The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

'The Church Brought to its Knees': Two books on Catholic Ireland's retreat

Irish Catholicism since 1950: The Undoing of a Culture,
by Dr Louise Fuller
(Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2004 pbk)

Goodbye to Catholic Ireland:
How the Irish Lost the Civilization They Created
by Mary Kenny
(Springfield, Illinois: Templegate, 2000; 1st ed. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1997)

Book Review

Seaghán Ó Murchú • 26 June 2006

Michel Houellebecq, the French "right-wing anarchist" provocateur living in Ireland, in his new novel translated as The Possibility of an Island, has his atheist protagonist from the very near future (who as in his previous three fictions seems nearly identical with his creator!) reflect how:

the last thirty years of European history had been marked by the massive and amazingly rapid collapse of traditional religious beliefs. In countries like Spain, Portugal, and Ireland, social life and all behaviors had been structured by a deeply rooted, unanimous, and immense Catholic faith for centuries, it determined morality as well as familial relations, conditioned all cultural and artistic productions, social hierarchies, conventions, and rules for living. In the space of a few years, in less than a generation, in an incredibly brief period of time, all this had disappeared, had evaporated into thin air. In those countries today no one believed in God anymore, or took account of him, or even remembered that they had once believed.; and this had been achieved without difficulty, without conflict, without any kind of violence or protest, without even a religious discussion, as easily as a heavy object, held back for some time by an external obstacle, returns as soon as you release it, to its position of equilibrium. Human spiritual beliefs are perhaps far from being the massive, solid immovable block usually imagined; on the contrary, they are perhaps what is most fleeting and fragile in man, the thing most ready to be born and to die. (245)

Since Michel and I are about the same age, we may represent the last generation able- if barely- to recall a childhood filled with these now vanished verities. 'All that's solid melts into air' matches not only Marx's manifesto. The dissolution in the last third of the last century of one of the Church's last European bastions, Ireland, can now be analyzed thanks to two recent studies. Compared to Dr Louise Fuller's Irish Catholicism since 1950: The Undoing of a Culture (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2004 pbk), journalist Mary Kenny's Goodbye to Catholic Ireland: How the Irish Lost the Civilization They Created (Springfield, Illinois: Templegate, 2000; 1st ed. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1997) is lighter not only in size but in style. But, as with Fuller's academic study of five decades, Kenny traces too (if in condensed form) the previous history of Irish Catholicism that led up to its undoing. Fuller and Kenny both incorporate effectively the 'Question Box' feature of the paper the Messenger of the Sacred Heart to cite how ordinary Irish Catholics acted and thought, and what such men and women worried about in their practice of the Faith, or at least its outward signs of devotion. Both authors evoke well the legalistic, overscrupulous, and rule-bound nature of a Catholic practice rooted in the ritual, the recital, and the repetition of prayers, visits, or duties in precisely the same manner, or else risk damnation.

Kenny persuades effectively, however, that this emphasis on "externals" rather than interior reformation was balanced somewhat by the kindness many- contrary to persistent stereotyping blaming the sins of a few scandalous figures on the goodness of the self-effacing majority- found so notable in Irish Catholicism over most of the 20th c. She gives fair credit to the thousands, if not millions, who sought to find comfort and relieve injustice, and how Irish Catholicism, for all its faults, drew many towards a more generous spirit- again countering media distortion. By delving into the anecdotes and asides of many, both clergy and laity, Kenny strives towards a fair depiction of what made Irish Catholicism both admirable and reprehensible, and it his to her credit that you close this book better aware of the intricacies and the impacts of both qualities.

She, born around WWII, also intersperses her own coming-of-age into what used to be called "women's liberation" as one of the pioneering Irish feminists, circa 1970, alongside such as Mary Bourke, later President Robinson. On varied issues Mary Kenny has valuable insights, such as the material abundance of the North vs. the poverty of the 1950s South, on women's roles within the Church and the power they exercised and the marginalisation they faced, on the struggle for personal liberty from rules and strictures vs. rampant consumerism that has transformed Ireland, and on the distortions of the film version of 'Angela's Ashes' vs. the more complicated reality of Catholicism and its then-inextricable ties with all of Irish life. Kenny emphasises the freedom some women were able to grasp within the limits of clerical dominance as well as the restrictions with which we are lately made more familiar by the media. She strives towards balance, and lets all sides of the debate have their say. Goodbye does jump about too much, although chapters generally follow chronology. At times her journalistic knack for summation overshadows a reader's wish for more in-depth insights, but she does refer to many more such sources in her narrative that can provide these considerations. (As an aside, may I recommend Kenny's excellent biography of 'Lord Haw Haw' William Joyce, Germany Calling, exploring deftly this complicated man's career and delving deeply into his Irish roots; he was a one-time Galway-based spy for the Crown against the IRA, for example.[Dublin: New Island, 2003])) Goodbye, as a popularized account, is not weighty but contains a wealth of ideas, albeit in scattered form.

