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Everything you need to know about Ireland's disaffected Catholics - The Week

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Quite a situation.  Seems inevitable when you over-control sex.

Is there something particular to Ireland?

Just that it is such a sharp change that few would have predicted.  Instructive about what can happen.  The interesting question is whether it can happen in the Middle East and elsewhere.

How Catholic was Ireland? It used to be easily the most Catholic country in the world....In Ireland, the church, not the state, runs almost the entire education system. Until recently, social life, too, revolved around the local church. In 1984, nearly 90 percent of Irish Catholics went to Mass every week. But by 2011, only 18 percent did. It's a massive cultural shift.In Dublin, there are just two priests under the age of may be too late to reverse Ireland's secular tide. "No one doubts that a growing anti-Catholic element exists in Irish society," "The church has provided its enemies with weapons of mass destruction. It has no one to blame but itself."Northern Ireland, tooOnce the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 ended the armed struggle, religious adherence began to fade as political polarization eased. Now, overt religiosity is widely seen as backward — as a form of resistance to peace. "There's no stigma in not going to church," said William Crawley, a Presbyterian minister in Belfast. "In fact, there's a stigma to going. Parents need to explain why they are sending their children to church."

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