This book examines the changed, and changing, face of Irish Catholicism and Irish Catholic identity at the beginning of the third millennium. There has never been any formal philosophical training in the Irish educational system that allows space for the type of intellectual engagement with issues of a religious nature that characterises a society like France, for example. So Irish and Catholic? is in some ways an attempt to fill a void and to launch a debate that is absolutely necessary if we are to come to terms with a vastly changed socio-religious landscape that could effectively be termed as ‘post-Catholic.’
The essays are written by people who are both intimately associated with the Catholic Church in their role as priests and commentators, or who have an interest in the topic from a literary, theoretical or historical perspective. It is the different prisms and lenses through which the issue of Irish Catholic identity – or identities – is examined that makes this such a challenging and fascinating study. It avoids the danger of putting forward an apologia for the church or of embarking on an irrational attack on perceived abuses within the institution.
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