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The Church and the conflict in Northern Ireland : a case for Corrymeela? : an assessment of an ecumenical organisation working toward peace and reconciliation


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Cichon, Ted 2001 , 'The Church and the conflict in Northern Ireland : a case for Corrymeela? : an assessment of an ecumenical organisation working toward peace and reconciliation', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The conflict in Northern Ireland is one of the longest conflicts in post-war
Europe. It is often described as a sectarian conflict between Catholics and
Protestants. Certainly, there is no other religious division in the English-speaking
world such as that which is witnessed in this British province.
Although there is a formidable amount of literature on this subject, there is
limited discourse on the relationship between the major confessions and the
relationship between the Churches and the conflict. In order to gain an
understanding of this relationship, and for the purposes of clarity this study
attempts to define the terms 'religion' and 'politics'. Moreover, this study
examines the relationship between religion and politics and between Church
and State in a variety of experiences. Such an inquiry identifies patterns of
ecclesiastical and political behaviour. In order to demonstrate this, a
historical-comparative method is employed, accompanied with an
investigation of the Irish experience from early times to the contemporary
period. Thus, in this instance, it is a case study.
However, in the latter part of the twentieth-century, we witnessed efforts at
attempting greater church unity. The meeting of the Second Vatican Council,
held between 1962 and 1965, was a concerted effort by the Roman Catholic
Church to achieve this end. Interestingly, this Council was held before the
eruption of the current conflict. Thus, this study also examines the
ramifications of Vatican II, particularly in the context of Northern Ireland.
Also, in 1965, the Corrymeela Community was founded in Belfast as an
ecumenical organisation. Its latter objectives focus on peace and reconciliation
in Northern Ireland, which also means religious and social healing between
the Protestant and Catholic communities. Peace movements and
organisations seeking social justice are not altogether new phenomena in
Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, it is necessary to examine the variants, which
exist in a changed Irish society, since the beginning of the conflict. These
variants include phenomena such as demographical changes, European
Union membership, secularisation, constitutional amendments, paramilitary
criminality and denominational intransigence. Thus, some of these variants
can be viewed as 'adversities' that confront the Corrymeela Community. This
examination also enables this study to assess the viability and potential of the
Corrymeela Community, not only as an ecclesiastical actor, but also its
position in the political sphere. In other words, this inquiry also considers the
Community's efficacy in a political environment, which has experienced
several significant popular developments, such as the Peace Process, and the
referendums held in the Republic of Ireland and in the province of Ulster in
1998. At the same time however, the above do not necessarily detract from the
Corrymeela Community's efforts of achieving peace and reconciliation.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Cichon, Ted
Keywords: Corrymeela Community, Terrorism, Religion and politics, Church and state, Reconciliation
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2001 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 2001. Includes bibliographical references

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