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From prosperity to austerityA socio-cultural critique of the Celtic Tiger and its aftermath$
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Eamon Maher and Eugene O'Brien

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719091674

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719091674.001.0001

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Crisis, what crisis? The Catholic Church during the Celtic Tiger years

Crisis, what crisis? The Catholic Church during the Celtic Tiger years

(p.19) 1 Crisis, what crisis? The Catholic Church during the Celtic Tiger years
From prosperity to austerity

Eamon Maher

Manchester University Press

This chapter traces the role of the Catholic Church in the Celtic Tiger period. It interrogates the commonly-held view that the Celtic Tiger hastened a wave of aggressive secularism that proved injurious to organised religion in Ireland. It argues that Catholicism's grip on Irish society was on the wane long before the advent of the Celtic Tiger.Charting the socio-cultural position of the Catholic Church from its apogee during the Eucharistic Congress of 1932, through gradual secularization in the 1960s, through the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979, and the clerical abuse scandals, Maher suggests that the process of change was gradual, albeit accelerated by the prosperity of the Celtic Tiger. Both before and during the years of unprecedented economic prosperity, there was continued questioning of the authority that the Church tried to wield over the private lives of individuals, particularly in the area of sexuality. Rather than seeing the current malaise in a negative light, however, some commentators would view it as a unique opportunity, and this chapter examines how this might prove to be the case and suggests possibilities for just such a reimagining of the role of the Church in Ireland.

Keywords:   Catholic Church, clerical abuse scandals, Eucharistic Congress, Pope John Paul II, secularization, sexuality

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