Ireland is no longer a Catholic country

Dear Editor, Archbishop Michael Neary has been the subject of some unwarranted criticism regarding his homily to the Association of Papal Orders in Ireland (IC 13/11/2014). He spoke not of the death rattle of Catholicism or of Christianity in Ireland, but the death rattle of Christendom in Ireland. The end of that “shared set of assumptions about life and its purpose, reflected in use of language, in culture and in the law”.

It is obvious to anyone who has the slightest knowledge of the country that he is right. The establishment who rule Ireland whether in politics, the media or academia are at best indifferent to, or at worst actively hostile to faith. It would be difficult to name more than a handful of senior politicians, journalists, business leaders or academics who would publicly call themselves practising Catholics. Ireland is no longer a Catholic country, rather it is a country with a still significant though no longer Catholic influential minority.

That said we should not be too complacent about the survival of the Faith in Ireland. Christ’s promise that the gates of Hell would not prevail was made to the Church as a whole not to the Church in Ireland. North Africa was once a Catholic stronghold, it is no longer. The Middle East was the cradle of the Faith, it is now almost empty of Christians. The same could happen here, though I would hope that it would not.

The first step to ensuring that such as fate does not befall the Church in Ireland is to coldly assess the challenges facing the Church and act to meet these challenges. The archbishop’s homily is an important part of that analysis and deserves to be taken as such.

Yours etc.,

Seamus Mulconry,

Greenane, Co. Wicklow.