Confessional States, 1922–1965



The Irish churches could not enter the post-war era hoping for a return to ‘normalcy’. The guns had fallen silent on the western front, but not in Ireland. Two and a half years after the Armistice, the Primate of All Ireland opened the General Synod lamenting that the ‘things that had happened in their country during the past year had been so terrible, so disastrous, so fateful in relation to the social and moral life of the whole community, as to be paralysing’.1 A year later, he scarcely felt any more up-beat, but with a certain resignation declared: ‘We have to prepare to meet a new order in this country.’2 Unlike the churches in the rest of the United Kingdom, but like so many in central and eastern Europe, the Irish churches had to adjust to living under new regimes. Did those regimes take on the characteristics of confessional states - namely political structures where the tenets on one faith were enshrined in the law and the constitution?


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© Alan J. Megahey 2000

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