Unveiling a new look

A new look The Irish Catholic 125 years on

You’ll notice a few changes to The Irish Catholic this week. We have been working on a new layout and re-design for some time. The aim is to make The Irish Catholic as accessible as possible for our 90,000-plus readers every week. We’re using new colours, shapes and more images that, we hope, will enhance the experience of readers.

Founded 125 years ago in 1888, the mission of The Irish Catholic was to give voice to the views of Irish Catholics about the pressing issues of the day. Today, 125 years later, while the circumstances have changed, that founding mission of the paper remains as relevant as it was in the testing days of the 19th Century.

When The Irish Catholic was first published, the Church was still coming to terms with the new freedoms associated with Catholic emancipation. The memory of the Great Famine was still fresh in the psyche and, indeed, many of those first readers of the newspaper were themselves survivors of that tragic period in Irish history.

In the late 19th Century, Irish Catholics sought to assert their rights and prerogatives in an often hostile culture. The Anglican Church of Ireland, though the faith of a tiny minority of the Irish people, had been the established Church just 20 years before The Irish Catholic was founded. In this milieu, Irish Catholicism often emerged as a symbiosis between Catholicism and nationalism with sometimes damaging consequences for both Church and society.

The first editorial of this newspaper in 1888 asserted confidently: “It is time that the sentiments of Irish Catholics should be boldly and faithfully spoken.”

The challenges facing Irish Catholicism have changed dramatically. But, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Irish Catholics have had a trying time: faith has been sorely tested by scandals in the Church. Yet, despite this, the time is still right for the sentiments of Irish Catholics to be boldly and faithfully spoken.

There are some voices – masquerading as icons of tolerance – who want to silence Catholics entirely. Against this backdrop, a culture among some that would seek to silence people of religious faith, Irish Catholics must continue to express loudly and with conviction their values to contribute to the common good of society.

The Irish Catholic will continue to reflect the various aspects and facets of the rich tapestry that is the Church and wider Catholic life in Ireland.