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Maggie Scull

The Catholic Church and the Northern Ireland Troubles, 1968-1998

Until surprisingly recently, the history of the Irish Catholic Church during the Northern Irish Troubles was written by Irish priests and bishops and was commemorative rather than analytical. Margaret M. Scull’s The Catholic Church and the Northern Ireland Troubles, 1968-1998 (Oxford UP, 2019) uses the Troubles as a case study to evaluate the role of the Catholic Church in mediating conflict.

During the Troubles, these priests and bishops often worked behind the scenes, acting as go-betweens for the British government and republican paramilitaries to bring about a peaceful solution. However, this study also looks more broadly at the actions of the American, Irish, and English Catholic Churches, as well as that of the Vatican, to uncover the full impact of the Church on the conflict. This critical analysis of the previously neglected state, Irish, and English Catholic Church archival material changes our perspective on the role of a religious institution in a modern conflict.

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