Following the massive Yes vote in the referendum, a strong bout of Catholic atheism is definitively on the rise, though it has not yet reached the stage of an epidemic. As the words ‘Catholic’ and ‘atheism’ do not normally stand together an explanation is due.
There are at least three kinds of atheism. There is the philosophical or doctrinal one. Atheism becomes a religion while a dogma develops out of this unbelief. There are also the practical atheists who live their lives as if God does not exist. God does not feature anywhere in the decisions they make.
The third category is made up of Catholic atheists. They live their lives as if God is not concretely, centrally and victoriously present in human history. They believe that evil is triumphing over good, sin over grace.
Whenever they look around them they see all sorts of footsteps of the Evil One but not a shred of evidence of a living and triumphant God. They act as if sin has the upper hand; they almost get a perverse kind of pleasure out of listing all the sins of the new Babylon while being unable to point to one virtue.
These spiritual masochists emulate one episode from the Gospels and stretch it out to cover most of their life. This is the episode of Peter losing faith when confronted by stormy seas and crying out: “Lord, I am sinking”.