Irish “Catholics” and our future choices

A new video from Michael Voris.



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  1. James says:

    I blame the Jansenist influences on Irish Catholicism beginning in the 18th century for this decline. The moralism was rigid to the point of Calvinism, and like the children of an overly strict and severe parent, many Catholics have rebelled and “run away from home.” I’ve witnessed this myself in the Irish side of my family. Almost none of my mother’s six siblings (and my mother included) attend Mass anymore.

    As I understand it, the state of the pre-Vatican II liturgy also left much to be desired, and this carried over after Vatican II.

  2. BrianMaher says:

    That is incredibly sad. I don’t understand how people can be part of the world and not believe in God. How glad I am that Jesus came to me at a horribly low point in my life and showed me his mercy. My life for him.

  3. BrianMaher says:

    After thinking about this it brings to mind a comment that my Godson recently made. He was recently ordained into the priesthood and after his first mass the next day we had a long dinner and chatted about many church related things. His comment to me that I find keeps popping back into my head … it is so nice to have at least one real Catholic on my dad’s side of the family that I can talk to.

    There are eight of us kids all raised as Catholic and only I still go to church /and/ believe in all the teachings of the church.

    Very sad, weep is definitely the right word.

  4. traditionalorganist says:

    I notice how there’s a lot of people who really don’t know why, because they don’t ask why not. We no longer seek to know ourselves, only to satisfy our most whimsical desires.

  5. traditionalorganist says:

    Here is a Solution to the problem (other than liturgical reform and teaching the faith without watering it down): Poverty…pious poverty; the return of the traditional life of orders such as the Franciscans and Dominicans. That is, we Catholics really need to buckle down and start living our faith. And we need to know WHY we live it.

  6. James – Actually the Irish Clergy were anti-Jansenist and Irish moralism probably had a lot more to do with peasant culture and the influence of Victorian England than anything else. Actually I was surprised by the video (apart from not hearing that Mr. Voris was in Ireland until now – where is he speaking? when?) as I work in a school and hear those responses all day. Still Dublin is not the whole island. It is probably true that Irish clerical theological formation before the Council left a lot to be desired (perhaps true for much of the Catholic West) and since the Council things have changed but not greatly improved. That has had a knock-on effect with the laity. My fellow friars formed in that period speak of a very legalistic approach without the principles behind the law. When the laws (e.g. rubrics) changed it seemed that anything could change and that’s the attitude you hear. The bishops and we priests do have a case to answer for the poor faith formation of the laity both before and after the Council down to this day. This is why the union INTO can call for what amounts to a de-Christianization of the Primary school system. Years of neglect have left the faith in Ireland thin and weak in many places and the Irish Church is left skating on thin ice. Pray for us.

  7. James says:

    Interesting, Br. Tom. I’m no expert on the subject, but I was taught that much of the Irish clergy had been trained in France in the 17th and 18th centuries, since there were no functioning seminaries on the island, and came into contact with Jansenists there. Further, following the condemnation of Jansenism and dissolution of Porte Royale, many fled to Ireland.

    Leaving that aside, do you think that Irish moralism plays a part in the current state of the Church in Ireland?

  8. ghp95134 says:

    Br. Tom:

    Vanilla Club, 19-29 Morehampton Rd, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland
    When? 29 June 2011 8:00pm

    Full Buffet, DJ, Fashion Show, Talk **Mike is also speaking after each Holy Novena Mass at St. John Vianney Parish.

    For more information contact Fr. Dave Marsden

  9. Ezra says:

    Michael Voris’ best video yet. He should do more like this.

    I blame the Jansenist influences on Irish Catholicism beginning in the 18th century for this decline. The moralism was rigid to the point of Calvinism, and like the children of an overly strict and severe parent, many Catholics have rebelled and “run away from home.”

    Because unlike their British counterparts, these young Irish Catholics are unusually clueless? I imagine a similar survey of young Catholics in the US would yield equally depressing results.

    The whole “Irish Catholicism was a Jansenist mutation” meme is well overdue for burial. We heard it when the Irish and Irish-Americans seemed to be having the worst abuse scandals… until information started pouring out of Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, etc. etc. Do all those other countries that have seen Mass attendance and orthodox belief plummet in the last few decades also have a history of “Jansenist influences”? Pre-conciliar Catholicism in Ireland may have been severe, but that’s because pre-conciliar life in Ireland could be nasty and brutal. Ireland nonetheless managed to produce great saints, holy religious and good priests by the boatload. In 2010 there were only sixteen new seminarians among all the dioceses of Ireland.

    The crisis affects the whole of the West. Whether things are better in Africa, South America and Asia, I cannot say. I hope so.

  10. ipadre says:

    Not shocked. The devil does good work. We have a lot of work in the new evangelization. Money with God’s grac will we attract thes poor souls back home to the Catholic Church.

  11. Athelstan says:

    “I blame the Jansenist influences on Irish Catholicism beginning in the 18th century for this decline.”

    That’s actually a widely shared impression, but it’s not really true. There’s no evidence that Jansenism was present in the theological formation of Irish priests of that era. Irish priests educated in France actually associated entirely with French movements hostile to Jansenism.

    What *was* at work was the dynamic created by English rule and domination. This led to the abandonment of the Irish language, and also to an excessive puritanism as the Irish tried to regain a sense of moral equality with the English, especially in the Victorian period. This puritanical outlook was likewise shared by Irish priests in America. In short it was a kind of excessive moral rigorism, which is too easily misunderstood as Jansenism.

    Shane at Lux Occulta, one of the regulars around here, had a good post on this not long back:

  12. irishgirl says:

    Oh, how sad-how St. Patrick must be weeping over the state of the Church in Ireland.
    Seeing Michael Voris makes me remember the brief moments I spoke with him not quite two weeks ago-what a ‘lion of the Faith’ he is!
    Still-I grieve over the lack of faith in the Irish people of today. Have they so soon forgotten those who gave their lives so that the Church would survive in the days of persecution? Have they become so hardened and worldly-minded? One would think that the failure of the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy would bring them back to God and to His Church. But maybe I’m naive (sigh).
    St. Patrick, please come back to Ireland!

