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Daragh Keany: I'm not a Catholic but I'm happy to let daughter make Communion

"I'm not a Catholic. Well, on paper up until the 2016 census I was, but in a moment of clarity and alleviated guilt I proudly ticked the 'No Religion' box"

Stock photo. Photo: Pawel Horosiewicz.

Daragh Keany

I am going to stray away from TV rants and family weddings for one week and talk religion today.

Weirdly, it's been a hot topic at Casa Keany in recent weeks, between last month's census and our youngest's communion in a few weeks' time.

Throw in the debate about the Church's ownership of land located for the new NMH and it is fair to say that religion has never been as topical among all four of us as it is right now.

I'm not a Catholic. Well, on paper up until the 2016 census I was, but in a moment of clarity and alleviated guilt I proudly ticked the 'No Religion' box. My wife stayed 'Catholic', as did my 11-year-old (because she is too young to realise how ridiculous the whole thing is) and my eight-year-old was technically the most 'Catholic' (post christening) of all of us as she is in the throes of her Communion prep.

A child's communion is a big day, despite their parents' beliefs

I have been called a hypocrite on social media for allowing them to be communed but I would rather let them be part of the process in school and enjoy the day for what it is, in full confidence that they will eventually turn their backs on it all down the line when they are old enough to figure it all out. They are very smart kids, to be fair.

The eight-year-old mused the other day about whether or not granny should take my place at the top of the Church beside her because of my beliefs (or lack thereof), but we agreed that as 'devoted dad' I had a right to be there.

We are fairly open in our house about the whole topic. One of the things I hate about Catholicism is that it was rammed down our throats as kids with no other choice.

So, for me to do the same with my (more educated and enlightened) view would actually be more hypocritical than allowing them to be part of this process.

Mia is so excited about it all, practising her singing and readings for the main event. And she is finally going to get to wear the dress that she has been eyeing up for years. It was her mum's wedding dress before her older sister wore it three years ago for her Communion. I wouldn't deprive her of that no matter what she was signing up for.

There is no denying that the Church is losing its grip on society, which is a very healthy progression. I don't want it to disappear forever as I know it has a place in the lives of so many here, including some of my extended family and friends.

But the power that it once held is slowly dying off, like most of its most ardent followers. I guarantee you that neither of my daughters will have this dilemma with their kids in 30 years' time. I just hope by then the Government has figured out how and where the National Maternity Hospital will be built, and who will run it.

PS: I'll get back to the light stuff next week. I promise.

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