Kenny blends her own experiences, her wide reading (everyone from Camille Paglia to a lout in 'West Side Story' joins the usual parade of scholars and the press), and substantial attention to primary sources. She has plumbed archives of the Irish Press and the Independent to support her arguments. Contrary to what I expected, this book takes its title seriously, and does not skim over either the failings or the successes of Ireland's brand of faith. She reminds us that the missionary spirit and the awareness of the international membership of the Church joined many Irish- well before its present emergence into a more ethnically diverse society- to their fellow international communicants. It may have been in the now-banished forms of saving pennies for 'pagan babies' and slipping change into a St Martin de Porres statue placed next to the shop till, but Catholics in Ireland proudly identified with the universalism of the 'catholic' Body of Christ in its global, polyglot, and many-shaded incarnations. This early multicultural thinking, she demonstrates, prepared the way for an Irish ethos geared towards- well before Trócaire (Concern) and Bono- what used to be called 'corporal works of mercy' for those needing rescue.

Kenny also separates republicanism from Catholicism in a thoughtful argument. Notwithstanding a few partisan remarks of Cardinal Ó Fiach about 'the lads' in Long Kesh, most of the hierarchy and clergy did not let any residual sympathy for the old IRA taint their opposition to its newer adherents. Fuller discusses politics much less than education, for instance, but she also contrasts the anti-physical force position upheld by many clerics from the stereotype of gunrunning padres perpetuated often by Catholics, their Unionist opposition, and papist enemies. While a few clerics aided the 'Ra (see Martin Dillon's God and the Gun- references to this controversial book oddly missing from Fuller and Kenny; both books tend to skim the Six Counties), the majority kept their sympathies in check- as they had in the War for Independence, which at least the hierarchy largely condemned even if many among 1916-21's rank and file clergy tended more towards vicarious militancy. The 60s appeal for making a better world may not have led many Irish to hoist the grenade as a few Latin American clergy had done. But the Irish episcopate, many of whom initially resisted liberalisation, pressed their post-1965 flocks towards the ideal shepherd not of a vigilant pastor, but of their own 'informed conscience'. As with liberation theology, Marxist exegesis, and their applications to republicanism, many priests and laity found that these sympathies could be left more to one's private decisions. The Irish, like all Catholics, found themselves ordered to grow up. As they left behind 'childish things', some grew confident, others dismayed. The Church managed both to inspire independence in its younger charges but too often to demand obedience from its weakest and most vulnerable. Even as the faithful were encouraged post-Vatican II to determine their own spiritual direction, students, orphans, the incarcerated teens, and single mothers, for example, continued to belie the claims of care by a forgiving Church. The offenses of its worst representatives conjured up Jesus' haunting condemnation of those corrupters of the young- deviants deserving to be thrown, millstone-collared, into the sea. Kenny points out that while the abuses that became exposed in the 1990s did much to weaken the Church, that its precarious position of power had begun to be undermined much earlier.

1961 brought TV to Ireland, and from that year on, coincidence or not, vocations declined. The high status, for better and worse, given the clergy and those in religious life, a feature that caught the attention of any visitor to Ireland up until the 70s at least, inevitably also declined, as laity were emboldened by Vatican II and by relaxed mores. Kenny shows how the language of rights hastened individualism; how communal identity centered around faith precipitously slipped as family rosaries were replaced by single mothers, as daily Mass gave way to easy drugs. The moral force of the Church could erode quickly; in one incident she snappily shows how an old priest opposed to a couple living out of wedlock was resisted by them, and how his young successor chose simply not to ever confront the couple. With this example, she illustrates the rapid collapse of Catholic traditional values and their regulation and enforcement by the clergy in the space of a very short time. A slight exaggeration, you may think, but Kenny shows the cause and effect of the delayed impact of the late 1960s, which arguably in Ireland did not take full momentum until the 80s. Historian Diarmaid Ferriter's 2005 The Transformation of Ireland (reviewed by me recently in The Blanket) cites approvingly Kenny's ledger of profits and debits after the 20th century ended the clerisy that dominated so many of its decades. If Fuller's 2002-published book had been available when Ferriter wrote his drafts, her more careful attention than that given by Kenny's editors to her data's presentation would have enlivened Ferriter's diagnosis on Catholic Ireland's near-fatal fall, made fluently in his own carefully compiled work.