  13. Brad says:

    So many passive-aggressive ways to say non serviam. All with little wry smiles. Man is very hard hearted.

  14. Unfinished says:

    I couldn’t even watch the whole thing, it hurt too much.

  15. jarhead462 says:

    Shocking and sad- However I think the seeds of this were sewn long befor the 1960’s.
    Pray for Ireland.

    Semper Fi!

  16. jarhead462 says:

    That should read: BEFORE the 1960’s- Also: it seems to me that some of the people being questioned who do go to Mass, seem uncomfortable proclaiming their faith. Which for me is worse, because that means there is a stigma attached to the Faith among their peers….Very Sad.

    Semper Fi!

  17. Glen M says:

    Most people today don’t know the faith. They don’t know what it means to actually be a Catholic. Once someone is exposed to the truth and where they will spend eternity, missing Sunday Mass no longer becomes an option.

  18. Dr. Eric says:

    I only watched a few of the interviews, and not the whole thing- video buffering problem.

    But, I can’t help wonder how much of this video is due to selection bias. Which part of Dublin was he in? How many people did he actually interview compared to the 12 he showed? What day was it? What time of day?

    Having written the above, I had never met such anti- Catholic Catholics than the ones I met in Ireland. I stayed in Counties Mayo, Kerry, Galway, Cork, and Waterford.

  19. rfox2 says:

    Why do we need something called a “new evangelization” when the “old” evangelization converted millions of souls and produced countless saints? Using the “new” media and the “new” modes of communication will be useless unless we also buckle down and use the “old” evangelization.

    I suspect the kids in Ireland are atheists and agnostics for two primary reasons:

    1. Their parents practiced the Fatih, but had a rudimentary understanding of their faith, and didn’t really believe what they were taught, practicing faith out of a sense of duty
    2. Their parents just didn’t believe, period, and rarely practiced their faith

    The younger kids that were interviewed by MV were of the second generation after Vatican 2. Their parents were kids either during or just after V2, which means the parents were catechized in the 60’s or early 70’s, along with the upheaval with the Mass. Perhaps they were catechized just prior to V2, and received poor education. But in the end, during the chaos of the 1970’s, they lost their faith. The gentleman with the white hair might be a little older than that generation, but he represents their attitude (“That’s not a sin any more”). Then, they turned around and passed the malaise along to their kids, who were interviewed by MV.

    When are faithful Catholics going to wise up and stop accepting the “new” theology that was promulgated during and after V2? It’s bogus, and it has led to massive indifferentism and apostasy. People behave in the way they believe. The Irish no longer believe because for at least two generations, they have not been confronted with the truth. It’s every Catholic’s duty to know their faith well, and help the ignorant. If we need to speak out against what our Bishops or even the Bishop of Rome is doing, then that’s what we have to do. You might need to look at catechetical materials prior to 1955, but it’s possible.

  20. Pearty says:

    Gee, I thought that was a pretty good response. Three randomly plucked people said they go to mass every Sunday. Do that in the Melbourne CBD here in Australia and you’d fall over if you had one.

    I think there is something to be said for those that go “cause my parents make me”. Honour of the fourth commandment is not to be passed off as self-interested appeasement.

  21. lucy says:

    My neighbor is Irish. She’s been in America about 15 years. She says that most of the Irish do not believe any longer because of the bad priests and nuns during her childhood. She’s in her 50’s. She said the priests and nuns were completely awful to them in schools. She has no love for her faith because of this. She still prays but hasn’t been to church except for her grandchildren’s First Holy Communion or weddings. Her sisters and brother also do not attend Holy Mass.

    Cry for Ireland and pray that good teaching will return.

  22. ejcmartin says:

    I was actually suprised at the number of young people, especially the young men, who either go to Mass weekly or try. (I barely entered a church from age 15 to nearly age 40) I thought the answer of the 18 year-old was an honest one. He wants to find out for himself. Every 18 year-old questions what Mom and Dad tell them. Going to Mass because Mom and Dad tell me to do so doesn’t cut it anymore. Young people like him should be the target of the New Evangelization. He is searching. I hope Mr. Voris started the process with him.

  23. BaedaBenedictus says:

    My family was Catholic for at least 1500 years, but among my 36 first cousins, I am the only remaining believing/practicing Catholic. It only took several decades following the Sixties to wipe them out.

    And I am a convert of sorts, because my parents (who came of age during the post-conciliar chaos) fell away, so while I was baptized, my younger siblings have never been. I grew up without the faith and converted in college.

    I think the Church was going to take a big hit during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, but the Council and aftermath, instead of anticipating this and proposing solutions to the cataclysm, seemed to have only fed the flames of destruction. The whole thing was a devastating mixture of imprudence and naivete, perhaps with a bit of malice from some participants (and a lot from the Prince of the Air).

  24. ddobbs says:

    I spent 4 months as a missionary in Ireland with NET Ministries a few years ago. So the reactions of these Irish come as no surprise. One of the most moving experiences I had was going to visit “mass rocks” in the countryside. After the Reformation, because the British ruled Ireland, Catholicism was essentially outlawed. Priests were put in jail or killed outright along with anyone assisting in hiding them or practicing the faith. So under the cover of darkness, the Catholics would gather in fields around giant boulders in which they carved out a flat surface to be an altar which they called “Mass Rocks”. They would post watchmen and then celebrate mass, praying they wouldn’t be found. The Irish are incredibly resilient and stubborn. The English tried to forcibly remove the faith and it only increased the Irish resolve to keep the faith. Faith thrived for hundreds of years under British Protestant Rule (and for over a thousand before that) but something dramatic happened within the last 40 or so years.

