Monthly Archives: March 2013

Stories from Ireland and Northern Ireland

With reporting from Dublin and Belfast between March 13 and 23


Youth soccer remains segregated sport in Northern Ireland ( 

Fair-skinned and wiry, Grace Ritchie looks no different than the dozen other boys staying dry in the locker room on this rainy Tuesday night. But the 13-year-old is in fact an oddity on his youth soccer team.

At Irish Weddings And Funerals, Priests Pushed Away (Religion News Service)

Although many observers have noted the impact of secularization and child abuse scandals on church membership and finances, only now are the Irish seeing the cultural and socioeconomic reverberations. These include a class of people willing to observe life’s most significant milestones outside the church.

A Young Presbyterian At The Center Of Peace And Politics In Northern Ireland (Neon Tommy)

Over burritos at a Belfast restaurant recently, he spoke about how he found his faith, what Christian churches must do to keep youth engaged and the mixing of culture, religion and politics.

N. Ireland struggles to confront Catholic Church’s enslavement of 1000s of women (AMERICAblog)

In Northern Ireland, however, there is no forthcoming apology or redress for Magdelene survivors.

Pope Francis won’t change the church’s path, says Dublin city councillor (Global Post) 

Mannix Flynn said the Catholic Church needs to take responsibility for its wrongs before it can change for the better.

Jesuit priests in Ireland see hope in Francis (Global Post)

The election of the first-ever Jesuit pope signifies a desire for change in the church, say Irish priests. Can Francis avoid becoming a ‘prisoner’ of the Vatican?

Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on the meaning of St. Patrick’s Day (

The passion sparked around the globe by Ireland’s patron saint’s day


Other Stories about the Catholic Church and the Irish


Religion Mixes With Politics In L.A. Mayoral Race (Neon Tommy)

Though religion and politics mixes during election season, people who study the intersection of religion and civil society say there’s not a strong religious voice at Los Angeles City Hall in day-to-day politics. But experts and community leaders say more could be done to improve the city if religious groups could consistently come together to address local issues.

LA Catholic Archiocese grooming next generation of elementary school leaders (

After three decades of declining enrollment, Catholic elementary schools in Los Angeles are heartened by two straight years of growth. But archdiocese policymakers say stronger leadership and innovation are needed to keep the momentum going and to position its schools as attractive and affordable alternatives to other educational options.

Lent Becoming A Second Christmas For Charities (The NonProfit Times)

During the 40-day period before Easter known as Lent, Christians of all denominations traditionally focus on praying, fasting and serving the community. Capitalizing on that last pillar, charities that make a push for donations and volunteers during Christmas increasingly see Lent as a similar opportunity.

Can the Catholic church attract new adherents with the Internet? (

Though many global religions are struggling with membership among the digitally savvy, the Catholic Church’s plight in America is especially dire because its once-preeminent role in educating its youth is dwindling.

Struggle with church continues after emigrants leave Ireland (

Where Micheal O’Leary sought churches in America two decades ago, John Corr now looks for pubs.

Some laity specifically called for a younger, more liberal and more charismatic leader than the retiring Pope Benedict. But many parishioners said the heavy thinking should be left to the electors.

Where God Meets Gallup (L.A. Currents)

The church boasts a tweeting pastor, a webcast sermon, a gay-community outreach program, a connection to the National Football League’s most recognizable quarterback, and dozens of famous and wealthy benefactors. But does any of that make the world a better place?