ABOUT THE REPORT
The report measures the religious attitudes, behaviour and beliefs of a national sample of 1,015 Irish Adults (18 years and older) interviewed between November 2007 and March 2008. The results are mixed in the sense they provide a source of hope for the revival of Religion from a solid spiritual basis and a cause of concern for the future of popular and regular religious practice among certain categories of the Irish population. A detailed analysis is provided in the book, which highlights the areas of hope and concern.
Relatively speaking the level of religious practice is still quite strong. When comparing with the previous study in 1988-89 there has been a nominal percentage decline and overall the trend is downward. The decline in personal prayer and sensed closeness to God is much less severe than in the case of public worship. The level of personal belief in God is very high in that less than 5% of the total sample said that they did not believe in God.
One of the most disappointing results is the substantial in the percentages who saw Christian Church Unity as desirable in principle, or possible in practice. A positive message from the report is the evidence of a significant and substantial reduction in prejudice against religious and non-believing categories.
There are other issues measured and monitored in the report such as the handing on of the faith and the level of support for vocations.
Micheal Mac Greil
Dr Micheal Mac Greil is a member of the Society of Jesus. After education in Westport Christian Brothers' School, he served as a Cadet and Officer in the Irish Defence Forces from1950 to 1959. He studied philosophy, sociology and theology in Louvain, Kent State University, Milltown Park and UCD. Ne was awarded a Ph D in sociology in UCD in 1976. Dr Mac Greil lectured in sociology in NUI Maynooth from 1971 to 1996.