There is a connection between the decline in the practice of the Faith in Ireland and the swing away from traditional values, between a skepticism about nationalism, an increasing devotion to consumerism and above all the widespread embracing of contraception. On the latter point if one could chart the decline in Mass attendance and the increase in contraceptive availability/sales (especially after legalization in 1979) I think there would be a clear correlation.
The Irish Church is no different (than the people). America has long been the country of choice for religious and clergy to study since travel there became cheaper and easier. That swing away from Europe towards the U.S. has meant that the liberalism that has dominated the American Church has also dominated the Irish if in a more toned-down form. The clerical promoters of the morality of contraception seem to have received little resistance within the Irish Church in the 70’s or since.
Fr. Tom Forde, OFM Cap