Pete Doherty, whose father is of Irish descent, apparently had a 'strict Catholic upbringing'. The troubled singer who has more Rosary beads than a pilgrim shop in Lourdes continues to battle against his addiction to heroin. He strikes me as being one who is always exorcising his ghosts from his past. The love that Our Lord and Our Blessed Lady have for God's children was impressed so much upon him during his 'strict Catholic upbringing' that more recently he's been getting into Scientology. The singer Morrissey, also of Irish Catholic descent clearly had such a gentle introduction to the Irish Catholic's 'How to Love God' course during his upbringing that he recently penned a piece entitled, 'I Have Forgiven Jesus', the end verse of which goes...
'Jesus - Do you hate me?/Why did you stick me in/Self-deprecating bones and skin/Do you hate me?/Do you hate me?/Do you hate me?/Do you hate me?/Do you hate me?'
Of course, Our Lord doesn't hate him, but hey, that's how it feels to be an Irish Catholic.
I remember from a trip to Dublin, going to the Dublin Writers Museum and reading the biographies of the famous Irish writers like Shaw, Yeats and Pearse and learning of how there was a giant streak of suspicion of the Church and anti-Catholicism running through their lives and their works. I don't think that it is wrong to say that more modern accounts of Irish life like 'Angela's Ashes' by Frank McCourt showed a rather grim portrait of Irish Catholicism, not because he was author was anti-Catholic, but because he was depicting it as it was.
Joyce's 'Dubliners' etched out that coldness of Irish religion also, as well as the political undercurrent of anti-colonial hatred. There seems to be a brutalism, a dehumanising force, a depiction of God so paralysing, running through Irish Catholicism's blood, that it leaves the children of the Church not so much with vestiges of 'Catholic guilt', as Catholic fear, terror and panic attacks which eventually put them off God for life.