The Catholic Church and a secular society


Sir, – Many thanks to Murt Ó Séaghdha for the history lesson, filtered through an emerald prism though it was (Letters, April 11th).

He states that the overwhelming majority of taxpayers in this country are Catholics whereas he should perhaps have noted that they are nominally Catholic. Church attendance levels and Catholic religious observance in general suggest that we now live in an “overwhelmingly” secular society. Indeed, the “overwhelming” vote in favour of social change in recent referendums, in defiance of Catholic teaching, further reinforces this view.

According to the Central Statistics Office, the proportion of people expressing “no religion” in 2011 was 5.9 per cent , which had increased to 9.8 per cent by the time the 2016 census was compiled. Between 1961 and 2016, those who described themselves as Catholics had fallen from 94.9 per cent to 78.3 per cent according to the same agency. These figures include the nominally Catholic, as a survey of Mass attendance from 2010 suggests 41.3 per cent weekly observance (European Social Survey 2010).

A lot of people subscribe to a spirituality that may not attune with the dogma and teachings of a variety of religions, Catholic or otherwise. It is reassuring that the Irish people regularly express a compassion and humanity in their daily lives which is testament to a moral core that persists without recourse to religious adherence. – Yours, etc,


Coolballow, Co Wexford.