The Catholic Church In Developing The Identity Of The Republic Of Ireland

2061 words - 8 pages

The Republic of Ireland cannot be adequately examined without including the large role played by the Catholic Church in political development and policy making. The Catholic Church has validated itself as an influential institution since the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169. The original intent of the invasion served to spread the papacy, and with Ireland, the Church would come to achieve arguably the most Catholic country to exist in the world. The Republic of Ireland evolved through many centuries in order to achieve a true Irish State. The Anglo-Irish War proved significant in achieving the latter goal by ridding the southern sector of Ireland from the centuries of grueling oppressive rule and discrimination under Great Britain law. However, the freedom derived hindered a power struggle plagued by a partitioned Island and continued influence of religion. Consequently, the Irish Civil war exemplifies the continuous battle of accepting a partitioned but dominantly Catholic state instead of a united Irish state. While the role of the Catholic Church has not always directly effected political decisions in the Republic of Ireland, the strong influence has resulted in a country with a distinct and conservative social agenda in comparison to other democracies. The Second Vatican council proved to have a positive influence on social reforms and allowed Ireland to catch up to its European counterparts respectively. The political development and public policy making of Ireland in the 19th and 20th century struggled to emerge with a distinct Irish identity due to the underlining Catholic influence that remained dominant through Vatican II.
The Anglo-Irish War, or the Irish War of Independence, was an outcome that arrived after centuries of a repressive demeanor toward the Irish people. It serves as the “most vital” episode of a long-term religious and diplomatic conflict between Great Britain and Ireland that has yet to be “conclusively resolved” (Gray, 2008, p. 372). The Irish Republic Army, the IRA, was formed from 73 of the 105 Irish representatives that held seats in the Westminster Parliament (Gray, 2008). This organization in turn created an illegal Irish Parliament, the Dail Elreann, whom declared war on Britain that initiated the Anglo-Irish War. The Irish Republic Army maintained two clear goals they were looking to achieve from the onset of the war. The provisional government desired a complete separation from British rule in addition to creating an Irish Republic free of any other influence (Gray, 2008, p. 376). The war illustrates the birth of “modern guerilla war[fare]” which in the end arguably produced survivors in place of winners (Gray, 2008, p. 371). Although the war ends diplomatically in favor of the Irish provisional government, the newly established Ireland lacked unity primarily due to arguments over the treaty they reluctantly signed.
The continuous strive for religious freedom and ultimate desire for a united...

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