Abstract only

Tracing the cultural legacy of Irish Catholicism

From Galway to Cloyne and beyond

Edited by: Eamon Maher and Eugene O’Brien

This book engages with the spectacular disenchantment with Catholicism in Ireland over the relatively short period of four decades. It begins with the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979 and in particular his address to young people in Galway, where the crowd had been entertained beforehand by two of Ireland’s most celebrated clerics, Bishop Eamon Casey and Fr Michael Cleary, both of whom were engaged at the time in romantic affairs that resulted in the birth of children. It will be argued that the Pope’s visit was prompted by concern at the significant fall in vocations to priesthood and the religious life and the increasing secularism of Irish society.

The book then explores the various referenda that took place during the 1980s on divorce and abortion which, although they resulted in victories for the Church, demonstrated that their hold on the Irish public was weakening. The clerical abuse scandals of the 1990s were the tipping point for an Irish public which was generally resentful of the intrusive and repressive form of Catholicism that had been the norm in Ireland since the formation of the State in the 1920s.

Boasting an impressive array of contributors from various backgrounds and expertise, the essays in the book attempt to delineate the exact reasons for the progressive dismantling of the cultural legacy of Catholicism and the consequences this has had on Irish society. Among the contributors are Patricia Casey, Joe Cleary, Michael Cronin, Louise Fuller, Patsy McGarry, Vincent Twomey and Eamonn Wall.

Abstract only

Cara Delay

Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism is the only book-length study of lay Catholic women in modern Irish history. Focusing on the pivotal century from 1850 to 1950, it analyses the roles that middle-class, working-class, and rural poor lay women played in the evolution of Irish Catholicism and thus the creation of modern Irish identities. This project demonstrates that in an age of Church growth and renewal stretching from the aftermath of the Great Famine through the early years of the Irish Republic, lay women were essential to all aspects of Catholic devotional life, including both home-based religion and public Catholic rituals. It also reveals that women, by rejecting, negotiating, and reworking Church dictates, complicated Church and clerical authority. Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism re-evaluates the relationship between the institutional Church, the clergy, and women, positioning lay Catholic women as central actors in the making of modern Ireland. It also contests views that the increasing power of the Catholic Church caused a uniform decline in Irish women’s status after the Great Famine of the 1840s, revealing that middle-class, working-class, and rural poor lay women fought with their priests, dominated household religion, and led parish rituals, thus proving integral to the development of a modern Irish Catholic ethos and culture.

Abstract only

Dethroning Irish Catholicism

Church, State and modernity in contemporary Ireland

David Carroll Cochran

  53 3 Dethroning Irish Catholicism: Church, State and modernity in contemporary Ireland David Carroll Cochran In his essay A Catholic Modernity?, the Canadian Catholic philosopher Charles Taylor reflects on how modern secularism’s process of ‘dethroning’ Catholicism, of gradually disentangling the Church from the dominant institutions of societies where it long held political and social power, has paradoxically extended many of Catholicism’s core commitments and liberated it to find a new and creative voice within modernity. Taylor is reacting to a general

Abstract only

Vincent Twomey

  89 5 Contemporary Irish Catholicism: A time of hope! Vincent Twomey So-​called traditional Irish Catholicism is largely the product of historical and cultural processes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as I have tried to point out in The End of Irish Catholicism? (Twomey 2003). It had many weaknesses. However, it also had many strengths. New religious orders, such as the Irish Christian Brothers, the Presentation and Mercy Sisters, were founded in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by remarkable men and women such as Blessed Edmund Rice, the

Abstract only

English Catholicism reconsidered

Beyond ‘ghettos’ and ‘golden ages’

Alana Harris

Chapter 2 English Catholicism reconsidered Beyond ‘ghettos’ and ‘golden ages’ Fiddle with your rosaries Bow your head with great respect And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect On 31 October 1949, The Times ran an article entitled ‘Catholicism To-Day’ which purported to offer a ‘tentative review of the present position and immediate prospects of the largest and most influential of the Christian communions’1 comprised of 3.5 million Catholics in the United Kingdom, and 15.5 million more throughout the British Commonwealth.2 In a lively and often heated correspondence

Abstract only

Catholicism and españolismo

From the ancien régime to Fernando VII

José Álvarez-Junco

6 Catholicism and españolismo: from the ancien régime to Fernando VII The shouts and cheers of those that rose up against the French during the summer of 1808 did not acclaim the Spanish nation but the king, Fernando VII, and, above all, Catholicism. Fray Simón López recalls that ‘the cry of the nation . . . resounded everywhere’, but adds that it was a cry of ‘long live Religion, long live the Church, long live the Virgin, long live God, long live Fernando VII, death to Napoleon, death to the French’. This rousing exclamation would be heard later with only

Abstract only

Michele Dillon

4147 Inglis–Are the Irish different_BB_Layout 1 29/07/2014 09:26 Page 110 11 The difference between Irish and American Catholicism Michele Dillon When, during the historic papal visit in 1979, Pope John Paul II and the archbishop of Dublin Dr Dermot Ryan – a tall, lean man of aloof bearing – were riding down O’Connell Street, Dublin, atop the then novel Popemobile, the story goes that an unabashedly direct Moore Street trader woman shouted to Ryan, ‘Sit down lanky. It’s not you we’ve come to see.’ This heckle was recounted repeatedly, prompted by mirth at the

Abstract only

Louise Fuller

, who had been secretary to Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and John Paul II, resigned as a result. In 1979, all had seemed well in Irish Catholicism, and the enthusiasm surrounding the Pope’s visit would have conveyed that to any outside observer. A  comprehensive survey of values and attitudes in the mid-​ 1970s recorded that 91 per cent of Irish Catholics attended mass weekly (Catholic Communications Institute of Ireland 1975:  71). But cracks were beginning to appear as early as the 1950s and certainly in the 1960s. However, the period addressed here, 1979 to 2011

Abstract only

Prophetic voices or complicit functionaries?

Irish priests and the unravelling of a culture

Eamon Maher

Hierarchy, Vincent Twomey’s The End of Irish Catholicism?, Mark Patrick Hederman’s Kissing the Dark and Underground Cathedrals and Brendan Hoban’s Change or Decay: Irish Catholicism in Crisis and Who Will Break Bread for Us? Unlike Sulivan, the Irish priests did/​do not write fiction, but in many ways Sulivan’s novels were very close reflections of his personal experience and contain many characters that are barely fictionalised. The chapter will argue, therefore, that when one is closely aligned to an institution like the Catholic Church, as priests inevitably are, it is

Abstract only

‘Belief shifts’

Ireland’s referendum and the journey from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft

Eugene O’Brien

Irish Catholicism, in essence this visit marked the end of an era’ (Littleton and Maher 2010: 7). Vocations had already begun to decline in the 1970s, and the gradual permeation of the BBC and ITV channels across the country, as opposed to just the eastern seaboard, meant that orthodox opinion was no longer the only voice heard in the media. By the 1980s and 1990s, these channels were now becoming more widespread across Ireland. People now had an element of choice in terms of forming their attitudes, and where heretofore the voices they heard were almost univocal