A notable development the past few decades has been the steady erosion of the majority religion in Ireland. Where once the Catholic Church played a prominent (some might say unhealthy) role in the public and private lives of most of the population, we have now reached the stage where, for example, levels of practice in parts of Dublin are well below 10%. The dearth of vocations to the priesthood and the ageing profile of most clergy have led to serious difficulties in running some parishes. There is no longer any social capital to be gained from being perceived to be a ‘good Catholic.’
In the midst of this crisis, one wonders what plan the Irish Bishops, as leaders of the Church in Ireland, have put in place to improve the situation. This book examines the current state of Catholicism in Ireland, how we got to this position, how it feels to be part of contemporary Catholicism in Ireland, and how some of our writers and artists have treated the subject in recent times.
The contributors include clergy, educators, journalists, academics and artists who have something of significance to say about their experience of contemporary Catholicism. The overall aim of the book is to contribute to an on-going debate about what must be done to create a credible and constructive future for the church in Ireland.
About the Author
Eamon Maher is Director of the National Centre for Franco-Irish Studies in ITT Dublin (Tallaght) where he also lectures in Humanities. John Littleton, a priest of the Diocese of Cashel and Emly, is the head of Distance Education at The Priory Institute, Tallaght, Dublin.