The Importance Of The Roman Catholic Church In Ithaca By James Joyce

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The Roman Catholic Church was an important and prominent aspect of Irish life in the early twentieth century. Where most of Western Europe had become secularized during the nineteenth century, Ireland remained steadfast in its faith, be it Roman
Catholic or Protestant. However, at the time, more than ninety percent of the Irish population was Roman Catholic with the numbers of Protestants belonging to the Church of Ireland or Presbyterian and Methodist Churches falling from eight percent in the second half of the nineteenth century to less than three percent in 1981 (Inglis 63). As a result of the growth of the Roman Catholic Church, much of Irish politics and society was infused with starkly Catholic tones—so much that individual citizens and the nation
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James Joyce habitually wrote within and around the conventions of the Roman
Catholic Church. His use of religious doctrines in his works demonstrates not only the importance of the Catholic faith in Ireland, but also how that importance manifests itself in his characters, his view of the politics of the time, and in Joyce’s own interpretations of the Church’s doctrines and practices. The best known presentation of Catholic conventions in Joyce’s writings is the “Ithaca” chapter of Ulysses, in which the entire action between Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom is presented in the question-answer format of a catechism. Dedalus—Joyce’s literary self in Ulysses, A Portrait of the
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