In The Republic of Ireland, 93% of the citizens are Roman Catholic, 3% are Church of Ireland, and 4% are either Presbyterian or agnostic.
Religion affects all aspects of society, especially politically because nearly all of the political leaders in The Republic of Ireland are Catholic; therefore the Catholic Church guides the government. Non-Catholics have very little say in the governmental decisions made in The Republic of Ireland because of this strong presence of Catholic political leaders.
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In Ireland, a greater percentage of Catholic people attend church at least once a week than any other Catholic nation in the world. Priests are very important people to each town, families boast if they are related to a priest or a nun. The Irish people pray at holy wells, these wells were considered holy even before the Christians came to Ireland.
Saint Patrick is a man who is believed to have converted many Irish people to Catholicism back in the 1600s. Saint Patrick was captured by a Gaelic raiding party, then taken to Ireland where he tended to sheep on a mountainside for about 6 years. Saint Patrick then escaped and went back to England with his family, but he felt the Irish people were calling him back to Ireland. St. Patrick returned to Ireland as a missionary, he set up monasteries and built churches. One church that is believed to have been built by St. Patrick is the cathedral at Armagh in Northern Ireland near an ancient Celtic capital of the North. St. Patrick is now remembered in Ireland and many other nations by the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated on March 17th.
Other Religions in Ireland are a small percentage of the Church of Ireland and Presbyterians. The Church of Ireland came to Ireland as the Church of England, which was founded by Henry VIII than later got its name as The Church of Ireland. The Church of Ireland is much like Roman Catholic but is more liberal on topics such as abortion, and divorce. The Presbyterians arrived in Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries by Scottish settlers whose mission was to convert the Irish people to Presbyterianism. The Presbyterians are led by Lay’s and Clergy, both of them preach but only the Clergy can baptize and give Holy Communion.
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