    It is said that if the devil can’t destroy your faith with persecution, he will do it with prosperity, and that’s what happened. Obviously there are other factors, but in what I witnessed and heard from the Irish, money gave them security and they no longer needed to rely on God and Faith in order to make it through life. So especially among the young, God is all but forgotten. They are the most poorly formed and catechized Roman Catholics I have ever encountered. I know that may be a gross generalization, but I met over 5000 teenagers and stayed in dozen’s of Irish homes and that seemed to be uniform all across the country.

    It is not all doom and gloom, if anything, I would say that the Irish young people are more receptive to being evangelized than North American teens because the Irish hardly know anything about the faith they have been baptized into and still have a cultural memory steeped in faith. As an example, I have been involved in putting on retreats for large groups of teens in both continents. If we gave a talk about confession and then made it available to a group of high school students from the same school in North America very few will avail themselves of the opportunity.

    Conversely, in Ireland, give the teens the same talk and the same opportunity, and almost all of them will go. I had one priest in Ireland tell me that he thought Confession was a dead Sacrament because no one came anymore, and he said that watching 100 teenagers go to confession on retreat restored his faith in the Sacrament. Just like in North America, the last two or three generations have abdicated their roles as their children’s first catechists, so not surprisingly, each generation know less and less about what the church actually teaches. If that doesn’t change, will the Lord Faith when he returns?

  25. anilwang says:

    I’ve listened to the conversion/reversion stories of several Irish on both sides of the Catholic/Protestant divide, and the account was the same. They either blamed religion for the problems and became atheists, or saw how ineffective priests and ministers were and thought if this is what the faith is, it’s worthless. These converts/reverts came back to their faiths, when they were able to see that the faith transends nationalism and that fellow faithful are not always the best representatives of the faith they profess.

    Something similar happened in Quebec. For a long time, nationalism was tied to Catholicism. Catholic schools in Canada are state funded in most provinces precisely because of Quebec, but when the Church got too cosy with the state and the state had corruption issues, the Church was viewed as part of the problem. This left it open to the Quiet Revolution which made language the nationalist issue and undermined anything connnected with the old order, including the Church.

    Cardinal Marc Ouellet made the the observation ( ) that bishops “need spiritual discernment and not just political calculation of the risk of the possibility of the message being received,”. This is very true. When the Church becomes too worldly, it becomes a mere human institution. Cardinal Newman refused to convert to Catholicism because the priests he knew were too politically calculating. He finally converted when he met an Italian Passionist Priest (Dominic Barberi) who discarded political maneuvering suffered greatly for the faith,

  26. Jucken says:

    I blame the Council. Not altogether, because I know that the worse culprits are the modernist clergymen censured in the Pascendi. However, had the Council done what it was supposed to, we wouldn’t be in such a sorry state of affairs today. It did not reprehend communism; it did not restore the Liturgy in a way that would express more glaringly the particular Catholic Truths that are so trampled these days; it did not reafirm the censure on modernist clergy and ideas. I could go on.

  27. sea the stars says:

    Michael Voris was standing outside Trinity College, a Protestant University founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1591.

    The big fail is Catholic education. I left secondary school in Ireland not knowing Mass was a sacrifice. It was only when a Protestant challenged me while I was attending that same university that I began to study what I should have known years ago. If you look at the religion school books in use in Catholci schools in Ireland you see titles like “Many Paths to God” describing each of the world religions as a valid means to get to heaven. So, the video did nto surprise me in the least.

  28. mike cliffson says:

    Weep is right.
    An enemy has done this .

    Some/part of the “hows” ‘ll come up on the combox.”Jansenism”, even just as a convenient tag, Maynooth…, the closing of the Irish colleges(seminaries) in Europe…
    Some are in this(Ok purely anecdotal )selection of interviewees: “It used to be a sin, but it isn’t any more”.
    Good Gor’ luv’ll! “Spirit of VII” swallowed hook, line, and sinker!
    To be provoking, I’ll add one one : the Irish should have stayed in the union , to be a stumbling block, light, and salt , for, to, and in benighted secular, and heretical society, carrying further instead of breaking away from being the Kingdom’s sort of back-up of English, Welsh, and Scots Catholism instead of themselves aloneness. Of course independance wasn’t an immediate full stop: what is wrong with the British NHS has a simple root: the Hospitals worked extremely well with vast cohorts of good catholic Irish nurses, and after abortion came in , they left. Murder will out.
    Sheer Irish contrariness wasn’t really a good reason to be and stay Catholic, but if it helped and saved your soul and those of those around you, well, praise Divine Providence.

    Add what you will, analyse as you like, say, which is true, that mammon has corrupted the Irish when nothing else could, and I still don’t understand it. All good reasons, none sufficient. HOW can this be?

  29. contrarian says:

    So many people interviewed don’t seem so much rebellious as distracted. At least with the atheist fellow, there seemed to be some conviction behind his view, however sad his convictions were. With most of the others, there just seemed to be shrugging of the shoulders. It was as if this was the first time they had ever been asked the question, either by another or themselves, and were now for the first time trying to justify their practices to themselves! I dunno. That was my impression.

  30. Jason says:

    I’m not Irish but the folks in the video seemed like a beautiful people, just disillusioned and poorly Catechized like most of the west.

    Like others have mentioned, I saw soft soil in which the seeds of faith could take root, with the exception of that atheist fellow. Rough plowing there but nothing is impossible.

  31. keithp says:

    I could not watch more than 2 minutes of that video. I have felt very out of sorts since the Gay Marriage vote in NY. I have been praying very hard and often for greater faith, courage and persevernce. Truthfully, the two minutes I watched made me want to cry. St Faustina pray for us sinners.

