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  • Publication
    Changes in Roman Catholic Beliefs and Practices in Ireland between 1981 and 2008 and the Emergence of the Liberal Catholic
    (Taylor and Francis, 2015-04-29) ;
    This study aimed to investigate the changes that have occurred in the religious beliefs and practices of Roman Catholics in Ireland between 1981 and 2008 and to examine the extent to which Catholics have become liberal in their attitudes towards social issues over this period. Data were derived from 23 religious indicators and six social items sourced from the European Values Study (EVS). Only Roman Catholic respondents (n=3810) were included in the analysis. Data were analysed using ANOVA, t-tests, and chi-square tests. The majority of religious indicators were found to be in significant decline between 1981 and 2008. Also, Catholic attitudes towards homosexuality, euthanasia, abortion, prostitution, divorce, and the use of 'soft drugs' were found to have become significantly more liberal over this period. These findings support not only the notions of privatisation of religion and morality but also the emergence of a liberal ethos among a considerable proportion of Catholics in Ireland. Results are discussed in relation to theories of secularisation, believing without belonging, and the emergence of Liberal Catholics. Suggestions for future research, such as investigating the effect of conflict between one's Catholic identity and liberal views, are made.
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