism
The fraught relationship between women and the Catholic Church in Ireland

The Telegraph, ‘Women attempting to be priests, and those who try to ordain them, already faced automatic excommunication but the new decree enshrines the action as “a crime against sacraments” ’ (The Telegraph, 15 July 2010). The same body charged with investigating child-​ abuse cases was now in charge of investigating the ‘crime against sacraments’ that included any actions in terms of women and the priesthood. The Church, therefore, was focused on the shoring up of tradition rather than on introspection or a questioning of its practices. Given the zealousness

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

, reflects on the many-​sided role that her Catholic upbringing played in her formation as woman and writer: Those names come very easily to my mind –​names learned in childhood, memorised in childhood. They form one of those lists, those catalogues that made the blood race with the buildup. So many catalogues there were in the church I grew up in, so many lists: seven capital sins, three theological virtues and four moral ones, seven sacraments, seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. A kind of poetry of accumulation, gaining power like an avalanche from its own momentum. (Gordon

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism

comparative perspective, weekly Mass attendance in Ireland is still relatively high; it is higher than the 31 per cent of US Catholics who attend Mass weekly, and far higher than the numbers observed in the UK and Western Europe over the past four decades.16 The Irish have certainly not disavowed their Catholic identity. In the April 2011 Census, 84 per cent identified as Catholic; and large proportions continue to believe in God and the sacraments, and find personal support in their faith.17 Their increased absence from Mass, however – a trend that is especially evident

in Are the Irish different?
Church, State and modernity in contemporary Ireland

following Irish Independence.While the Church did much good –​educating children, caring for the sick, marking life’s stages through sacraments, forging communal bonds, linking people to the transcendent –​its close relationship with the State was, as Linda Hogan writes, ‘detrimental to both’ (2003: 111). Political power was corrupting. For Mark Patrick Hederman, the fusion of Church and State created ‘something of a police state’ with an ‘authoritarian’ character, one that tried to enforce a distorted version of human life that was ‘so narrow and so pure that it left out

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism

nineteenth century, lacked the human and material resources to address the spiritual needs of the often only nominally Catholic population. Low ratios of clergy to laity in this pre-​Famine period were aggravated by lapses of clerical discipline in some dioceses, and, in many regions, levels of lay compliance with canonical obligations such as mass attendance or receiving the sacraments were poor. (David Miller later corroborated this picture by demonstrating that nearly universal weekly mass attendance was largely confined before the Famine to the relatively affluent

in Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism