Catholicism's impact in Northern Ireland
From the final defeat of the Ulster chieftains at the hands of the British to the remarkable success of the Irish Republican Army's political wing in the 1983 Westminster elections, Catholicism in Ulster, 1603–1983 tells the story of the Roman Catholic community in northeast Ulster. In his comprehensive chronicle, Oliver Rafferty contends that the unique historical experience of Ulster Catholics sheds light on the sectarian roots of a crisis that has become a paradigm for religious and ethnic conflicts throughout the world.
Rafferty asserts that the Northern Irish Catholic community sees itself as a community under siege—a mentality he traces to a plantation system that left Ulster as the only Irish province with a significant Protestant population. Bereft of political power and economic security, the Irish community grasped Catholicism as the only means of preserving its identity, and, according to Rafferty, this attachment gave Ulster Catholics a cohesion they retain today.
Oliver P. Rafferty is a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Society of Jesus. He holds an M.Phil. in ecumenical studies from Trinity College, Dublin, and an M.Th. in church history from London University.
"[An] interesting, informative, and readable discussion of the essence of the Northern Ireland situation."—Lawrence J. McCaffrey, author of Ireland, from Colony to Nation-State.