Against a backdrop of social and economic change, religious leaders tried to introduce reform, improve administration, and discipline their flocks. The churches were under growing pressure from the secular world and from its ideas, its education and its cultural activities. In the face of all this there was an increase in religious passion. In Protestant churches much of this can be explained by evangelicalism and its emphasis on a more 'enthusiastic' style of religious expression.
The Irish scholar Kevin Whelan claimed that "the provision of Catholic education in Ireland by the indigenous teaching orders became a main motivation of Irish Catholicism between 1770 and 1830, and it was "an essential component of the artillery of the revised Tridentine Church" which developed in Ireland in the 1830s and 1840s and began to develop in Newfoundland Catholicism in the 1850s and 1860s".
Yet progress was slow in the pre-Famine era. On the other hand, some important building work was begun and a new generation of reforming bishops brought their influence to bear on the lower clergy through regular conferences, retreats, and visitations. ...Show more