Date & Time: Jun 13 2010 - 12:00pm
Location: Press Box / 932 Second Avenue (49/50th) / 2nd Floor
Subject: “The Catholic Church in Ireland—Past, Present and Future.” a talk by Thomas Crawley, born, bred and educated in Ireland and an astute observer of the Irish scene.

Ireland: Hotbed of Catholic Control
An Irish Atheist Talks About the Past, Present and Future
of Religion in Ireland
New York—(June 7, 2010) Most people think of Ireland as the most unyielding stronghold of Catholic power in the world. The Catholic church has permeated nearly every institution in Ireland, from schools to hospitals to the state itself—and, some say, it even wields its influence in Irish politics.
But a strange thing has been happening in the Green Isles lately: the Catholic church’s grasp on the minds, pocketbooks and habits of the Irish people is slowly—but visibly—weakening. Blame it on television, the church’s sex-abuse scandals, better education, travel abroad, the loosening of Irish sexual taboos, the tiresomeness of the church’s ancient rules and prohibitions and—surprise—Atheist author Daniel Dennett.
Well, maybe not Daniel Dennett. Actually, Dennett’s book, “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” was the jumping off point for our June 13th Brunch speaker, Thomas Crawley, an Irish Atheist (if that isn’t an oxymoron). Crawley, Irish born and raised, a product of Irish Catholic schools and Dublin City University, says, “I became an Atheist because of all that Catholic upbringing. But I was conflicted for a long time, an agnostic and a skeptic. The move to Atheism occurred because I read Dennett’s great book, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, and finally began to understand the philosophical implications of evolution.”
How the Church Got Power in Ireland
Crawley, who is an electronics engineer, emigrated to the U.S. some 15 years ago, enamored of the American free lifestyle. But he still retains his Irish brogue, the Irish gift of vivid verbal expression and a profound knowledge of Irish ways, customs, religious history and sociology, which he relates with the wit and articulateness that only the Irish have a flair for.
“I want to explore the following questions,” he says: “How child abuse in Catholic institutions was covered up and why there was, and is, resistance and obstruction to correcting it. Why and how did the Catholic church accumulate such power and become so unaccountable in Ireland? How has this affected the culture and psyche of the people? What does it feel like to be a Catholic in Ireland today? What does the future hold?”
He will explore those controversial questions with sharpness and the depth that comes from having lived in Ireland most of his life. For example, here are samples of his provocative wit and wisdom:

  • “In the Irish health care system, a great many hospitals remain under the control of the Catholic church. So the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin is the chairman of the Board of the National Maternity Hospital.”


  • “Irish Catholics are told that so many of the things that come naturally to human beings are immoral or wicked, they associate guilt with those things.”

·        “Catholics are told that this life is not really that important. This life is not the real deal. If you’re told that, you’re not going to live your life fully and richly.”

  • “Religion creates the idea of “authority”—of THE authority. In Ireland, they still talk about the moral authority of the Catholic church despite the sex abuse scandals. What is the authority of the church? They are about 25 to 30 middle-aged and elderly male virgins. They have no experience in dealing with the problems that ordinary people face in their lives.”


  • “Atheists are good people. We are not involved in any kind of intellectual fraud or imposture.”

Come on Sunday, June 13, to NYC Atheists’ Brunch at the Press Box to hear this insightful, keen-edged expert on Irish life and religion.
Find out how Ireland became enmeshed in the Catholic religion by the British. Learn what’s happening now as Ireland, the sleeping green giant, slowly awakens from its 200-year slumber and faces the fact that the Catholic religion has seeped into every aspect of their lives, schools, health care and government.
WHAT:                    “The Catholic Church in Ireland—Past, Present and Future.”
                                   a talk by Thomas Crawley, born, bred and educated in
                                   Ireland and an astute observer of the Irish scene.
WHEN:                      Sunday, June 13th, at 12 noon
WHERE:                     The Press Box Pub & Restaurant
                                    932 Second Avenue (bet. 49th & 50th Sts.)
                                    Second Floor
COST:                   Brunch is $20, which includes a selection of Buffet entrees
                              and salad, one soft drink, coffee, tax and tip.  Join us in
                              getting seconds on the delicious Eggs Benedict.

Cost: Brunch is $20, which includes a selection of Buffet entrees and salad, one soft drink, coffee, tax, tip.

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