Tracing the transformation of Irish Catholicism through the eyes of a journalist
Patsy McGarry draws on the knowledge of the changed role of religion in Irish society that he has accumulated as religious affairs correspondent of The Irish Times through the troubled recent decades. He points out that until the Church hierarchy is prepared to acknowledge responsibility for their poor handling of the clerical abuse scandals and the pain inflicted on the survivors, there will be no healing. His treatment of the various scandals and the role of Irish bishops in trying to limit reputational damage to the Church, illustrate McGarry’s contention that the times are definitely ‘a changin’’ and they will continue to do so for some time to come in Ireland.
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.
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.
This chapter examines the special position women hold in a discussion of minority rights. They are seen as victims who need rescuing or as sexual exotic beings. This was as true under colonialism as it is now, particularly with regard to Muslim women. The logic of “civilising” is inherent to this logic, particularly expressed around what is seen as an inferior culture. Feminists are not exempt from this attitude. I examine the politics around the veiling issue in France, and forced marriages in Britain, as examples of this trend.
This chapter looks at the theory of citizenship through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It examines the practice and definition of multi-ethnic and multicultural citizenship in both Britain and France, especially in regard to postcolonial migrants and their children.
This chapter look at the hyphen between nation and state in the term in nation-state. It theorises that the nation is ideologically and culturally constructed as opposed to the state. Minorities have to be integrated in both formations. However while they are legally part of the state and are citizens, they are excluded from the nation at many levels. Thus they live a hyphenated existence, between two formations.
This chapter examines the security challenges as they have recently been articulated with regard to minorities. The fear of Islam, radicalisation and terrorism from Muslim populations is seen as a religious issue whereas the real issue is their lack of integration. Multi-generational poverty, a lack of education are still not being addressed. The chapter examines specific cases of armed violence and places them in the context of minority socio-economic problems. Secondly the chapter looks at the historical parallels between how native populations were treted under colonialism and how postcolonial minorities are treated now.
The book analyses why religious and racial minorities in Britain and France are unable to integrate into the nation-state. By examining their religious and cultural integration as well as their postcolonial status, I make the argument that historical attitudes towards postcolonial minorities make it very hard for them to be integrated into national life even as they become legal citizens.
This chapter examines how a religion like Islam and its rise to prominence has become a covert way to talk about race. This is both historically true and is being practiced in contemporary Europe. Islam has served as a category which combines religious and ethnic otherness. Fictive ethnicity has found a convenient opponent in the fictive otherness Islam represents. Islam has become useful shorthand for conflicting policies and exclusionary rhetoric, challenging the impulse to inclusion and assimilation in these countries.