Queen's Policy Engagement

Only the people can now save the Church in Ireland

Religion has a potential to bring out the best in us that should not be underestimated says Dr Gladys Ganiel.

Only the people can now save the Church in Ireland

I first encountered the Pope’s Children when I was a student in the United States at Providence College in Rhode Island, a liberal arts college run by Dominican friars. I was on the athletics team, and the coach was Irish. He had recruited the best athletes he could from Ireland to run for Providence, so they were my teammates.

“The Pope’s Children” is a nickname used in Ireland for those born around the time of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ireland in 1979. As an American-born Baptist, I had scant knowledge of Irish Catholicism. I had a vague notion that Irish Catholics were stereotypically devout. But although there was a quiet faith among some of my teammates, there was more doubt, scepticism and even cynicism about religion than I had expected.

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Article first appeared on The Tablet. 


The featured image in this article is used under a Creative Commons licence.

Dr Gladys Ganiel
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Dr Gladys Ganiel is a Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work and a Research Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. Gladys works across the disciplines of sociology, politics, anthropology and religious studies. She specialises in religion, conflict transformation and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and South Africa; the emerging church movement; evangelicalism; and religious change on the island of Ireland.

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