Michael Kelly has written an excellent analysis for the National Catholic Register of the collapse of the Catholic faith in the face of a massive media propaganda effort. Ireland is a land where 84% of the population identifies as Catholic yet it is also the place where a referendum overturning traditional Catholic teaching on marriage passed by an overwhelming majority. The answer is cultural Catholicism, a phenomenon wherein the essentials of the faith are systematically removed like sucking the contents of an egg until all that is left is a hollow shell.
David Quinn, director of the pro-marriage Iona Institute and de factor leader of the referendum “No” campaign, believes the Church does need a “reality check.”
“The reality check is that the Church has done almost no catechesis in the area of marriage for years and years. It has done lots of pastoral counseling, but it has not taught on a systematic basis what marriage is and why it is so important to society and why it can only be between a man and a woman by its very nature,” Quinn told the Register.
He believes this failure of catechesis “is why many Catholics were bowled over when the referendum came, especially as they have been subjected by the media to such relentless propaganda in favor of gay marriage for years.”
In other words, Ireland's cultural ascendancy in the middle ages was the result of books and education. Ireland was an exporter of learning to the rest of Europe. Lazy clerics keeping their flock dumb and obedient has left Irish Catholics woefully ignorant of the essentials of their faith. When a far more effective propaganda machine comes along is it any wonder they collapse in the face of it? The Catholic Church in Ireland did not succumb because of some dastardly attack by the forces of secularism. The attack was inevitable. It succumbed because they had nothing but sticks and stones to defend against tanks. Catechetics is critical if we are to weather the coming storm.
If you insist on putting on the paper armor of entrenched custom, social milieu and culture you are likely to be in trouble.Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.