It’s a strange twilight zone that the remnant occupy, those who try to be faithful to the Catholic Church’s teachings in a country that has long since rejected the most challenging of its values.

The Irish Times seems cognizant of this reality, giving protracted coverage to an institution it has long celebrated being free of, a lot like a divorced spouse who still obsesses about their former partner, closely monitoring their movements, their relationships, hoping dearly for their continued decline.

Such is the rapid-fire flurry of articles about Catholicism over the past two days in the Irish Times, from “voyeuristic priests” in Confession, to smacking down the hierarchy’s plea for public Masses, and implying Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is beholden to a cult, that one can only conclude The Irish Times is still in crusade-mode, extinguishing the last vestiges of loyalty its own readers might feel towards the Catholic faith.

Where they might be commended for covering the abuse scandals and cover-up, a certain crime in the eyes of any right-thinking person, the paper’s unending campaign to liberalise the Church according to their liking, often omitting the rationale behind controversial teachings, is a stain on their credibility.

To be fair, Ed Power’s recent review of a documentary about the Sacrament of Confession did lament the fact that orthodox priests who were fond of traditional Catholicism were excluded from the programme, giving undue weight to the views of certain disillusioned clerics who seem to think there is a gun keeping them in a collar.

The headline however, “Voyeuristic priests used Confession ‘in an erotic way, drawing out people’s dirty stories’”, was pitch perfect in its anti-clericalism, indulging both the lapsed and the indifferent in the soothing balm of believing themselves more enlightened than their penitent forefathers and less dysfunctional than a supposedly perverted whole generation of priests.

Such is the acceptability of smearing papists that the editorial board no doubt fails to see the irony of decrying bigotry against minorities, whilst simultaneously alienating and ridiculing the few remaining faithful that still follow the ancient faith.

Amy Coney Barrett, who was previously scorned by Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein for letting “the dogma live loudly” in her, knows all about the last acceptable prejudice in western society.

Her charismatic Catholic community, ‘People of Praise’, are firmly in the crosshairs as the establishment media seek to paint her in the worst possible light during the hearings that commenced yesterday. Far from a feminist icon taking her seat on the highest court in the land, Barrett’s focus on being a good mother and wife as taught by the community means this sister will never be part of ‘the squad’ or ‘hood’, but essentially treated like a modern day heretic in an inquisition no newspaper will spurn.

This, of course, is because practising Catholics don’t like it when society kills little babies in the womb, and also refuses to join the sexual revolutionaries in their escapades, so it stands to reason that dissenters will be made a public example of.

One can scarcely imagine any Irish media outlet giving such negative coverage to Islamic or Jewish believers however, but the fact the majority of people still identify as Catholic in Ireland might give them the curious feeling of punching up in their endless game of shadow boxing against those knuckle-draggers in the pews.

As crucifixes and statues are next to be expunged from schools, we can already intuit journalists at ‘the paper of record’ intoning calls to diversity and tolerance to justify the move, all the while unaware of their intolerance for those whose Catholic worldview is very different indeed.