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Irish Catholics flee the church

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Malachi O’Doherty says his nieces and nephews are helpless at funerals.

Raised without religion, they are flummoxed by the practices and customs that accompany a Catholic ritual. Though he himself left the church as a teenager in the 1960s, he’s ambivalent about the loss of a binding and, at times, beautiful religious culture.

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