  32. diffal says:

    My people have been badly let down and badly catechised for decades by both priests and parents. Since, I would say, the 1950’s actually. What we are seeing now is the rot coming to the surface. It pains me to watch this video but I know many of my generation and younger(I’m in my mid twenties) who think this way.

    Naomh Pádraig, Guí orainn.

    (that is to say Sancte Patrici, ora pro nobis. at least I hope that’s how it goes in the Latin)

  33. Jon says:

    Weep, indeed.

    But I can’t let this sad story pass without posting a note of hope.

    Not ten minutes ago, my 17 year old son got into a car with two of his friends. They’re driving to Philadelphia, where this evening they’ve been invited to dine with the Mercedarian friars, and later attend the final profession of one of their number. One of the boys, 18, has attended minor seminary. Another, my son’s best friend, is seriously discerning a vocation. My son? Well, the jury’s out.

    As they drove away, I saw them together make the Sign of the Cross, and begin a prayer for a safe journey. These boys are fun loving, date girls, play baseball and rugby, and are loud and marvelous company. They have one other thing in common – they’re members of an FSSP parish, and each has served the Traditional Mass since the age of 11.

    I think there just might be a lesson in there somewhere.

  34. Stephen D says:

    Recently retired Irish Bishop Willie Walsh has said that he is unsure that there is an afterlife and has the usual modernist attitude to authority, married clergy, homosexuality, celibacy etc. But he says, and I believe him, that he told the Papal nuncio before his selection that he had misgivings about basic matters and this honest answer was brushed aside and his appointment was confirmed. What hope is there for the Church anywhere if men who admit such views are appointed to be a successor to the Apostles? We must have good, faithful, prayerful bishops as an absolutely first priority and many improvements will flow from that.

  35. anilwang says:

    Mike Cliffson,

    Yes, VII can take some of the blame for “it used to be a sin by not any more”, but I seriously think that it has more to due with “political calculation” rather than “need spiritual discernment” on the part of our bishops and priests. George Weigel states as much relating to “The Truce of 1968” WRT Humanae Vitae. Because of that “truce”, descentors to the faith were no longer censured because “it might bring division” and so anything that might bring division was either not discussed or watered down. It’s not at all surprising that people think “it’s not a sin anymore” on various issues. If I had a chance to correct either VII or “The Truce of 1968”, I’d fix the “truce” since if that truce was not in place, “the spirit of VII” would never exist since VII descent would not be tolerated and it would have been implemented according to “the hermeutic of continuity”. Whereas if VII didn’t exist, we’re have a very beautiful TLM liturgy but the same watered down faith.

  36. rgarcia149 says:

    I wonder what the responses would be in Boston, New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. I think most probably among the same lines. Ignorance and apathy seem the common denominator with the exception of the couple of young people who said thy go every Sunday.

  37. I’m really liking the new investigative style of Voris. I mean, just broadcasting the news is okay, I’d rather just read it, but this stuff is something you can find nowhere else. I like him on site or doing more in depth pieces like the Rockefeller one.

  38. shane says:

    Thanks for the link Athelstan. Yes the Jansenist canard is a silly old myth.

    Jucken is right. The Second Vatican Council is very much to blame for the woes of the Church in Ireland. By and large the Irish bishops seen no need for a council and rarely spoke at it. Many of them privately agonized over its decrees but still implemented the disastrous changes in the 60s and early 70s out of a exaggerated sense of obedience. Perhaps if they had been more independent-minded capacity for resistance would have been higher. (Had Cardinal Browne lived longer it’s likely he would have joined Abp. Lefebvre)

  39. Sword40 says:

    Voris is like a fresh breeze across the pond. May he continue to tell it like it is. And may many others speak out likewise.

  40. Pachomius says:

    From the amount Vatican II gets the blame for around here, I’m surprised it doesn’t cause hair loss and communism, too. Anyone would think the Council Fathers promulgated conciliarism (Haec Sancta, anyone?) and mandatory sodomy.

    The real problem has been the abysmal quality of the Irish priesthood for the last hundred years at least. The English priesthood is lousy enough, but the Irish seem to excel in turning out thick, stubborn, pastorally inept, intellectually inadequate and absurdly dictatorial priests, and have managed this since at least before my grandmother left Ireland in the 1920s.

    A lot of what has happened in Ireland seems to me to be the logical result of the massive anti-clericalism of older generations of Irish people – and an anti-clericalism that was well-deserved. Read (if you can stand to, because it’s mainly unreadable rubbish) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or The Power and the Glory , and you get a very good portrait of the negative side of the pre-Conciliar priesthood – all too powerful, too busy hob-nobbing, full of its own importance and all too ready and willing to abuse the trust and the power given to it.

    I mentioned elsewhere on this blog my grandmother’s story of seeing the village priest riding on horseback through the snow, whipping the barefoot poor boys to school. That kind of priest seems to me to typify the kind of priest that used to be in Ireland and that still exists in Mexico, and is causing the creation of the very same kind of disaffected, angry, and not very knowledgeable younger generation in Mexico now.

    The Church in Ireland is simply reaping what it has sown.

  41. shane says:

    The prevailing popular perception of the social role of the Church in Ireland is shaped not by historians but by liberal literary writers like Seán Ó Faoláin and would not stand up to modern scrutiny. Hence also the myth of a Church obsessed by sex (in actual fact, Irish priests in the 1940s and 50s hardly ever referred to sex — except at missions).

