This paper examines the relationship between the Catholic Church and Irish sociology within a comparative framework. Drawing on archival and documentary research, this linkage is investigated at an institutional and intellectual level, across three stages of the "career" of Irish Catholic sociology, and employing comparisons with Catholic sociology in France, Germany, and the United States. I discern important sources of variation between the four cases including major intellectuals, organisational hosts, and publishing outlets. Irish Catholic sociology's quite sudden movement in the direction of secular sociology in the 1950s is explained as a result of normative pressure to jettison its value-driven orientation as a result of more frequent interaction with the mainstream discipline via scholarly collaboration, the reforms of Vatican II emphasising engagement with the modern world, the demise of the broader Catholic Action movement of which it was a part, and changes in the national higher education environment. Â© 2011 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.