Sometimes I wonder why Irish secularists and atheists are so selective in their attacks on Catholicism. One thing that especially surprises me is how they are willing to cede us the term "the Church".
The Catholic Church is one church. Ireland also boasts the Church of Ireland, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, and a dozen other significant churches.
And yet the term "the Church" is bandied about by all, even those who are most hostile to Catholicism.
I am not even trying to make any larger point here. This is an observation, plain and simple.
Sometimes I think atheists and secularists, along with anti-Catholic liberals, simply enjoy the ideological battle. Insofar as they do, I can sympathise with them. I can even heartily sympathise with them.
But it's hard for me to understand the mentality of somebody who would sincerely want to eradicate religion, or even drive it from the public realm. Success in that cause would seem to make the world a duller and more prosaic place.
One sometimes hears the claim that the fight against "supernaturalism" is a fight
against irrationality, that religion is a menace because it is a haven for irrationality. Of course, I deny that religion is irrational. But even if I didn't deny that, the idea that religion is somehow the source or santuary of all unreason, or even most unreason, would still strike me as simply preposterous. Human beings find plenty to be irrational about, even without any recourse to supernatural explanations.
I would rather think that Church-bashers simply relish the excitement and fun of the fray, than that they believe such priggish nonsense.