Once there was Faith in Ireland.
(11-18-2011, 12:37 PM)Retrolives Wrote: I agree Scriptorium, there has been a nosedive.

When I grew up in the late 1980s being Irish and Catholic were synonymous. Prayer in school, taught by priests in primary school who unambigously condemned abortion divorce and homosexuality in religion class, the works.... there was a distinct Irish Catholic identity that everyone was proud of.

Now I think of myself as Catholic, but I don't know what being Irish means any more. My nation is the universal Church as always, but Irish people like Spanish have completely forgotten everything about their history and traditions. We are born to consume and die, that's it. And seeing men and women who have possibly dozens of anscestors who became priests and nuns and countless others who died for the faith denouncing the Church as the greatest evil is clearly very upsetting.

This link between Irish identity and Catholicism has now been severed for many if not most, the majority of Irish people do not recognise the Church and cannot relate to it in any way.

With the loss of the liturgy, the Irish Church still had its rich history and reputation of standing up to injustice. With the abuse crisis they lost the moral high-ground and now they have nothing to offer. As such Irish people have had a catastrophic loss of identity, so their demise might be faster than elsewhere because they have gone from a deeply spiritual people to an atheistic world view so quickly. They will not schism. They will not look for a new religion. If there's one thing an Irish atheist knows is that protestantism went nowhere, its either Catholicism or nothing, and thus huge swathes of Ireland have chosen nothing.

This really resonanted with my own experiences. I remember growing up as a child (and I'm not old at all)  and maintaining a very strong sense of an Irish Catholic identity. Now that world seems so alien to me. All those old assumptions have simply vanished. While Vatican II did untold damage to the faith in Ireland, certain important remnants remained intact for a long time afterwards. The abuse scandals have probably not been as significant  a factor in the decline as the media makes out, but they have greatly affected the Church's prestige, which was once very considerable.

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