Ireland’s ‘Extra-Institutional’ Religious Turn Reported in Religion Watch

celticcross2_thumb.jpgResearch I presented on ‘Extra-Institutional Religion and the Transformation of Post-Catholic Ireland’ at the Association for the Sociology of Religion Annual Meeting in San Francisco last month has been reported by Religion Watch.

The paper was based on the book I am writing, Transforming Post-Catholic Ireland.

Only subscribers can access the full text of the short article. I have included an excerpt below, but not the full text (for copyright reasons).

Ireland’s ‘Extra-Institutional’ Religious Turn

While there has been a sharp decline in Mass attendance and religious vocations in Ireland, there is also the emergence of “extra-institutional” religion, which tends to be ecumenical with a concern for spirituality, community, personal growth and social justice, according to sociologist Gladys Ganiel of Trinity University of Dublin.

In a paper presented at the conference of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, Ganiel said that these new types of religious groups are filling a niche in a country that has seen declining Mass attendance and vocations since the Irish tiger prosperity period of the 1990s and especially during the more recent priest sexual abuse crisis.

Ganiel conducted Internet surveys of about 1,600 clergy and laity, and case studies of groups and people that espouse such “extra-institutional” religious space.

… Such organizations, though small, are viewed as a seedbed of reform and renewal in the church, and they are also valued by Protestants and other religious minorities as “legitimizing their place in Ireland,” Ganiel concluded.

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