Irish People Are Not Irreligious But Bored Of The Old Familiar Catholicism


Ireland is not irreligious or unspiritual as most people tend to accuse it of being. On the contrary, the people of my country are very spiritual. Atheists and agnostics no matter how often they’re given a platform in the mainstream entertainment industry are nevertheless on paper a minority. The same is true for America and the world in general that hardline committed atheists are few.

The problem is that Catholicism has become too intellectualized over the years and lost its mystery. People are attracted to “mystery”. This is why they are seeking out Hindi Gurus and Buddhist monks not to mention Yoga, Chrystals and entertaining TV shows that explore the haunted houses of Ireland in the hopes of catching their relatives on camera.

They believe in some sort of afterlife and they often philosophize as to whether it’s a fixed abode or a process of reincarnation. This thirst for mystery is why I believe some young people when they do decide to come back to Catholicism end up in extremist right-wing Latin cults. These ultra-conservative types use the Latin Mass as a social hub to express their extremities and even some legitimate disgust at the current undisciplined liturgies found in mainstream Irish Catholic Churches today.

The Latin Mass has a certain mystery to it as does the idea of belonging to a small extremist group that lays claim to having more knowledge than mainstream Catholicism. That’s how they end up in that kind of spiritually unprofitable circle of extremist personalities because of the scandal and abuse of a beautiful modern liturgy we have now.

Irish people choose these mysterious religions that offer exotic teachings, meditational practices and strange rituals because they’re looking to cleanse themselves through an emotional discharge. Whatever the ritual may be such as screaming hysterically in evangelical churches or quietly sitting in the lotus position doing breathing exercises, all of it is an expression of boredom with what they’re familiar with and a reflection of their desire for Christ.

Familiarity breeds contempt and the Irish are no strangers to such an approach. Catholicism is something familiar to us and because its expression in the west is of an intellectual nature, very few see the use of it. In Catholicism, more emphasis is put on memorizing the Catechism and intellectual study than living and engaging with Christ. For the Irish, Christ is simply an image or someone to be learned about in a book rather than a real family member and friend.

I have it said to me by people I try to evangelize, “But I disagree with the Church on its teaching of homosexuality”. They put the intellectual before the engagement with Christ, see? I used to be the same until I met Jesus and developed a relationship with him through the mystery of prayer and Liturgy. Then over time understanding the teaching became clearer, see? The mystery became the priority and the intellectual fell into place.

Few indeed are the Irish who have been given the opportunity to be led into the mystery of their faith. They’re attracted to Gurus because they look and sound intelligent and so it’s easier to relate to them rather than some androgynous priest rattling on about how much he loves the GAA (Irish sport similar to soccer) and does boring homilies that do not preach to the heart.

Gurus for all their heretical babble, are able to formulate their words that strike the heart and are simple in nature. They tend not to introduce too much complex talk or blend in with the personalities of their listeners that they might be capable of relating to them. Priests come across as the guy next door while Gurus appear as otherworldly men who get respect.

This desire for chopping and changing one’s religion and spiritual experiences from that of Christianity should come as a spiritual cry of the soul to the Catholic Church in Ireland. This wanting for the Latin Mass by ordinary Catholics who are not mentally unstable should not be scorned. What are they searching for? Mystery! And if we want to save souls we are going to have to bring back that mystery through our modern liturgy.

The mystery is in the modern Liturgy the application of which needs more discipline. The Irish Catholic Church need to become like the Guru who is not the guy next door and far from a familiar face to the crowd. The Church must dispense with its gospel choirs, corny secular type Gospel music. It needs to bin right away the attempt to be like one of the crowd because it’s incredibly unattractive to a modern mind in search of something outside of itself.

We will never be able to help Irish people back into the Church if we keep making the world a part of the Church. We need to bring the Church to the world and not the world into the Church. If we really want to be a modern Church we must assess the personality of the people we are trying to engage with and confess that thirst for mystery is the new modern trend.

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