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Irish Catholic Identities$
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Oliver P. Rafferty

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097317

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097317.001.0001

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Northern Catholics and the early years of the Troubles

Northern Catholics and the early years of the Troubles

(p.345) 21 Northern Catholics and the early years of the Troubles
Irish Catholic Identities

Oliver P. Rafferty

Manchester University Press

One dimension highlighted in the recent Troubles in Northern Ireland was the struggle between an authoritarian ecclesiastical hierarchy and a violent dissident group whose members were, at least nominally, Catholic. That contest was, so to speak, for the soul of the Catholic community, in circumstances where the church claimed that it alone knew what was best for the Irish people. This occurred against a background of social disintegration and disregard for churchmen and church teaching. In a sense the Republicans claimed that theirs was the authentic voice of Northern Catholicism not that of the hierarchy. Faced by hostility from the British administration and the IRA, the church was unable to be a completely effective instrument for peace and reconciliation. Its relative impotence made the IRA seem the only dynamic force in society

Keywords:   Troubles bishops IRA conflict government

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