Two institutions, not at all similar, have conveyed the messages about the same things to the Irish people since the 1960s. For the better part of the twentieth century the Catholic Church held what sociologist Tom Inglis called the “moral monopoly” in Ireland. The Church possessed the capacity not only to set moral standards but, in a more comprehensive way, to establish the language of morality; the social as well as theological measure of appropriate behavior; and the clerical, social, and even governmental sanctions that would maintain beliefs and behaviors. 1 The Church dealt with both the simplest matters of ordinary life and the most profound questions of human existence. The depth of the Church writ, moral authority, and legitimacy was more profound than any other social institution. In the 1980s and 1990s that authority and legitimacy eroded with startling rapidity.