I clarify my reason for a lower rating of Kenny's book than it could have earned: persistently poor proofreading. Easily fifty errors mar this text. Not only are many words misspelled, but many have whole syllables missing. Either a spell-checker was not used on the draft, or a fast typist failed to edit the manuscript. Encyclical, on two pages, appears four times. Twice it's spelled correctly, twice incorrectly. This lack of attention to professionalism does, unfortunately, diminish the impact that this book aimed for, in my estimation.

This is an American edition of the book (originally published in Britain in 1997 in a version widely available in Ireland), with footnotes and documentation missing from this newer printing--in a bid for a wider audience I assume--so as to give room to ten celebrities from Irish life who offer brief and mixed recollections of their own Irish Catholic formative years. I would have rather read a better-proofread text, with citations and endnotes instead of memories from Pierce Brosnan, Maeve Binchy, or Tony O'Reilly, but then, I'm not as star-struck but more book-addled than its probable readership- note the subtitle's twist on Thomas Cahill's facile bestseller- intended for this second version of Kenny's eulogy, autopsy, and requiem.

Dr Fuller, an historian fittingly at NUI Maynooth, adapts what must have been quite a graduate thesis into this book. In about 250 pages of main text, she keeps a narrative flowing through an enormous spread of research while never getting bogged down in jargon, tangents, or polemic. Fuller keeps her tone serious but not pedantic, no small feat given the historical, theological, sociological, and educational theories she must navigate along with hundreds of primary and secondary sources to back up her arguments. Having read Kenny's Goodbye to Catholic Ireland immediately prior to Fuller, I recommend Kenny (despite its plethora of typographical errors) for the beginner. Fuller's coverage is understandably more in-depth and analytical rather than conversational, although both Kenny and Fuller investigate some of the same sources.

Their common and the best source being the 'Question Box' where advice on accepted Catholic procedures was sought and dispensed in the pages of the paper the Irish Messenger of the Sacred Heart: chapter 3 of Fuller's book captures well the ethos and the spirit of Irish Catholic mores circa mid 20-c, a time nearly unimaginable by any observer fresh only to today's Ireland.

Here are representative examples from 'Question Box': 'Does a person who says the Rosary wearing gloves gain the indulgences granted for the saying of the Rosary on blessed beads?' (qtd. Kenny, 188) (Even if satirist Myles na gCopaleen wrote this for his 1940s column 'Cruiskeen Lawn', it could not have been bettered!) 'May one use powder to fix dentures before going to Holy Communion?' (qtd. Kenny, 187) 'Is it right to say the Rosary in bed?' (qtd. Fuller, 32) Neither the authors nor myself are singling these out as an easy target. These questions reflect what even I in my post-conciliar (being born a year before Vatican II convened) upbringing remember very well: our scrupulous anxiety to follow rigid rules if salvation was to be attained. While once remarkable if only for its massive success in keeping millions of Catholics under external conformity, the distortions that over-emphases on such minutiae led often in the popular mind to casuistry. The ethical and the legal overlapped; the spirit of the law was killed by the letter. Along with this attitude, Fuller and Kenny agree, a childlike dependence on authority followed often. This trapped power in the clergy rather than compelled maturity within the faithful in daily life. The training wheels never came off the bike; the laity like the clergy feared taking control of their own spiritual direction. This disabled many Catholics; timidity bred subservience.

