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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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Shattered assumptions: a tale of two traumas

Shattered assumptions: a tale of two traumas

(p.47) 3 Shattered assumptions: a tale of two traumas
From prosperity to austerity

Brendan Geary

Manchester University Press

The demise of the Celtic Tiger has shattered a set of assumptions regarding the identity of the ‘New Ireland’, and this chapter explores how the Child Sexual Abuse crisis has had a similar shattering effect effect on the role and perception of the Irish Catholic Church. Geary explores the profound consequences of this crisis for the sense of Irish identity and the place of religion in Irish life. The process of secularization and the demise of folk religion were already under way, but the abuse crisis both hastened the change and demolished beliefs of clergy and many lay people regarding the nature and role of the Church. Making use of Fowler's stages of faith as an analytical lens, the chapter suggests that Ireland, until the end of the twentieth century, was at ‘stage 3’ of faith development, a period that is characterised by conformity. That social conformity has shifted to a different Ireland, with different values. There has been a shift of interest by some people to ‘spirituality’ rather than ‘religious practice’; this is one element in a transition to a smaller, less socially powerful church, as it requires a new religious language and identity and church leaders are not prepared for this.

Keywords:   Child sexual abuse scandal, faith development, folk religion, Fowler, Irish identity, ‘New Ireland’, secularization

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