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This is an issue which I think leads to grave consternation for many good Christians. Sadly, it often appears that the Roman hierarchy is overly zealous about protecting its own hide and interests instead of that of the people. Preserving their offices against that of the whole church.

Such a shock for this to be occurring in Ireland, especially since the debut of the Ryan Report:
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— Besides Vietnam, Ireland had the greatest change in religiosity, down from 69 percent to 47 percent.

Poll shows atheism on rise in the U.S. [washingtonpost.com]

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I suspect this is the same through all western countries. The number of people in Australia who decribe themselves as having no religion on the national census is on the rise.

cool

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Remember that there were lot of nominal Catholics in Ireland, held in place by social pressure and the conflation of Catholicism and Irish identity. As for Vietnam, most of the Vietnamese Catholics left after 1975. A lot of them live near me.

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Just shows how nobody wants these kids to learn how important religion is in their lives. It's about time we brought back the need for this back into the Western World again. First off, we need the right government to encourage it, which is NOT going to happen with the regime we have now, if anything, this problem will only get worse if this president gets a second term. Next, we need to make sure that we mail out invitations to come back to the Church through mailings in the neighborhoods that parishes represent. There's not an easy solution, quite frankly, but...through the right encouragement, we may be able to get those back into prayer and brings morality in this world back to levels where they should be.

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If history is any guide, having government encourage religion is a sure way to get people either to walk away from religion, or to approach religion from a purely secular, utilitarian perspective.

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I'd prefer the government stay as far away from promoting religion as possible. As my fiancee and I recently learned at our Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend, parents are the primary teachers of faith in the household.

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Just shows how nobody wants these kids to learn how important religion is in their lives.

Sounds like Ike's apocryphal quote, "I want the American people to be religious, and I don't care what religion it is".

The fundamental reason people are leaving the Church in Ireland (aside from the Church's own scandalous behavior) is the too-cozy relationship between Church and state promoted by Eamon de Valera, who made Roman Catholicism the hallmark of Irish identity (which is was not, previously--most of the great Irish patriots of the 18th and 19th centuries were actually Anglicans).

The same problem is emerging in Russia, where the Church is increasingly seen as an instrument of the corrupt, despised and distrusted government--and therefore not to be trusted, either. Orthodoxy in Russia, for this reason, is very much a "fashion statement" for the majority of people who call themselves believers.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
If history is any guide, having government encourage religion is a sure way to get people either to walk away from religion, or to approach religion from a purely secular, utilitarian perspective.
Stuart,

I agree with your answer here, except that I think it applies mostly to the upper classes. ISTM the lower classes have tended historically to have a kind of "paganistic" approach to Christianity, somewhat like "Santeria."

For my part, I tend to cringe whenever I hear or read a novena prayer to one of the saints when they get to the part (which is almost always there), "O Saint N., I promise always to call upon you as my heavenly patron, and if you grant my request, to promote devotion to you everywhere I go." Now, if promoting devotion to Saint N. indcludes such things as learning from his/her example to love God and dedicate my life to Christ, that's fine. However, the problem is that the phrase is usually wide open to an interpretation that's something like "St. N. is the one who really gets things done!" (i.e. better than some other saint.) The latter interpretation essentially makes the saint into a demi-god, with the effect of reducing Christ to a very important member of the Pantheon. (And we wonder why some Protestants still think of Catholicism as a kind of crypto-paganism!)


Peace,
Deacon Richard

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For my part, I tend to cringe whenever I hear or read a novena prayer to one of the saints when they get to the part (which is almost always there), "O Saint N., I promise always to call upon you as my heavenly patron, and if you grant my request, to promote devotion to you everywhere I go."

I've got that beat. My Great Grandmother, a nice Sicilian woman, was stricken with polio as a teenager. She prayed to the Virgin that, if she was only allowed to walk again, she would go to Mass every Wednesday. Lo and behold! A miraculous cure: Nana was walking about to the day she died. And she kept her vow--she went to Mass faithfully every Wednesday. Of course, she stopped going on Sunday . . .

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To be honest, as an Irish person coming back to the Church, I gave only a little thought about the scandals here in Ireland, but not from a standpoint of ''I am not sure Catholicism is for me because of all these scandals''. It was just something I thought about and how horrible it all was. For me I knew that there are the same scandals in every institute in life such as the police force who also have a moral code to stand by and uphold in society, a place where we are all supposed to feel safe.

anyway everyone says Ireland is dwindling, but Mass every Sunday at my parish is always packed from 9:30am to 12:30 am. Its a redemptorist parish.

Granted that more should be attending and many have fallen away but we should pray for a return of all. Next week we have St.Gerards Novena in Dundalk and literally thousands of people from across Ireland come to it for the whole week.

If you happen to be in the area come and say hello :-)


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Yes the faith is still there. But Ireland needs to take a lead in the New Evangelization. Pray for a renewal in this Year of Faith.

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The first step in any attempt at evangelization ought to be reform and purification of the Church in Ireland. That means coming clean, airing all the dirty linen, humbling begging pardon, and making reparations. Those responsible for scandals should be dismissed, new leadership beyond reproach should be installed, and when all that is done, you can start to rebuild the trust that was lost through abuse of power.

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Been to Ireland and visited many of the ancient churches there. Ireland needs prayers and the faith will come back to the people. It always does.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
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For my part, I tend to cringe whenever I hear or read a novena prayer to one of the saints when they get to the part (which is almost always there), "O Saint N., I promise always to call upon you as my heavenly patron, and if you grant my request, to promote devotion to you everywhere I go."

I've got that beat. My Great Grandmother, a nice Sicilian woman, was stricken with polio as a teenager. She prayed to the Virgin that, if she was only allowed to walk again, she would go to Mass every Wednesday. Lo and behold! A miraculous cure: Nana was walking about to the day she died. And she kept her vow--she went to Mass faithfully every Wednesday. Of course, she stopped going on Sunday . . .

LOL. I remember back in my altar boy days, I'd wind up to as many of the Weekday Morning DLs that my mother was free to take me to, on top of serving either at Saturday Vigils and/or Sunday Morning DLs, whatever the Monsignor scheduled me for. Just sad those days are far and few between. I really enjoyed faithfully going every morning. Now with work, and with shortage of priests in the Byzantine Eparchy of Parma now, it's just tough. Although back then, they had it where we'd have a UGCC priest from St. Josaphat would fill in and celebrate the weekday DLs, since there was a huge working relationship here between the UGCC and the Ruthenian Eparchies in our area.

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Daily Divine Liturgy has never been the norm in any Byzantine Church, Catholic or Orthodox, outside of monasteries and cathedrals.

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