May 21, 2013

Godless funerals thrive in ‘post-Catholic’ Ireland

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patrician cross

A Patrician cross, Ireland's dominant religious symbols, marks a burial at Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery. Glasnevin is home to one of the few crematoriums in Ireland and has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of cremations in the last decade, according to cemetery historian Shane MacThomais. Cremations are very popular among the growing class of Irish willing to observes life's milestones, including death, outside a church setting. Only about 30 percent of Catholics opt for cremation, according to MacThomais. Photo by Paresh Dave

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DUBLIN (RNS) After 32 years as an interior designer, Patricia Wojnar went back to school for a master's degree in bereavement studies, a hot commodity in Ireland's "post-Catholic'' economy that features growing markets for wedding and funeral officiants who aren't associated with the scandal-scarred Catholic Church.