What has been also been lost, both Kenny and Fuller concur, is the good nature and the relative innocence of that laity. Yet in a society where the arbiters of proper conduct and approved thinking were the clergy, many an ordinary Irish person was neither encouraged nor much able to think at a sustained level independently about moral judgements, interior spirituality, or personal responsibility. Clergy trained by rote in scholastic theology removed from real life brought into their parishes and schools an emphasis on managing to stay out of trouble, manipulating the rules so as to earn redemption. This mentality left both them and their charges too childish, too trusting of authority, too dependent on the 'Question Box'- or the strictures of the confession box. Many could not function unless by standards expected of a loyal Catholic - unless as decisions enacted within the narrow framework of a legalistic system that tended too often to approve slavish adherence to actions and attitudes that verged on the shamanistic if not superstitious.

Fuller shows how this paternalistic, and parochial, culture began to unravel as Vatican II encouraged the renewal of an interior spirituality rather than a codified adherence to 'externals'. Inevitably, this led Catholics to begin questioning, since they were told to do so, not only what needed repair in the Church, but what served as the foundations and the props for the Church in its dogma as well as its devotions. Television, on New Year's 1961, arrived in Ireland, and not coincidentally perhaps vocations from this year on declined, slowly until 1967, then rapidly. The loss of clergy meant lay control of schools, and in turn lay control of how morality and catechism were taught in an era that mandated less attention to punishment of sinners and more on understanding sin and expressing tolerance, ecumenism, and diversity in a post-Vatican II progressive climate. (I believe that the Messenger ceased publication around 1967, its Jesuit connection with the Apostolate of Prayer having been severed. Neither Kenny nor Fuller gives any date of its dissolution.). The Society of Jesus, once stalwart troops sworn with an extra vow to papal obedience, itself became riven by the freedom that permeated every corner of not only bedrooms and classrooms but convents and rectories.

I may not be alone as a post-Vatican II youngster, in recalling (contrary to the stereotype many have inside and outside the Church) that I never had a nun teach me, even in primary grades; the already rather radical community known for their artistic and progressive efforts that had once staffed my parish had long battled our stodgy cardinal, and by 1969 had discarded their habits and often their vows. All but two elderly sisters decamped from our local convent of fourteen to join Castro's sugar harvests. Many of us born- like Houellebecq and his narrators- into the West's later 20th century inherited restless, alienated, perhaps foolish, yet exuberant, spirits. Against seeds sown by the fertile media no contraceptive barrier could be inserted by the Church.

Fuller captures this transition from submission to subversion well. A representative passage not only demonstrates her insights, but her skill at conveying them in straightforward, readable prose:

Television as a medium was impervious to power or position. It was undaunted in the face of tradition. It became the ultimate leveller- it could not be ignored, and any criticisms were made at the critics' peril. Whether its advances were welcome or not, it could force itself on anybody. It demystified with ease the kind of distance, aloofness and mystique which had characterised the episcopal office in the past, and its ultimate weapon was public ridicule, should anyone choose to confront it. It would, in due course, assume the role of taskmaster, and demand accountability of bishops, politicians, public servants and private persons alike. (132)

Most of Fuller's main study focuses on the 1950-1979 period; the later decades are covered in less detail in the last chapter and an epilogue. This period could have earned far more in-depth analyses, but perhaps data from 1980-2000 remain yet to be fully studied. With Ferriter and Fuller now sketching out the terrain of the past two decades, scholars should better be able to move from the macro to the microcosm to better chart the peaks and valleys of Church influence. The author seems to hint as much. Fuller admits on a vexing question of whether modernization or scandals led to the deflation of Church power in the 1990s that it's impossible to disconnect one cause from the other and that the answer cannot take only one side or the other, given the complexity of causes involved that stretched globally earlier and went far beyond Irish borders.

