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Title: When Christians fight : ecumenical theologies and the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland
Author: Irwin, Noel George
ISNI:       0000 0004 2690 2774
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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In this thesis I first of all outline the nature of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Against the prevalent academic consensus that the conflict is an ethnic one, I argue that it is a religious conflict with features of ethnicity and colonialism. I then assess the behaviour of the state, both under the Unionist government at Stormont and then under Direct Rule from Westminster. Pre-1972 I look at the question of discrimination against the Roman Catholic minority community. I argue that this was 'institutionalised partiality'. In the era of the 'Troubles' I provide continuity by seeing through the issue of 'fair employment' and also focus on the British Government's response to the violence in terms of abuses of human rights. My view is that political theology in Northern Ireland has never engaged critically with all the material presented in these chapters. After establishing that religion is the central motif of the 'Troubles', whose political manifestation is the parameters and behaviour of a particular state, I examine the broad sweep of the role the Churches played as they responded to the outbreak of inter-communal violence in 1968. I concentrate on the missed opportunity of the Violence Report of 1974 and what I term the 'ecumenical paradox' of the Churches reaction to the 'Troubles'. I then examine three representative theological reflections on the situation. One advocates a theological response to the 'Troubles' of reconciliation, one of citizenship and one of justice. After examining the evidence I offer a theology of justice, or liberation, which needed to be added to the dominant theological paradigm of reconciliation to provide a cogent response to the 'Troubles'. I give the example of the role of prisoners as a model from which the Churches could learn from.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available