Northern Irish - Religion



The population of Northern Ireland is 34.9 percent Roman Catholic and 58.2 percent Protestant. Protestants form the majority in all but two (Fermanagh and Tyrone) of the six counties. Presbyterians are most numerous in all but county Fermanagh (where most Protestants belong to the Church of Ireland), a reflection of the Ulster Scots heritage. Evangelical Protestantism came in the early nineteenth century and there are many Methodist, Wesleyan, Pentecostal, and other evangelical congregations in the west of the province. A unique Religious sect, the Cooneyites, originated in county Fermanagh.

The diocese and parish boundaries of both the Roman Catholic church and the Church of Ireland straddle the International boundary and many clergy come from the south. Educational and social organizations are closely linked to Religious bodies from the cradle to the grave. Medical care is mostly provided by the National Health Service, although some hospitals and hospices are associated with religious foundations.

Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland are "endoritualistic." With the rise of the Ecumenical Movement and in response to the cross-community challenge of continuing violence (first met by the Women's Peace Movement), barriers are beginning to fall. Baptisms, weddings, and funerals reflect the religious divide in direct involvement, but inDirectly local morality calls for the participation of coresidents and neighbors.

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