This article explores the relationship between Catholicism and nationalism in Ireland. It first explains the historic relationship between the Church and the Irish nationalist movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It then briefly summarizes the historic role of the Church in Irish politics after independence. Finally, the article examines the diminishing political influence of Irish Catholicism in Irish politics by exploring the utility of various theories of secularisation. Like other recent work on secularisation, it attempts to historicize the debate regarding secularisation. While not agreeing with all aspects of historic secularisation theory, this approach is much more useful in explaining the dwindling power of the Catholic Church in Ireland today than more recent theories of secularisation that emphasize the vitality of religion in a more pluralistic and competitive setting.
Keywords: Ireland, Secularisation, Catholicism, Nationalism
How to Cite:
White, T., (2017) “Catholicism and Nationalism in Ireland: From Fusion in the 19th Century to Separation in the 21st Century”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 4(1), p.47-64. doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.73