The influence of the Catholic Church over young people in Ireland is in decline.

Academic and writer Tom Inglis  discusses the role of the Catholic Church in Ireland. He has recently completed 'Moral Monopoly: Catholic Church in Modern Irish Society' a book due to be published next year.

What is the role of the Catholic Church specifically in relation to young people? Tom Inglis highlights a number of areas of change in the church and its influence on Irish society over the last twenty years.

Towards the end of the 1960s, there was a decline in vocations leading to a decrease in the number of priests. Older priests and a younger population resulted in a decrease in the influence the church had in terms of education, health and social welfare.

This was combined with a move to a more individualistic relationship with God where young people stopped going to mass ritualistically every week. There was also a drop in the numbers of people going to confession, family rosaries, and other traditional devotional practices.

Tom Inglis also points out that priests began to take an individualistic interpretation of the rules and regulations of the church.

There was also the priest - he used to have as much power and authority almost as the policeman in Irish society.

Young people began to have less fear of the authority of the priest in society.

Tom Inglis purports that with the recent modernisation in Irish society, the church has been left behind.

The monopoly that the church had on morality has begun to break down.

While the church attempts to address some issues relating to young people Tom Inglis says that it is taking an authoritarian approach and not using a language that young people can identify with.

This episode of ‘TV GAGA’ was broadcast on 14 June 1985. The presenter is Liam Mackey.