Apologies for any cross-posting.
I have just published a book about religious change and ‘religion-related’ child abuse in Ireland. The book’s short title is Love’s Betrayal and it proposes a synthesis of sociological, theological, anthropological and psychological theories and insights in explaining the decline of Catholicism and rise of new religious movements and New Age spirituality in this country.
Drawing heavily on the national media archives, particularly the Sunday newspapers, the book traces the decline of traditional Irish Catholicism back through the decades-long campaign against corporal punishment and into the heart of the anthropology and theology that helped Christianity to become one of the world’s great civilizing forces and which also helped the Catholic Church rise to a dominant position in Irish society.
The book’s full title is Love’s Betrayal: the Decline of Catholicism and Rise of New Religions in Ireland.
I’ve included a chapter summary below and should you wish to review it or commission someone to do so please request a copy via the publisher’s website.
Go to https://www.peterlang.com/form?name=review%20copy%20request%20form
Introduction to Love’s Betrayal
The Winds of Change
In this opening chapter I discuss such key terms such as ‘New Religious Movements’ (NRMs) and ‘New Ageism’ (NAM) and I argue that while the Catholic Church was a very formidable force in Irish society during the decades before and for some time after Vatican II faith in the Church and its teachings was not nearly as robust or as stable as they appeared and were often represented as being. I also look at the emerging morass of academic theorising about the NRMs and at how the Catholic hierarchy came to see them as being a pastoral challenge stemming in some ways from the institution’s failure to provide for the spiritual needs and aspirations of the increasing numbers of people who were turning away from the mainline Churches. However, as I go on to show, some Christian counter-cult campaigners disagreed with the Church’s call for a respectful dialogue with the NRMs and have persisted in using derogatory language and scare-mongering tactics to ridicule and demean many of the new religious and quasi-religious movements.
I’ve included a chapter summary below in hopes of attracting potential reviewers – who should apply for review copies via the publisher’s website. See The book is called Love’s Betrayal: the Decline of Catholicism and Rise of New Religions in Ireland.
Anyone wishing to review the book must apply for a copy through the publisher’s website.
Or go to https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/61592?v=toc
Man Turned God
traces the history of Ireland’s new religious and quasi-religious movements and shows that while the country has long had a lively little ‘cultic milieu’ the 1960s saw a remarkable surge of interest in magical, mystical, miraculous and millenarian beliefs and practices. This chapter is largely based on mainstream Irish media archives and looks at how the new movements presented themselves to and were represented to the world. It looks at the reactions that they elicited in the media and from the Catholic Church and the largely Christian counter-cult movement.
The Civilising Mission
In this chapter I discuss academic theories about the rise and decline of Catholicism in Ireland and argue that not enough attention has been paid to class-related differences in the manner and means by which Irish people were socialised into and under what many now regard as having been an authoritarian religious regime.
The Civilising Offensive
Here I draw on a combination of parliamentary debates, media archives and personal interviews with people who campaigned against the physical, emotional and psychological abuse of children in the Catholic-controlled national school system and in the reformatories and industrial schools
Beating the Devil
traces the authoritarian brand of traditional Irish Catholicism back into the heart of Christian theology and the fifth century theodicy that Saint Augustine developed in opposition to the Pelagian heresy that we can achieve moral perfection (or holiness) through personal effort
The Birthpangs of a New Civilisation
details the emergence of an increasingly trenchant discourse of religious discontent and considers the role that the national and international print and electronic media played in the development of a less deferential and more questioning culture.
The Brink of Apocalypse
looks at the wider socioeconomic and political context in which all of the aforementioned religious flux occurred and shows that mainstream Catholicism was floundering and new religions flourishing during a period of rapid change and a widespread existential anxiety.
Attachment and Atonement
Here I propose a synthesis of sociological and psychological theories and insights in explaining why some Catholics kept faith with the Church or became more intensely devout even as others were turning to the new religions and still more were becoming ‘cultural Catholics’ or abandoning religion altogether.
Conclusions: Psyche and Circumstances
In this final chapter I try to pull the main threads of my argument together and explain how the theology and anthropology that helped the persecuted little ‘cult’ of early Christianity become a transnational force for good actually carried within it the seeds decline and facilitated a systemic betrayal of the core Christian doctrine of love while making some people increasingly receptive to the New Age brand of Pelagian spirituality.
Appendix: A Chronicle of Change
I’ve tried to present the appendix such that it can be read as a stand-alone chapter. It contains a lot of the information that I cited in the body of the book and it is the basis for my analysis of the public discourse about and around religion and the state of Irish society and the world during what was arguably the greatest shift in Irish religiosity since Catholic emancipation.
The book has just been made available on Amazon UK
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