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  • Thumbnail for Irish Catholicism: A Distinction Between Church and Faith
    Irish Catholicism: A Distinction Between Church and Faith by Diess, Abigail

    This thesis presents a history of instances of popular Irish rebellion against and co-optation of the Catholic Church along with examples of Catholic influence in “secular” society to argue for a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between the Republic of Ireland and the Catholic Church. The international shock following the 2015 and 2018 referenda to legalize same-sex marriage and repeal the constitutional ban on abortion, respectively, was in part a product of a tradition of scholastic discourse which relies on mass attendance and clerical participation data to draw conclusions about the state of Catholicism in Ireland. This method erases the tradition of resistance to Catholic Church mandate seen throughout Irish history and collapses allegiance to Catholicism into the act of active participation in the Church. This thesis argues for a distinction between the Church hierarchy’s mandate and allegiance to Catholicism and contextualizes recent progressive movements in an often-ignored history of activism.