Thursday, 21st June 2018
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A time for Reflection

Even though Easter is just over it is still a perfect time to stop and think what role does Christianity play in the lives of Irish people today. It would seem that there is a growing secularization in the country and that the Roman Catholic faith is losing ground to the rising spread of the feeling that it doesn't matter so much any more in the lives of people today. Just one small indication of that was the fact that this year alcohol was allowed to be served and bought on Good Friday for the first time in 91 years. In all of the coverage of this there seemed to be only one place in the country, Newmarket in County Cork, where all of the pubs stayed closed. Even that didn't seem to matter so much as the local store was selling alcohol to anyone who wished to purchase it.

Even though Ireland is increasingly becoming a secular country part of the fault does firmly lie with the Roman Catholic church itself. The manner in which it has dealt with all of the scandals in recent years has only given rise to the situation where people no longer seem to trust or have any faith in the Church. This is not only confined to Ireland but it is a world wide phenomenon where the Church seemed to put it's own interests above those whom it was supposed to protect and serve.

Consequently in Ireland this has led to the fact that increasingly less and less people are choosing to attend Church every week as well as the fact that there are less and less men and women who are wanting to take up an active role as priests and nuns within the Church.

Even for those who still attend Church there is a sense that they don't fully accept and practise all of the Church's teachings. This is given rise to the phrase of 'a la carte catholicism', where people take up only those parts of the Church's teachings that are aligned with their own personal values.

Given all of these feelings that people have about the church today you might be forgiven for thinking that the Church is in a weakened state and while to some extent that might be true the Church is still a potent force in the country today. The upcoming visit of Pope Francis at the end of August will show just how strongly a lot of Irish people feel about their faith and their attachment to the Church.

While for some the Church does not play any active role in their lives for many people the Church is still a force for moral good and a touchstone in their lives and will remain so. It might not inform everything that they do but it still plays a large role within their lives and nowhere more so than at times of the year of big celebration such as Easter.

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