  42. shane says:

    This lecture on ‘Priests and People in Ireland’ given to the Maynooth Union Summer School in 1957 deals with some common misconceptions:

  43. mike cliffson says:

    VII I would prefer to broadly accept and leave it to the experts.
    VII vs Spirit of VII , connected, but not equivalent, like Mum, and what other drunkards report Mum saying when drunk herself. The latter,aka modernism with a human face, not the former, is the vanishing sin trick, the former is its occasion; if it be determined to be its cause , I’ll go along when Peter says to.
    As (certainly very sinful) father of a large family(11), with the sad experience of the reactions our very existence has provoked among even orthodox priests and relatively well catequized practicing Catholics , complete stangers, I tend to overagree with you about the importance of the (social, what you term the “truce”) reception by the Church of Humanae Vitae( which after all contained NOTHING NEW morals-wise – and HOW prescient!)
    But put that against the superb – by comparison with the rest of theTudor-instigated proddification and wasting of civil society, especially on the bottom rungs, in the rest of the Kingdom- timeworn tried and tested popular Irish culture of morality in general and sexuality in particular eg the matteroffact acceptance of women’s periods, the modesty shown in the industrial revolution by the poorest and most illiterate of Irishwomen living in impossible circumstances( this isn’t just family memory, straight history has much on record).
    It’s big, very, the tacit acceptance of the contraceptive mentality, even thru NFP , which grew like Topsy in the Republic, at the church’s hands, but it STILL doesn’t explain things.
    Does it?

  44. CloisterM says:

    My husband and I were saddened when we watched this latest vortex. The number of young who didn’t believe in God was frightening. Michael will be in London on 24th August, we dread what he will find in the country once called “The dowry of Mary”. May God come to our aid.

  45. historyb says:

    I was struck by the laughter as if they were nervous or (more likely) knew they should go. This is sad

  46. jaykay says:

    Many of those young people reminded me painfully of younger members of my own family: attending University with stellar school-leaving results and yet unable to conduct a reasoned debate on anything relating to the Catholic church without resorting to the “party line” as enunciated in the Irish Times or whatever. The reason, I think, is that the (falsely) vaunted Irish education system does not actually equip one to carry out much in the way of logical thinking. Study of even basic philosophy only begins at 3rd level. So they just echo what they hear their peers saying but cant seem to handle a challenge to this and start getting defensive. Much of it has to do with truly awful catechesis as well. I know whereof I speak, sadly, as we have teachers in the family.

    However as one who attended primary school in the maligned ‘old days’ (60s) I really am tired of those – in some cases younger than me – telling me how awful it was. Sorry… it wasn’t. But the myth industry needs to be fed. And much of what passes for debate is in fact the endless recycling of myths and half truths. For example Shane, who comments here, has a good post on some real facts about the Magdalene laundries: see ‘lux occulta’ blog.

  47. amenamen says:

    The land of saints and scholars?

    What is almost as disturbing as the lack of Catholic faith is the inarticulate mumbling.

    What is frightening is the cluelessness, the vapid lack of reason, the inability to express a complete thought. Even an apostate like James Joyce would have to be embarassed by what we see in this video.

    Is the girl with the black eye make-up (Morticia Addams?) who believes in “science” what passes for a scientist in Ireland?

  48. Pachomius says:

    amenamen, I doubt it. My guess would be rather that they are the sort of young person who buys t-shirts with a big, red, italic “A” on them from Dr Dawkins’ website.

  49. Ceile De says:

    I grew up in Ireland – you have to know the context. Maybe we did rely too much on rules, rubrics and externals but this is basically what we were told:

    Tabernacle on altar? “That’s gone now.”

    Statues of saints? “That’s gone now.”

    Devotions? “That’s gone now.”

    Confession? “That’s pretty much gone now.”

    Sanctus bells? “That’s gone now.”

    Altar rails? Smashed before our eyes.

    OK, we got the hint. We supplied the rest of the answers ourselves:

    Moral teachings? “That’s gone now.”

    Real presence? “That’s gone now.”

    Sin? “That’s gone now.”

    Afterlife? “That’s gone now. If they can get rid of limbo, they can get rid of heaven hell and purgatory too.”

    How can the church say, oh no, we didn’t mean all the stuff after the AHEM is gone now when everything before it was? They removed all our little externals and in doing so made most people conclude the whole things was removable. grudges are mead

    Oh yeah, and the kiddy fiddlers and the cover up of them. Not in a million years will the clergy live that down in Ireland where grudges are measured in millenia.

    Bad time for the clergy to announce that the wholesale smashing of our churches and customs by, uh, the clergy in the 1970’s and 1980’s wasn’t supposed to change our beliefs at all. Sure, who’d have concluded that?

  50. Kerry says:

    From Corpus Christianum…pray daily for the following key points:
    – The renewal, unity, and spread of Christendom
    – The Supreme Pontiff and all priests/religious
    – The protection of Christians around the world
    – The restoration of the family
    – The conversion of sinners and the sanctification of all people
    After “…spread of Christendom” I add, “The conversion of the British Isles, and the restoration of the Faith in Ireland, and America”

  51. jaykay says:

    oops… apologies to Shane at his Lux Occulta blogsite! It was in fact David Quinn at the Irish Independent (a horrible paper otherwise) who wrote about the myths around the Magdalene laundries on June 17th.

  52. PostCatholic says:

    I rather enjoyed this. The juxtaposition of young Irish folk going about their lives unbothered by “mortal sin” in juxtaposition to the pomposity of the interviewer gives me a lot of hope. But then, I’m unbothered by the idea of your Hell.

  53. shane says:

    Jaykay I found the piece here:

    David Quinn is very good but I agree that the Irish Independent is in general a horrible paper, probably even worse than the Irish Times.

  54. If that were truly true, PostCatholic, you wouldn’t be here.

    We’ll keep the light on for you…

  55. PostCatholic says:

    Not sure what you mean, Aurora. Thanks for keeping the light on, but I’m a (somewhat more erudite) version of the people Voris interviewed.

