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Published in Doctrine & Life, Vol. 65, March 2015, no.3, pp. 2-11


THIS review-article sets about assessing the significance of a new collection of essays edited by Tom Inglis, Are the Irish Different?1 Tom Inglis is the foremost commentator on the factors that led to the Catholic Church in Ireland securing a 'special position' during the ninetenth and twentieth centuries.2 The Church's 'moral monopoly' has effectively been ceroded by a number of recent developments; the increased secularisation that accompanied greater prosperity, the tendency among a better educated laity to find their own answers to whatever moral dilemmas assail them, and, of course, the clerical abuse scandals. But even in the 1980s, and earlier, change was afoot.