Area: 70,285 sq km
Comprises 80% of the island of Ireland. Northern Ireland is a constituent part of the United Kingdom.
Population: 4,589,002 Annual Growth: 1.85%
Official language: Irish, English. Irish spoken as a first language by less than 4% of the population; 40% of the Irish population can speak Irish Languages: 5 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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The Catholic Church was, for centuries, the preserver and defender of the Irish. Catalyzed by secularism, the rapid onset of modernity and a series of high-profile scandals and cover-ups in the priesthood, the nation is rapidly losing the deep Catholic sensibilities that once tied it together. Once an exporter of trained priests, the Catholic Church today ordains few. Weekly church attendance, once 85% nationally, is now less than 50%, and as low as 5% in parts of Dublin and there are more non-religious Irish than ever before. Despite this, there is a vibrant charismatic renewal movement within the Catholic Church and unprecedented collaboration with other expressions of the Christian faith. Pray for the Irish nation to rediscover its ancient heritage of deep and profound faith in Christ.
The sex abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic Church devastated the nations confidence in what was once a deeply trusted institution. Possibly the only things more damaging than this tragic and sinful abuse are the cover-ups and collusion that occurred after these incidents came to the knowledge of Church leaders. Irelands Catholic faith was already on a downward trajectory; these scandals may have thrust it into a death spiral. Pray that true repentance, forgiveness and, where possible, restoration might occur on the part of those involved, and that this may lead to purification and redemption of Catholicism in Ireland.
For an additional 8 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Ireland.