  56. RobertK says:

    Well this pattern isn’t only in Ireland, but in the entire western world. This video pretty much tells it like it really is. Sad!. And the SSPX pray for the consecration of Russia. Maybe they need to switch direction. and pray for the consecration of the West. In ten years Russia may have more believers than all of western society. But Russia will be still be perceived in the West as a threat, because now, the west will have become like the communists. Atheists!. And Russia a land of crazy Christians. And thanks to Islamic terrorists, no one in the west, will ever want to believe in any God. The west will become one big Sodom and Gomorrah. Even Buddhism isn’t believed in anymore. Because they no longer believe in rebirth or the after life. when you die that is it. You decompose and that is that. Sad really sad!!!. What happens when God returns with Saint Michael and his army. Will anyone in the west, clergy included, even recognize him. I highly doubt it!!

  57. RobertK says:

    And one more thing. We look at these “baptized” Catholics. Who go to church once a month, because their family goes, but if we wish to associate with Catholics who go to a SSPX Mass, every Sunday. Catholics who truly believe in the Church. Were looked upon by many Bishops as trouble makers and quacks!. Ponder that idea for a moment. Rules and Canons aside.

  58. Charivari Rob says:

    Dr. Eric – “But, I can’t help wonder how much of this video is due to selection bias. Which part of Dublin was he in? How many people did he actually interview compared to the 12 he showed? What day was it? What time of day?”

    It looks as though he was near Trinity College. You can see the old Parliament in the background of some of the shots – the windows were bricked in when the British started taxing daylight (well, taxing glass). It’s not just a college area – tourists, shopping, business and government are all within walking distance. I’m guessing it’s midday. I’ve seen that area much busier, though.

    Selection bias? Well, he said he interviewed 24. We saw 18 of them. I think it skewed a bit – most of them were mid 20s or younger and I’m assuming he screened through quite a few people. It’s not as if it’s likely he could pick 24 people and get all “resident (if not native) and baptized Catholic”, no tourists, no Protestants, no gov’t clerks, maybe one or two dressed as a business person.

    I wonder whether or not it was a weekday.

    I’m not sure of his (Voris’) point. “Only one” attends Mass every week. Well, yeah. “Only one” who does go every Sunday out of enthusiastic faith without reservation. He didn’t mention the other 3 or 4 people who in their clips said they go just as much but out of some sense of obligation (to Granny, in more than one case). So, that’s 4 or 5 out of 24 (well, 4 or 5 out of the 18 we saw). So, 4 or 5 out of 24 is somewhere between 16% to over 20%. That’s the same percentage as a lot of places. Not good, but not shocking.

    I find myself wondering what sort of responses he’d get if he crossed the river and interviewed 18 people outside Gardiner Street Church.

  59. MikeM says:

    The one that really upsets me is the kid who said he needs to find out about spiritual things for himself. I’m sure that through most of the Church’s history there were plenty of people who attended Mass out of social obligation, to appease family members or because, well, they always have. But it really seems like a failure on the part of Catholics that kids grow up and don’t feel like they’ve had their questions answered or like they’ve been given the opportunity to connect with God on their own.

    When I was 18 I thought I should set out and discover things for myself, too… but as soon as I tried to be anything but Catholic (and, I’m ashamed to admit, I did try), I found that I couldn’t do it… the Catholic explanations I’d been given to my questions proved rather well woven, and since I had been led to grow in prayer, I couldn’t pretend that God wasn’t there. Even though I was determined to wander to any religion besides Catholicism, I couldn’t actually bring myself to miss a Sunday Mass… and when I got there I found a good Priest and a community of other people my age ready to pull me home where I belonged.

    While I can’t know how else God might have chosen to reach me, and I suppose I can’t presume that I won’t fall from the Faith in the future, it certainly seems like I owe my parents, priests and teachers a lot of credit for saving my eternal life. It’s sad that not everyone experiences that. I hope I get the opportunity to lead a new generation of teens to a similar attachment with the Church.

  60. Pachomius says:

    ” Catholics who truly believe in the Church.”
    How can one truly believe in the Church by separating oneself from it and demanding that you’re better than most Catholics? It looks suspiciously like pride and schism.

    It doesn’t help that the SSPX is associated with far-right French politics, either.

  61. robtbrown says:

    Tom Forde OFM Cap says:

    James – Actually the Irish Clergy were anti-Jansenist and Irish moralism probably had a lot more to do with peasant culture and the influence of Victorian England than anything else.

    It seems that along with the Irish sense of humor and magnificence of Bailey’s and Guinness, the Irish inclination to blame England for Irish flaws is not affected by any cultural changes. And I don’t think the peasant culture has much to do with Irish moralism.

    I am not of Irish stock, but during my Roman years I knew many Irish seminarians and priests (one of whom was a well know historian and TV personality). IMHO, the moralism is a function of the Irish temperament.

  62. heway says:

    In the 90’s, my son dated an Irish gal who had not attended a catholic school because her mother declared that the nuns treated the girls poorly. This young woman would never send her children to a catholic school -although my son(her temp boyfriend) had never seen the inside of a public school until college. My son now dates another young lady who did attend catholic schools but has stopped being a practicing catholic because of the bishops handling (or lack of) abuse. She attends Mass with my son -who knows that your faith is about your relationship with Jesus Christ and not about other sinful humans. Thomas Merton’s “Seven Storey Mountain” is a fine book about the search for faith. Yesterday’s reading by St. Paul should give us all hope for our personal journey. And we should stop blaming Vatican II! Our little parish has a woman whod oes the ‘finances’. At one time she was an assistant administrator of the parish. During a scripture study, she questioned Father when he mentioned purgatory. She said she thought there ‘wasn’t any purgatory anymore’. She loves fiddleback chasubles and saints statutes in the sanctuary and probably the TLM, but she needs to educate herself about her faith. Some people never read papal documents or the documents of Vatican II but are motivated by emotion – or this felt good when I was a child so it must be right? God bless and help us all. Looking forward to tomorrow and the great solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. How we need his love and need to learn to respond to his love.

