This volume brings together articles and essays written by Irish journalist Eamonn McCann. Writing from what he describes as a "shuddering fascination" with religion, McCann brings us deviant priests and disembodied demons, prayers for paganism, rage against Protestantism, a biting critique of the Irish churches' political role and the angry stories of some who survived childhood in the care of the Catholic Church. The book is both deadly serious - subjecting Vatican documents to close textual analysis, tracing the role of Protestant fundamentalism in the formation of "King Rat", profiling the Loyalist killer Billy Wright - and comical, telling of the pious adventures of Ignatius of Antioch O'Doherty and revealing the connections between incest on "Brookside", hymns in the hit parade, the overthrow of parliament and the strange dreams of star-crossed St Dympna. Throughout, the book McCann relates religious ideas to contemporary social and political events in Ireland, and argues that "the fight against religion is part and parcel of the fight for Irish freedom".
He is sharply critical of what he sees as the unwillingness of southern Irish liberals to take a stand against the Catholic Church's continuing control of large areas of life; and is just as caustic in his comments on the "collusion" of the main Protestant churches in murderous bigotry in the North.show more