Mass exodus.

Pope Francis is in Dublin today and 500,000 people are expected in Phoenix Park to hear him say mass. The last papal visit to Ireland in 1979, and Pope John Paul II said mass in Phoenix Park, more than a million people were there. It’s not hard to see why mass attendances have fallen in Ireland by more than 50% since 1979. In that time, the Catholic church has lost its iron grip over the Irish people. The shocking allegations of sexual abuse within the church haven’t helped, but it’s more than that. Ireland now has a less cowed, more secular populace who see no more evidence for the existence of God than they do for the existence of Father Christmas or the tooth fairy. The teachings of the Catholic church no longer seem relevant. If the numbers at a papal mass are anything to go by, even paradise doesn’t seem half as nice.