In February, Four Courts Press released “Violence, Politics and Catholicism in Ireland,” by Oliver P. Rafferty (Boston College). The publisher’s description follows:
This collection of essays looks at the interrelated themes of Catholicism, violence and politics in the Irish context in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although much effort was expended by institutional Catholicism in trying to curb the violent propensities of the Fenians in the nineteenth century and the IRA in the twentieth, its efforts were largely unsuccessful. Ironically, Catholicism had greater achievements to boast of in its influence in the British Empire as a whole than over its wayward flock in Ireland. But there was a cost in the church’s commitment to British imperial expansion that did not always sit easily with growing nationalist expectations in Ireland.
Although it provided support for the British forces in the First World War, by the time of the Second World War the church’s views of that conflict differed little from those of the government of independent Ireland, although there were sufficient differences that ensured Catholicism was not just nationalism at prayer.
These and other issues such as religious perceptions of the Famine, Cardinal Cullen’s role in shaping the ethos of Irish Catholicism and the role of memory, including religious memory, in Irish violence combine to make this a fascinating study.
This March, Edinburgh University Press will release “Muslims in Ireland: Past and Present” by Oliver Scharbrodt (University of Chester), Tuula Sakaranaho (University of Helsinki), Adil Hussain Khan (Loyola University), Yafa Shanneik (University College Cork) and Vivian Ibrahim (University of Mississippi). The publisher’s description follows:
Since 9/11, the interest in Muslims in Europe has increased significantly. There has been much public debate and academic research focused on Muslims living in larger Western European countries like Britain, France or Germany, but little is known of Muslims in Ireland. This book fills this gap, providing a complete study of this unexplored Muslim presence, from the arrival of the first Muslim resident in Cork, in the southwest of Ireland, in 1784 until mass immigration to the Republic of Ireland during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ period from the mid-1990s onwards. Muslim immigration and settlement in Ireland is very recent, and poses new challenges to a society that has perceived itself as religiously and culturally homogeneous. Ireland is also one of the least secular societies in Europe, providing a different context for Muslims seeking recognition by state and society. This book is essential for anyone who wants to understand the diversity of Muslim presences across Europe.
This February, Lexington Books will release “The Catholic Church in Ireland Today” edited by David Carroll Cochran (Loras College) and John C. Waldmeir (Loras College). The publisher’s description follows:
From a Church that once enjoyed devotional loyalty, political influence, and institutional power unrivaled in Europe, the Catholic Church in Ireland now faces collapse. Devastated by a series of reports on clerical sexual abuse, challenged publicly during several political battles, and painfully aware of plunging Mass attendance, the Irish Church today is confronted with the loss of its institutional legitimacy. This study is the first international and interdisciplinary attempt to consider the scope of the problem, analyze issues that are crucial to the Irish context, and identify signs of both resilience and renewal. In addition to an overview of the current status and future directions of Irish Catholicism, The Catholic Church in Ireland Today examines specific issues such as growing secularism, the changing image of Irish bishops, generational divides, Catholic migrants to Ireland, the abuse crisis and responses in Ireland and the United States, Irish missionaries, the political role of Irish priests, the 2012 Dublin Eucharistic Congress, and contemplative strands in Irish identity. This book identifies the key issues that students of Irish society and others interested in Catholic culture must examine in order to understand the changing roles of religion in the contemporary world.
Later this month, Palgrave Macmillan releases Irish Religious Conflict in Comparative Perspective: Catholics, Protestants and Muslims, edited by John Wolffe (Open University UK). The publisher’s description follows:
By setting the Irish religious conflict in a wide comparative perspective, this book offers fresh insights into the causes of religious conflicts, and potential means of resolving them. The collection mounts a challenge to widely held views of ‘Irish exceptionalism’ and points to significant historical and contemporary commonalities across the Western European and North Atlantic worlds. In so doing it enriches understanding not only of the cultural and political legacies of Christendom’s internal divisions, but also of the factors currently hampering the peaceful assimilation of Muslims in Western societies. The ‘on the ground’ experience detailed in several of the chapters shows, however, that religion can be part of the ‘solution’ as well as part of the ‘problem’, and the book develops conclusions and implications that are important for practitioners and policy-makers as well as for academics.
Next month, Manchester University Press will publish Freedom and the Fifth Commandment: Catholic Priests and Political Violence in Ireland, 1919–21, by Brian Heffernan (Independent Scholar). The publisher’s description follows.
The guerilla war waged between the IRA and the crown forces between 1919 and 1921 was a pivotal episode in the modern history of Ireland. This book addresses the War of Independence from a new perspective by focusing on the attitude of a powerful social elite: the Catholic clergy.
The close relationship between Irish nationalism and Catholicism was put to the test when a pugnacious new republicanism emerged after the 1916 Easter rising. When the IRA and the crown forces became involved in a guerilla war between 1919 and 1921, priests had to define their position anew.
Using a wealth of source material, much of it newly available, this book assesses the clergy’s response to political violence. It describes how the image of shared victimhood at the hands of the British helped to contain tensions between the clergy and the republican movement, and shows how the links between Catholicism and Irish nationalism were sustained.
This January, Columba Press will publish Quo Vadis? Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law by Mary McAleese (former President of Ireland). The publisher’s description follows.
In her first book since leaving Aras An Uachtarain, Mary McAleese has produced a masterful and highly accessible study of how Vatican II’s teachings on collegiality, or how power and responsibility were to be shared between the Pope and the college of bishops within the Catholic Church, have either been sidetracked or not yet come to fruition, depending on how you interpret the events which followed the Council up to the present day.
Vatican II embraced a fresh new vision of the Church as the People of God, turning away from the rigidly hierarchic structure of the past. It left a clear picture of the Church as communio or community but no clear road-map of how to get there. While it sowed seeds of confusion it also infused into the Church an expectation of broader ecclesial participation and co-responsibility which has impacted in many different ways. Continue reading
Máiréad Enright (University of Kent, Canterbury) has posted Girl Interrupted: Citizenship and the Irish Hijab Debate. The abstract follows.
This article discusses the case of Shekinah Egan, an Irish Muslim girl who asked to be allowed to wear the hijab to school. It traces the media and government response to her demand, and frames that demand as a citizenship claim. It focuses in particular on a peculiarity of the Irish response; that the government was disinclined to legislate for the headscarf in the classroom. It argues that – perhaps counter-intuitively – the refusal to make law around the hijab operated to silence the citizenship claims at the heart of the Egan case. To this extent, it was a very particular instance of a broader and ongoing pattern of exclusion of the children of migrants from the Irish public sphere.