Historic Gaelic Christendom was justly famed for it's ascetic valour and poetic rapture, however let us face the reality that if you go around most Parishes today despite the fact that we are on the soil which has produced such a wonderful harvest of Saints whom I'm certain are looking down from Heaven and interceding for Ireland still you are not going to find much of either. In fact your average Priest is likely to actively discourage both, especially anything ascetic. Something has gone terribly wrong and there is no point in blaming Vatican II since the Church in both England and France are in a significantly more healthy condition. This of course doesn't mean that there are not plenty genuinely Believing pure souls out there- there are- but they aren't getting the support and encouragement to reach their full Spiritual potential. One of the things that surprised me about the South of Ireland, shocked me even, was the popularity of G.K. Chesterton here and that he was seen as a great Conservative Catholic thinker and even a Spiritual authority by far to many people. My mum in law considers him to have been homosexual, and while I don't rule out that possibility I'm not completely convinced of this, however what is for certain is that he was a drunkard and a glutton. How can such a person be considered a Spiritual authority? Could any sane person imagine ascetic strugglers such as St Kevin and St Columbanus seeking wisdom from a fat self-obsessed alcho? The other thing is that he was no Conservative. Yes he was no Socialist but he most certainly was not a Tory. He was supportive of not only the French Revolution but also and more scandalously as a supposed English Patriot the rebellion of some of Britain's North American colonies. In fact he never made a secret out of being an out right Whig. A lot of his defences of private property were aimed at Fredrick Denison Maurice is was a far more interesting man and thinker as well as genuinely being much more of a Tory, who converted to Anglicanism from the darkness of Quakerism and brilliantly argued that Christianity in Britain would be best served by making it Socialist. I personally have never understood the whole romance about small business people, a very American thing, which G.K. Chesterton championed. The other thing about him is that he was incredibly smug. I find smugness the most repellent trait almost in people. I will give him this though the chapter in his book "Irish Impressions" about Belfast is hilarious and though I'm sure is exaggerated does capture quite brilliantly the modes of insanity of certain of the more crazier Ulster Prods. However that book is shot through with Anti-German hate and GK Chesterton's role in beating the war drums against Germany has to be remembered. Objectively looked at the UK was totally in the wrong in WWI and the defeat of the Central Powers in it was an utter disaster for European civilization.