  63. jaykay says:

    Robt. Brown: Fr. Tom Forde isn’t actually indulging in that ‘ol “bash the English” vibe! I think you’re spot on when you say that the moralism is an innate temperamental factor. In fact, Irish peasant culture was remarked on by travellers in Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries as being exceptionally moralistic – perhaps even prudish – especially in relation to sexual morality, modesty etc. This is effectively what Fr. Forde is saying.

    Acknowledging the extent to which Victorian attitudes of “respectability” exerted a major hold on Irish society isn’t blaming Britain either. It’s merely stating an established fact. Since Britain was of course the ruler, and all classes often indulged themselves in condescending, patronising and outright racist attitudes towards the Irish (see the “Punch” political cartoons of simian Paddies), it is not surprising that an inferiority complex arose whereby people aped (ahem!) the social mores of Britain in an effort to “prove themselves” to their perceived “betters”. Political reports in 19th century papers often show parties such as the Irish Parliamentary Party – which sat in the House of Commons – being anxious to show the British that Ireland was in fact capable of ruling itself. Therefore there was a huge anxiety about conforming to a perceived norm of respectability.

  64. To be totally fair… I seem to remember that when I was in college, there were times early on when I said funny stuff about going to Mass, like that I had to go because otherwise my parents would kill me. But that was just a cover for my strong feelings: 1) If I don’t go to Mass, that would just be wrong and unnatural! 2) If I don’t go to Mass, I’ll go hungry all week for my Recommended Weekly Allowance of Jesus! 3) Well, obviously it’s physically possible not to go to Mass, but who would actually want to try it? 4) But I want to go to Mass. Why wouldn’t I?

    It’s weird that he would question people about daily Mass, though. In the majority of Ireland, most people never lived close enough to church for daily Mass, even when Mass was allowed again. Among US Irish immigrants, some Catholics were notorious Massgoers and others were notorious Mass-avoiders, or at least preferred to attend Mass from the vestibule or outside in the churchyard or standing hidden behind a pillar somewhere, or to hit the minimum Mass and leave. And this was in Victorian times. So it’s a bit weird to expect that magically, every young person in Ireland would be a daily Massgoer.

  65. robtbrown says:

    jaykay says:

    Robt. Brown: Fr. Tom Forde isn’t actually indulging in that ‘ol “bash the English” vibe! I think you’re spot on when you say that the moralism is an innate temperamental factor. In fact, Irish peasant culture was remarked on by travellers in Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries as being exceptionally moralistic – perhaps even prudish – especially in relation to sexual morality, modesty etc. This is effectively what Fr. Forde is saying.

    Any moralism in Irish peasant culture is more Irish than it is peasant.

    I understand the Irish cultural reaction to the British occupation. What I saw in Rome seemed to alternate between hatred and the Stockholm Syndrome. It seemed to me, however, that their “inferiority complex” (and moralism) was more a function of the well know Irish melancholic temperament.

  66. jaykay says:

    Robt. Brown: “Any moralism in Irish peasant culture is more Irish than it is peasant”.

    Yes, there’s a funny double standard, so to speak. There does seem to have been a fairly high standard of morality in relation to chastity, but not in relation to drunkenness, fighting etc. e.g. the well-known carousing and “intemperate behaviour” that went on at wakes, fairs etc – the notorious Donnybrook fair, faction fighting etc. being prime examples.

    As to the melancholic temperament thing, quite honestly I can’t really see how moralism links up to it but maybe this is not the time to get further into this, which is a bit off-topic. Interesting insights, in any event.

  67. shane says:

    robtbrown, no offence but if your experience of Irish people is limited to seminarians and clergy you met in Rome then you are hardly in a position to make sweeping generalizations.

  68. robtbrown says:

    jaykay says:

    As to the melancholic temperament thing, quite honestly I can’t really see how moralism links up to it but maybe this is not the time to get further into this, which is a bit off-topic. Interesting insights, in any event.

    This from my old prof Jordan Aumann’s Spiritual Theology (cf The Psychosomatic Structure):

    Melancholic Temperament. The melancholic temperament is weak as regards reaction to stimulus, and it is difficult to arouse; however, after repeated impressions the reaction is strong and lasting, so that the melancholic temperament does not forget easily.

    As regards good qualities that serve as predispositions to virtue, persons of melancholic temperament are inclined to reflection, piety, and the interior life. They are compassionate toward those who suffer, attracted to the corporal works of mercy, and able to endure suffering to the point of heroism in the performance of their duties. They have a .sharp and profound intellect and, because of their natural bent to solitude and reflection, they generally consider matters thoroughly. They may become detached and dry intellectuals or contemplatives who dedicate themselves to the interior life of prayer. They usually appreciate the fine arts but are more drawn to the speculative sciences.

    When they love, it is with difficulty that they detach themselves from the object of their love. They suffer greatly if ethers treat them with coldness or ingratitude. The power of their will is greatly affected by their physical strength and health. If their physical powers are exhausted, their will is weak, but if they are in good health and spirits they are energetic workers. Normally they do not experience the vehement passions that may torment persons of a sanguine temperament. We may say in general that this temperament is opposed to the sanguine temperament as the choleric temperament is opposed to the phlegmatic temperament.

    The unfavorable traits of the melancholic temperament are an exaggerated tendency to sadness and melancholy; an inclination to magnify difficulties and thus to lose confidence in self; excessive reserve and timidity, with a propensity to scrupulosity. Persons of melancholic temperament do not show their feelings as do the sanguine; they suffer in silence because they find it difficult to reveal themselves. They tend to be pessimistic, and many enterprises are never begun because of their lack of confidence.

    Those who are in charge of educating or training the melancholic temperament should keep in mind their strong tendency to concentrate excessively on. themselves. It is important to inculcate in these persons a strong confidence in God and in themselves, as well as a more optimistic view of life. Since they have good intellects and tend to reflection, they should be made to realize that there is no reason for them to be timid or irresolute. At all costs the director must destroy their indecision and get them to make firm resolutions and to undertake projects with enthusiasm and optimism. Sometimes it is necessary to give them a special regimen of rest and nourishment and to forbid them to spend long hours in prayer and solitude or to observe fasts.

  69. RobertK says:

    “Pachomius says:
    30 June 2011 at 7:08 am

    ” Catholics who truly believe in the Church.”
    How can one truly believe in the Church by separating oneself from it and demanding that you’re better than most Catholics? It looks suspiciously like pride and schism.

    It doesn’t help that the SSPX is associated with far-right French politics, either”

    Well by watching this video. would you say that Catholics who “don’t go to church” or “don’t believe in the Churches teachings”, like most of these people being interviewed, are equal in all respects to Catholics who do, like the SSPX or others. Those in the SSPX “ARE” Catholic!!!!. Unlike those who are just baptized Catholic, and care less about it. Go to Hollywood California. Most “baptized” Catholics there, no longer believe in God!. But those in the SSPX do . Imagine that!. Sorry for my Rant!

  70. Simon_GNR says:

    Most of the people interviewed were quite young. The lack of faith and of belief among so many of these young people makes one wonder what sort of catechesis and religious education have been going on in Irish parishes and Catholic schools over the last 20 or 30 years. Why has so little of the faith, imparted by families, churches and schools “stuck”? Why have so few young people been inspired to a real, living faith and a life enriched by private prayer and participtation in the liturgy of the Church?

    My theory is that there has been a dramatic loss of confidence among many of the older members of the Church, both clerical and lay, in the wake of the sweeping changes made following Vatican II. Ecumenism seems to have had the unfortunate side effect of lessening the belief in the Roman Catholic Church as the one and only Church founded by Jesus Christ and authorised by him to bind and loose on earth. Wanting not to “indoctrinate” the young, nor deny them the freedom to think for themselves, it seems to me that many parents, priests and teachers failed to communicate enthusiasm for the faith or simply the love of God. But young people cannot make up their own minds about the Catholic faith if they’ve never been properly shown what it really is. If I were a parent I would ensure that my children were brought up to know the Lord and the Church that He founded, and the means of grace made available through the sacraments of the Church. From the age of about 14 I would leave them to make up their own minds about whether they believed in the Catholic faith and whether or not they would continue to go to Mass. But I would leave them in no doubt that the Church holds that it is a serious sin to chose not to go to Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day. My parish priest was somewhat diffident about confirming to me that yes, the Church does still teach that it is a sin to miss Sunday mass without good reason. I didn’t press him to say that it was a “mortal sin”, but I feel he might have struggled to do so.

    One can only hope that the Church in Ireland will recover from its present slump. Maybe it will take a few young and enthusiastic missionary priests/religious from (say) Africa or South America to go over there and revive things!

  71. RobertK says:

    Quote “One can only hope that the Church in Ireland will recover from its present slump. Maybe it will take a few young and enthusiastic missionary priests/religious from (say) Africa or South America to go over there and revive things!”

    Or better yet clergy from the FSSP, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Franciscans of the Immaculate, Ordinariates, FSSPX, etcc. I wouldn’t trust any modernist trained clergy with this mess. They have already proven their unreliability. We need the “Marines” to go in first, like the orders I have mentioned.

  72. benedetta says:

    There are many interesting aspects to this video and the replies of baptized Catholics in the urban center of Dublin.

    Young people basically are saying they have not been challenged. They have accepted the message that the Church essentially joined with the media to say which is to give up altogether. They have not had opportunity or encouragement to try anything different than what they are doing as young people in the world. The problems in the Irish Church are documented and mirror what is happening in America. Clearly, Catholic leaders and those in authority are letting it be known that Church attendance is not essential for anyone. God only knows where this brilliant pastoral idea came from. In times when we need the sacraments more than ever some feel it is great to tell people not to bother with coming to the church at all. People thus discouraged from coming will not come and feel silly going anyway though of course many still do nonetheless. On a practical level, if you tell people not to come they will not come as that just reinforces the antiCatholic message which predominates. What leader would wish that their people discover the goodness of God, less and less? It makes, zero sense, practically, pastorally and amounts to a sort of self hatred, a death wish.

    Yet there are countless secular authorities in numerous fields of research who say from every possible angle of thought in terms of human development that spiritual life through active regular participation in church services and parish community is essential, and given what occupies most of young people’s free time (plugged in) and the tendencies toward violence at work in the world, that young people in fact need this connection, more than ever before. Clearly some Protestant congregations are on top of this at this point. But I wonder who in the Catholic world who first dreamed up this terrible approach. Because here are the fruits of their actions, walking around the streets of Dublin, and all over the English speaking world it seems, shrugging, grinning, chasing down so many other things, bored and discouraged from communion with the love of God, with whom relationship with God and community together becomes less and less acknowledged though a reality waiting for them anyway, in embryo.

    It was hard to decide which comments were the most revealing but I found the young person who said “I believe in science” to be the most interesting. After all, she is quite correct when she says “I believe” for one must have faith in men and in their output in scientific research, quite a lot of belief in fact, belief which is only belief at the end of the day, and really not reasonable and completely arbitrary.

    Clearly in just about any scientific endeavor the glory of God is present and at work, reflected and revealed easily by scientific inquiry. There are countless examples but of course one that is so obvious is the fact of fetal ultrasound which reveals the fascinating development of human life, of personhood with the ability to feel pain, to be effective, to move and express, and ultrasound documents all of this at every stage of development, stages that Our Lord Himself underwent in formation and which we all undergo necessarily in our journeys. Quite naturally belief in science goes hand in hand with belief in God. I pray that young person will discover this more and more for her life as a beloved child of God.

    I found this very interesting on the point of God’s accompaniment with us through science:

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