Still, why it took until the early 1990s for the institutional force of the Church to collapse may at first seem puzzling. Even if TV appears above all to bear the blame as the primary cause for the weakening of Irish practice, this corrosive process still took place slowly over decades. Fuller shows how the erosion had begun by theologians who feared that the Irish were too infantilised in their safe, nearly medieval, and practically total Catholic lived environment that flourished (at least on its outside) in the 50s. I recall John F. Keane's novel The Bodhrán Makers, about the clash of Church and folk tradition. Taking place fifty years ago, it seemed to me as if it could have been five centuries ago, so permeated were parishioners by the fear of failing to placate the Orwellian PP. Half a century ago, Fuller reminds us, nobody envisioned that Ireland would ever be less than what Keane described: 90+% not only Catholic by heritage but as regular communicants- at Mass at least weekly. Confident in the loyalty of the overwhelming majority, no one feared that secularization seen in England or Western Europe would ever challenge this Irish status quo. Clerical reformers, emboldened by Vatican II, thought that they could liberalise without alienating their parishioners. A few progressives at first, then more clergy and laity emboldened: they challenged Humanae Vitae, papal rigidity, sectarian prejudice, and vestiges of devotional piety held over from the post-Famine tamping down of the Church into a sexually and intellectually repressive mold. By the early 70s even a fearsome warden expecting unwavering obedience, Dublin's prelate John Charles McQuaid (see John Cooney's engrossing biography), found his diocese under not only attack but subversion that no canon law could silence. But these theologians back in the 50s never predicted that a more flexible liturgical and devotional practice would lead gradually to a media and then popular assault four decades later against the leaders of a cherished faith once followed in its less fractious pieties by millions of practitioners.

By the 1960s, the liberalisation of mores through the media had begun, and Ireland, although it took longer due to its economic slump to be able to buy into the consumer-driven suburban alternative to the frugal and abstemious rural mentality, did so with a vengeance by the 90s. The last opposition that the Church could have mustered against licentiousness crumbled in the wake of highly publicized sexual scandals. The media, as Fuller shows with TV, refused even in the 60s to kow-tow to the Church; the 1966 'bishop and the nightie' episode (also narrated by Kenny in her book) early broadcast the power of RTÉ, Gay Byrne, and his 'Late Late Show' as the new arbiters of attitudes that owed nothing to the once-feared and inescapably vigilant Church. Ferriter includes a comment from Byrne that he did not raise on the air what he did not think the maturing Irish audience was already prepared for, prior to his heated discussions. As with Oprah in the U.S., Gaybo has by now replaced the former apparatus of private confession and penance with a televised ritual of public debasement and collectively granted reconciliation.

What ultimately did the Irish Catholic church in was its hypocrisy, Fuller insists. The austerity it had so long and so forcefully demanded from the laity at the same time had been flaunted in the most deviant fashion possible by some of those who castigated in others what they indulged in themselves. True, only a few entered so deeply into such 'occasions of sin', but their offences have tainted the many more good deeds done by their clerical colleagues. I have read elsewhere recently that the criminal priests guilty for paedophilia totalled perhaps one in 350 of the total clergy ministering in Ireland over the past four decades. This is not to diminish in any way the harm caused, only to stress how the good clergy have been stained by the evildoers among them.

A quick personal aside. A few years ago I skimmed a list of 350 accused (for adult molestation and sexual issues more frequently than child abuse) priests in my Archdiocese from the past few decades. I had been acquainted with half a dozen. I shuddered as I pondered the odds that I might have wound up in the clutches of one- the most prominent of the six clergy was a religion teacher of teenaged me for four years, and later a very popular bishop. My father thought, and many would have agreed, that the bishop was one of the finest men he'd ever known. The bishop was discharged for blackmailing a young priest whom he had ordained despite the man's illegal status in the country, his poor grasp of English, and the priest's lack of seminary training. The bishop blackmailed the priest into a sexual-power relationship that resulted in the bishop (who had been brought in to clear up the mess of a previous bishop's sex-money scandal!) embezzling funds from the diocesan coffers for his young and supposedly compromised lover. The priest claimed none of it was his own fault, but doubt persists about his coercion among those who have studied the case. Whether such predicaments can be blamed on outdated celibacy, jittery strictures against gays in the priesthood, or eternal temptations of money and power leaves troubling causes, that may not all be able to be heaped so smugly only at Catholic parish gates.

Apropos, Kenny shows what Fuller might have attended to with her data: the Church of Ireland itself shrank per capita 1950-2000 in membership due to modernisation despite the fact its clergy married; Welsh sexual abuses in schools and institutions were perpetrated in and investigated over the same period, yet Welsh schools were run by both clergy and laity able to marry. The canard that if priests were not vowed to celibacy, the Church would not have fallen into this moral morass therefore remains suspect, given the C of I and Welsh concurrent situations. Certainly Kenny's comparisons merit extended academic investigation in the near future.

