A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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Religious Literacy: Lessons from the Pandemic


Why do so many Irish Catholics know so little about their faith? While literacy in most spheres of life has blossomed, thanks to the information revolution, knowledge about religion has evidently declined in recent decades. That’s despite the fourteen years of Religious Education (RE) provided by schools, and the many opportunities for adult faith-formation offered by the Church, even if few these are taken up. It is poignant for Church leaders to notice the enthusiasm (from, “en Theos”, literally, “within God”) of the confirmandi on Confirmation Day, only to see that attitude, and the accompanying knowledge, whittled away over the following years. Like forgetting how to calculate long-division, the religious knowledge and skills acquired at school are easily forgotten in the absence of a living contact with the Church. The trend is likely to have accelerated over the past year, as the Covid-19 restrictions have diminished the visibility of the Church, to all but her most committed members.

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