Types of Catholics in Ireland

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Orthodox Catholics are the most devout of the four categories. This is the group that identifies most strongly with the institution of the Catholic Church. They follow church teachings rigorously, take part in church activities, rituals and practices, and strive to live by it's rules. Such individuals are incredibly proud of their faith, and wear it like a badge. They tend to be deeply involved with the church. Their entire social structure is based first and foremost (although not entirely) around like-minded strong Catholics who have similar if not identical views to them. This is a product of their habitual attendance at mass and other religious ceremonies. Their religion is a factor in every aspect of their lives. If a conflic were to arise between church teachings and some other large social commitment (family, work etc), it is likely that the orthodox Catholic would favour the views of the church. For example, it is highly likely that an orthodox Catholic would insist on a deceasced member of their family having a Christian burial.

Otrthodox Catholics generally remain loyal to the church as a whole, despite the child abuse scandals within church run Christian Brother's schools and convents

It would appear from the present study as well as the findings from the European Values Surveys (1990 and 1999) that strong Catholics may be becoming less rigid or legalistic in their adherence to Church rules and regulations. Certainly the notion of having to attend Mass every Sunday seems to be on the decline. A comparison of the findings between the EVS studies of 1990 and 1999 indicates that the level of attendance at Mass dropped for all age groups. Although the decline in weekly attendance was greatest among 18–30 year olds (-27 per cent) it was also high among the 31–49 year olds (-17 per cent) which may be an indication that the notion of middle-age Catholics returning to orthodox practice once they marry and have children, may not be happening so often.

However, even orthodox Catholics are becoming less consistent and inflexible when it come to abiding by church teachings. This is particularly evident when we consider the rule of going to mass every Sunday, as attendance appears to be declining. STATISTICS

What needs to be investigated is to what extent strong Catholics are still prominent in everyday life in Ireland, to what extent they manifest their Catholic identity outside of the religious field. We are well used to the notion of strong Protestants in Northern Ireland, but are there any equivalents in the South? Have strong Catholics disappeared out of political life in the Republic? Are there any Catholic equivalents to Ian Paisley? Thirty years ago, strong Catholic politicians such as Oliver J. Flanagan had a high public profile. In 1974, the Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, voted against his own government’s proposed legislation to allow chemists to sell contraceptives to married couples (Lee, 1989: 479). But the question is not just to what extent strong Catholics have disappeared from the political field in the Republic, it is also to what extent they have disappeared in the fields of education, health and social welfare. Indeed, what needs to be examined most is to what extent they have disappeared within families, communities and everyday social life. have disappeared within families, communities and everyday social life. Identity is about how individuals see and understand themselves, the people with whom they have a sense of commonality and belonging. In everyday social life, identity revolves around an ongoing ontological sense of self, the sense of being different from other individuals and the sense of being the same. For most people, seeing and understanding oneself as a Catholic is an inherited social identity. The question is to what extent this self-understanding permeates everyday social life, when, where and among whom does it manifest itself.

Cultural Catholics are generally more...
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