Whatever Church emerges from our rubble may be less populated but more confident, as no one goes to church anymore in today's Ireland for fear that their absence would lead to one's persecution and ostracism. Those choosing to be Catholic now select- as Americans do despite papal admonitions- a cafeteria version of what they agree and what they discard set before them. As a convert once told me: 'we are all adult converts'- that is, Western Catholics make up their minds about how they will conduct their faith. Pope and magisterium may fulminate. In what appears an irreversible manner unimaginable to its 1950 adherents who packed its churches not only on Sundays, Ireland has fulfilled much of the 'worst case scenario' of the Church's onetime nemesis 'pagan France', as secularism assaults Catholicism. The Irish Catholic plurality seems to largely share what their French counterparts fifty years earlier had decided: Ireland has joined a lax European Union of self-centred, leisure-craving, better-educated, and affluent individualists.

Kenny concludes that the Church never did conquer the Irish soul, which still looks to the natural and the transcendent for its nourishment. She accepts that the Church, as with the government of the partitioned Republic, could never have lived up to its lofty ideals preached by its sacrificed founders. Fuller holds no expectations for 'a Church brought to its knees'. No 'mass appeal' will lure Catholics back to disproved verities. The renewal Vatican II sought to inspire in its faithful, ironically, now sustains itself in a diminished core of adherents who must look more to themselves, rather than a maligned clergy, for spiritual and moral direction. The last chance that the Irish church had in preserving its integrity and rallying its congregations against a permissive Western materialist ethos was squandered by the deeds exposed of Bishop Casey, Frs Smyth and Fortune, or the gay priest found dead in the sauna whose Last Rites were given by two of his colleagues present at the same Dublin bathhouse. 1985's visions at Melleray, Asdee or Ballinspittle, many media pundits concurred, signalled the fading burst of apocalyptic threat. Mary's appeals moved few. John Paul's 1979 visit seemed a harbinger of a future safe in 'the faith of our fathers'. Instead, seminaries closed, communicants dwindled, and censures shrivelled. This decline led to a fall. Scandals were followed by the exposure of Magdalen laundries and the CBS regimen. Decimated by recent referenda over divorce, abortion, and birth control, the suspect Church retreated from Irish allegiance. In Irish as in Western culture, Catholic majorities may persist awhile perhaps by tradition, custom, or attitude- but not in practice, belief, or fidelity.






Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles

2 July 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Anthony McIntyre

Salvaging History from Defeat
Forum Magazine Editorial

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
Dolours Price

Monsignor Denis Faul: Tribute
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

Protest Continues in Maghaberry
Republican Prisoners Action Group (RPAG) statement

Where the Wind Blows
Dr John Coulter

What's Shaking
John Kennedy

Left, Right, Left, Right Wrong
Mick Hall

Irish Democracy, A Framework for Unity
Francis Mackey

The Peace Progress and the State
Davy Carlin

'The Church Brought to its Knees': Two books on Catholic Ireland's retreat
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Somme Battle Conspiracy
Dr John Coulter

March March March
John Kennedy

What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander!
Patrick Hurley

Sovereignty Movement Condemns Racist Attacks
Andy Martin, 32 CSM

Greens Propose Plastic Bag Tax to Help Fund Environment Watchdog
Green Party Press Release

The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Introduction
Marcella Sands

The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Garda Harassment & Eventual Sitch-up
Marcella Sands

Dolours Price

Judas 118 or DUP Strategy of Subversion?
Anthony McIntyre

22 June 2006

The Framing of Michael McKevitt
Marcella Sands

Foreward to 'The Framing of Michael McKevitt'
Fr Des Wilson

Demagogues and Demigod
Tommy Gorman

Getting It Tight
John Kennedy

The Restoration of Restorative Justice
Marcel M. Baumann

DUP Analysis
Dr John Coulter

Father Faul
Fr. Sean McManus

Aiden Hulme Repatriation Picket
Paul Doyle

Prison Protest Begins
Republican Prisoners Action Group (RPAG), Republican Sinn Fein, Newry

New Hero, and a Legacy
Dr John Coulter

Charlie's Angel
John Kennedy

The Letters page has been updated.

Profile: Mehdi Mozaffari
Anthony McIntyre

The Blanket, the Cartoons and the End of Left and Right
Gabriel Glickman

The Blanket and the Cartoon Controversy: Anthony McIntyre Interviewed
Martyn Frampton

A Welcome End
Mick Hall

Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Speech index



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices