The end of Catholic Ireland? @ESRCFestivalNI

The end of Catholic Ireland?  by Allan LEONARD 6 November 2018 In what Alan Meban described the event as a symposium (“but don’t say it was in a bar” [The Dark Horse Inn]), Dr Gladys Ganiel, a sociologist of religion from Queen’s University Belfast, laid out quantitative and qualitative findings about the apparent secularisation process in Ireland. This was discussed by fellow panellists Pádraig Ó Tuama (poet, theologian and leader of Corrymeela) and Professor Margaret O’Callaghan (historian, Queen’s University Belfast). …

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Doctrine and Decline? Irish Churches and the Conservative Turn

This would be a very good time to train as a humanist celebrant in Ireland. Who else is going to marry and bury the queers and the Yes voters and those living in sin? It’s interesting that at a time when many ordinary Catholics and Protestants are developing more nuanced religious beliefs and practices, some in the institutional churches are careering the other way. Denying full membership. Refusing to baptise kids. Hoking around people’s facebook pages to decide if they’re …

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Is it time for the churches to become more Christian?

Cathal O’Hagan is a Monaghan native and law graduate, currently doing an MA in Conflict Transformation at QUB. Just like there isn’t momentum for a re-prohibition on contraception; or mood for re-implementing a ban on divorce, the penny will soon finally drop that debates over marriage equality and abortion are not the way for churches to regain influence in Ireland. Churches can either continue with the prominence they give to so-called “moral” issues, or they can refocus on the core …

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On The Doors: Sinn Fein Manifesto, Diver Interview & the Catholic Church

The next weekly instalment of On The Doors with Irish News Political Correspondent, John Manley and this week we were joined by Security Correspondent, Allison Morris. This week we talked about the Sinn Fein manifesto, Labour and the Catholic Church.   David McCannDavid McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

Another Societal Milestone Passed; What Next for Progressing Ireland?

Last Saturday’s overwhelmingly positive referendum outcome in support of constitutional recognition for same-sex marriage was a great result for progress, equality, liberty, inclusion, rights for everyone and all things good in Ireland. It was a proud and historic moment for Irish society generally and especially for those Irish citizens living in the Republic who had and positively utilised the residential privilege to vote. To think homosexual acts were only decriminalised in the state 22 years ago in 1993… Having found themselves under the repressive moral and …

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“To interfere with the definition of marriage is not a simple or a trivial matter” – Archbishop Martin

Whilst some political parties are being pilloried in Northern Ireland, the chief super-naturalist head of the Catholic Church in Ireland [That’s North and South? – Ed], Archbishop Eamon Martin, has issued a statement [pdf file] of the church’s opposition to a proposed change to the Irish Constitution on same-sex marriage. From the RTÉ report [Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin] said: “Until now, Ireland has accepted that it is in the best interests of children and of society to promote …

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Remembering the comic with 9-and-a-half fingers – and why he still matters

The man looks so cool and self-assured: sleekly besuited, seated on stage, cigarette in one hand, glass of whiskey on the rocks (except it wasn’t – it was actually ginger ale with ice, but hey, that’s television mythmaking for you) on a small side table, utterly confident of his audience’s attention. David Tynan O’Mahony – or, to give him his more familiar professional name, Dave Allen – may have left us exactly ten years ago, but the image and memory …

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Can social conservativism redefine political division in Northern Ireland?

You might think listening to some of Northern Ireland’s commentators that in every instance any centre right case for freedom is doomed against a centre left case for equality since the latter is already a done deal: ie, that the centre right loses not simply on merit but because they have no popular support. Yet the largest and (at least by the limited terms of elective democracy) the most successful political party in Northern Ireland is also the least loved by the media. Increasingly it …

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Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín: “I have no doubt that in the IRA modus operandi of the time that people were moved…”

With the out-going MP for Newry and Armagh, Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy, declaring his ignorance of alleged abusers in the republican movement being moved out of Northern Ireland – BBC report “I’ve never heard that in all my life as a republican,” [Conor Murphy] said. …it’s worth extracting from the Fireman’s post some quotes from the interview on Newstalk Breakfast with Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín – who, according to the SF website, is a “current member of the Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle.”  Here’s …

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Bishop John McAreavey: “Political representatives must answer for their own position on abortion…”

As the BBC reports, Sinn Féin’s Paul Maskey, MP for west Belfast, has apologised to the Catholic Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, for the misrepresentation of his views on abortion in “a letter written by local party members and distributed in west Belfast”.  Here’s the quoted apology in the BBC report – not yet available on the Sinn Féin website. [Mr Maskey said the literature was issued by local representatives in west Belfast on the issue of abortion in response to queries from constituents. …

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The Pope is still a Catholic but maybe one like John XX111

There’s no doubt of the instant secular and humanist appeal of Pope Francis’s interview with a Jesuist magazine .  The pope has attempted to change the whole direction of modern Catholicism.. Not since Khruschev denounced Stalin at the 20th Communist party conference has there been such a reforming speech-. That was the speech that tore away the veil of official  adulation from  the monster Stalin in 1956 three years after his death,  followed quickly by the expedient execution of mass murderer …

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Is the Catholic Church’s hard line on abortion legislation an acceptance that its influence over the Irish state is over?

There are some interesting twists in the abortion debate in the Republic. As Michael Kelly of the Irish Catholic newspaper noted yesterday Armagh’s new-boy-to-be Eamonn Martin has been clear in ways his soon-to-be predecessor Sean Brady never was. As he also added, Rome will be pleased. And as Kelly rightly observes, polls can be wrong, especially if there is a referendum coming up: Ipsos MRBI told us 4pc would oppose children’s rights referendum. 42pc voted against it. #justsaying — Michael …

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How well does the Catholic church understand its own teaching on abortion?

This is well worth noting before it passes over us, on the question of abortion in the south. James P Mackey is visiting professor at the school of religions and theology at Trinity College. And he’s been looking back at some of his old Catholic textbooks from Maynooth: The Roman Catholic hierarchy has formally stated its position on abortion by declaring definitively that the direct and intentional killing of the unborn is immoral. Yet, my dog-eared old Maynooth textbook tells …

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A manifesto for enlightened Catholicism

From the always inspiring Hans Kung, one of two surviving theologians of Vatican 2, the other being Joseph Ratzinger. True ecumenism.  One shouldn’t be misled by the media hype of grandly staged papal mass events or by the wild applause of conservative Catholic youth groups. Behind the facade, the whole house is crumbling. In this dramatic situation the church needs a pope who’s not living intellectually in the Middle Ages, who doesn’t champion any kind of medieval theology, liturgy or church …

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Catholic Church is struggling with serial exposure of its private values more than homosexuality

Fintan O’Toole hits the nail on the head over Keith O’Brien, and the church’s problematic stand on homosexuality (no sniggering Anglicans and etc others, please)… …in the end, the church’s double life in relation to homosexuality is just cruel. Some priests manage maintaining two different personas very well. Some perhaps even take a kind of pleasure in it. But for some, even at the very top of the clerical tree, it is an appalling strain. When the desire to touch …

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Pope Benedict XVI: “with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome”

For anyone seriously concerned with his “legacy”, the surprise announcement by Pope Benedict XVI, of his intention to renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome “as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours”, deserves a more considered approach.  For example, following on from his initial response, at the Telegraph Blogs Damian Thompson reproduces the Catholic Herald’s “10 reasons why Catholics should give thanks for the Pope’s ministry”.  As Damian Thompson adds,  I don’t expect non-Catholics, or even all Catholics, to agree with …

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Home Rule, Rome Rule and Gay Marriage

Last September, Unionists paraded in their tens of thousands through Belfast to celebrate the centenary of the Ulster Covenant. From the days of Lilibullero in the 17th Century, Ulster Protestantism has always had a particular genius for summing up its political causes in easily remembered ditties and catchphrases. Perhaps the easiest slogan to remember of all from that era is “Home Rule is Rome Rule”. That encapsulated the fears that Irish self-government would inevitably lead to a clericalised, priest-ridden state. …

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The moment of quickening

Patsy McGarry has an interesting article in the Irish Times today on the surprisingly fluid nature of the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion: … some of the church’s greatest teachers and saints believed no homicide was involved if abortion took place before the foetus was infused with a soul, known as “ensoulment”. This was believed to occur at “quickening”, when the mother detected the child move for the first time in her womb. In 1591, Pope Gregory XIV determined it …

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Catholic Post-Primary Education Reform: “I am anxious to try to build consensus on the way forward”

Following on from the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education (NICCE) belated publication of its Post-Primary Review Strategic Regional Report, individual dioceses are bringing forward their suggestions.  The first one out of the blocks appears to concern Catholic maintained schools in Londonderry. The Derry Diocese Administrator, Monsignor Eamon Martin, has published “Together Towards Tomorrow – a discussion paper re Post-Primary Education in the Derry City Area”.  [Direct link to 9mb pdf file here].   This Discussion Paper explains the opportunities offered in a ‘partnership’ …

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Why did the Vatican think a mere “study document” was sufficient response?

The Vatican’s response to Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s power Dail speech has finally dropped on the mat. It’s quite a lengthy and detailed response (full text for those with the time). Unsurprisingly it rejects Kenny’s assertion that the Vatican was at fault. As Siobhan Brett notes in the Sunday Business Post: The Vatican response takes particular exception to the Taoiseach’s accusation that the Holy See ‘‘attempted to frustrate an inquiry as little as three years ago, not three decades ago’’, saying …

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