Catholic Church in Ireland

It may come as a terrible surprise that authority for the Norman invasion of Ireland was granted in 1155 by Pope Adrian IV under a papal bull known as Laudabiliter. It suited Rome's purpose to strengthen Papacy control over the Irish Church. This all worked very well for them until the English Reformation in the 16th century when England broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. The new Church of Ireland became the official state church for almost three hundred years until it was disestablished by the Irish Church Act of 1869. The defeat of King James II at the Battle of the Boyne led to a long era of discrimination against Catholics which was relieved by Catholic Emancipation in 1829. This allowed for the establishment of many religious orders who engaged in nursing, teaching and missionary work.

During the centuries of British oppresson, the Catholic Church gave strong leadership to its flock which left it in a very powerful position when the Irish Free State was established. Church's influence meant that the Irish state had very conservative social policies, banning divorce, contraception and abortion, while the Church controlled State's hospitals, schools and many social services. Abuse of these powers led to sexual abuse of hundreds of children while in the pastoral care. The cover-up of these terrible acts reaches right up to the Vatican, which brings us back to 1155 and Pope Adrian IV.