Political satirist, journalist… religious documentary maker? Oliver Callan joined Maggie Doyle in studio this morning to talk about his new television documentary, Divorcing God, which looks at Ireland’s relationship with religion now. As he recounted re-visiting the church in his home town of Inniskeen, Co Monaghan, going to mass for the first time in about 10 years, he told Maggie that he remembered sitting in the pews as a child, thinking about death. But, that’s as it should be, he maintains.
“I think religion is entirely entwined in our trying to confront our own mortality… I think if you don’t think about death in a kind of a healthy sort of a way, then you’re not really fully alive.”
Oliver went around the country looking at how people are engaging in spirituality. And he discovered, surprise surprise, that people are still very religious in Ireland, despite what we may think.
“I think in the last census 89% of people said they still have some kind of religious belief. They’re just religious in a very different way now.”
Maggie wondered if people who go to Mass pay a huge amount of attention to edicts from the pulpit, that there might be something of a disconnect between regular Mass-goers and the Vatican. Oliver agreed, but stressed that the (Catholic) church in Ireland is more than just the hierarchy:
“The church is its congregation here and it’s all the people who continue to do voluntary work because of the church, yet… you don’t necessarily need to have a background or a child or an upbringing in religious or in any faith in order to do good things.”
The documentary will, he hopes, make people consider their positions in relation to the Catholic church in Ireland and further afield.
“I hope this documentary gets the secularists to think about what they’re really attacking. You know, they’re not going to get revenge on the Vatican or on the cardinals sitting in there issuing these silly edicts every now and again. They’re just really hurting their own community.”
Divorcing God is on RTÉ One tonight at 9.35. You can watch the programme anytime on the RTÉ Player. And you can hear Maggie’s full interview with Oliver, as well as the rest of the The Ryan Tubridy Show here:
Share this Post