History of Roman Catholicism in Ireland: Wikis

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Introduction of Christianity

The introduction of Christianity to Ireland dates to sometime before the 5th century, presumably in interactions with Roman Britain. Christian worship had reached pagan Ireland around 400 AD. For some unknown reason, the conversion from pagan worship to Christian worship was bloodless in Ireland, as was not the case in the rest of Europe at the time. It is often misstated that St. Patrick brought the faith to Ireland, as it was already present on the island long before Patrick arrived. Monasteries were built for monks who wanted permanent communion with God. The lengths they went to for tranquility are evident from the monastarie of Skellig Michael.

Celtic Christianity broadly refers to the Early Medieval Christian practice that developed in Britain and Ireland before and during the post-Roman period, when Germanic invasions sharply reduced contact between the broadly Celtic populations of Britons and Irish with Christians on the Continent until their subsequent conversion in the 5th and 6th centuries. Then through the works of Columba and Aidan it was spread to others on Great Britain, such as the Picts and Northumbrians respectively. Celtic Christianity may be distinguished by its organisation around monasteries rather than dioceses, and certain traditions, especially in matters of liturgy and ritual, that were different from those of the greater sub-Roman world.

It is easy to exaggerate the cohesiveness of the Celtic Christian communities. Scholars have long recognised that the term “Celtic Church” is simply inappropriate to describe Christianity among Celtic-speaking peoples, since this would imply a notion of unity, or a self-identifying entity, that simply did not exist.[1] As Patrick Wormald explained, “One of the common misconceptions is that there was a ‘Roman Church’ to which the ‘Celtic’ was nationally opposed.”[2] Celtic-speaking areas were part of Latin Christendom as a whole, wherein a significant degree of liturgical and structural variation existed, along with a collective veneration of the Bishop of Rome that was no less intense in Celtic areas.[3] Nonetheless, it is possible to talk about certain traditions present in Celtic-speaking lands, and the development and spread of these traditions, especially in the sixth and seventh centuries. Some scholars have chosen to apply the term ‘Insular Christianity’ to this Christian practice that arose around the Irish Sea, a cultural nexus in the sub-Roman period that has been called the ‘Celtic Mediterranean’.[4] The term “Celtic Christianity” may also be employed simply in the sense of different Catholic practices, institutions, and saints amongst the Celtic peoples, in which case it could be used meaningfully well beyond the seventh century.

St Patrick Apostle of the Irish

In 430, Pope Celestine I sent Palladius, a bishop of Britain, to minister to the "Scots believing in Christ." Palladius, however, returned to Britain almost immediately, having accomplished little.

In 432 Celestine sent St. Patrick. Although he is called the Apostle of Ireland, this does not imply that he found Ireland altogether pagan and left it altogether Christian. It is however quite true that when St. Patrick did come paganism was the predominant belief, and that at his death it had been supplanted by Christianity.

Patrick (Irish: Naomh Pádraig) is thought to have been born in Britain about 390.[5] He was captured by Irish raiders and spent six years as a slave in Ireland but escaped. He entered the church and became a bishop before returning to Ireland as a missionary.

Native Ministry

One of St. Patrick's highest priorities was to establish a native ministry. For this purpose he selected the leading men—chiefs, brehons, bards—men likely to attract the respect of the people, and ordained them, after a little training, and often with minimal education. In a short time, however, these primitive conditions ceased. About 450 a college was established at Armagh under Benignus; other schools arose at Kildare, Noendrum, and Louth; and by the end of the fifth century these colleges sent forth a sufficient supply of trained priests.

Supported by a grant of land from the chief of the clan or sept and by voluntary offerings, bishop and priests lived together, preached to the people, administered the sacraments, settled their disputes, sat in their banquet halls. To many ardent natures this state of things was abhorrent. Fleeing from men, they sought for solitude and silence, by the banks of a river, in the recesses of a wood, and, with the scantiest allowance of food, the water for their drink, a few wattles covered with sods for their houses, they spent their time in mortification and prayer. Literally they were monks, for they were alone with God. But their retreats were soon invaded by others anxious to share their penances and their vigils, and to learn wisdom at their feet. Each newcomer built his little hut, a church was erected, a grant of land obtained, their master became abbot, and perhaps bishop; and thus arose monastic establishments the fame of which soon spread throughout Europe. Noted examples in the sixth century were Clonard, founded by St. Finian, Clonfert by St. Brendan, Bangor by St. Comgall, Clonmacnoise by St. Kieran, Arran by St. Enda; and, in the seventh century, Lismore by St. Carthage and Glendalough by St. Kevin.

Frequented by the best of the Irish, and by students from abroad, these latter diffused knowledge over western Europe, and Ireland received and merited the title of Island of Saints and Scholars. The holy men who laboured with St. Patrick and immediately succeeded him were mostly bishops and founders of churches; those of the sixth century were of the monastic order; those of the seventh century were mostly anchorites who loved solitude, silence, continued prayer, and the most rigid austerities. Nor were the women behindhand in this contest for holiness. St. Brigid is a name still dear to Ireland, and she, as well as St. Ita, St. Fanchea and others, founded many convents tenanted by pious women, whose sanctity and sacrifices it would be indeed difficult to surpass.

Nor was the Irish Church, as has been sometimes asserted, out of communion with the See of Rome. In the number of its sacraments, in its veneration for the Blessed Virgin, in its belief in the Mass and in Purgatory, in its obedience to the See of Rome, the creed of the early Irish Church was the Catholic creed of today. Abroad as well as at home Irish Christian zeal was displayed. In 563 St. Columba, a native of Donegal, accompanied by a few companions, crossed the sea to Caledonia and founded a monastery on the desolate island of Iona.

Irish monasteries

Monastic schools in Ireland became centers of excellence for peoples from all over Europe, as can be seen by tracing the English who came to study and train as missionaries in them. The historian Bede and an earlier English contemporary Aldhelm report that sizeable contingents of English students trained as missionaries in Ireland, specifically at Rath Melsigi, Co. Carlow, in Leinster. These English monks trained in Ireland in order to convert their pagan Germanic relatives on the continent. Several of them had successful ecclesiastical careers after their Irish training.

Bede and Aldhelm, being clerics, emphasized religious training, but both confirm that secular subjects were also taught at Irish monastic schools. Study of the scriptures was paramount, but they both make it clear that students often traveled from site to site seeking out teachers who had specialized knowledge in secular subjects as well.

During the early decades of the seventh century many Anglo-Saxon nobles were educated at Irish monasteries in northern Britain, specifically at Iona. Bede said that the Irish willingly welcomed the English students, gave them food, and provided them with books and instruction, without seeking any payment. When these Irish-educated English nobles returned to England, they invited Irish missionaries into their pagan kingdoms to evangelize. For example, the Anglo-Saxon King Oswald invited the Irish bishop Aidan from Iona into his kingdom, and Aidan founded the monastery at Lindisfarne on the coast of Northumberland around 635. The English historian Bede shows that Irish missionary activity in northern England was more successful at converting the pagan English than that started by Rome in 597 from Canterbury in the south of England.

Fresh arrivals came from Ireland; the monastery with Columba as its abbot was soon a flourishing institution, from which the Dalriadian Scots in the south and the Piets beyond the Grampians were evangelized. When Columba died in 597, Christianity had been preached and received in every district in Caledonia, and in every island along its west coast. In the next century Iona had so prospered that its abbot, St. Adamnan, wrote in excellent Latin the "Life of St. Columba", the best biography of which the Middle Ages can boast. From Iona had gone south the Irish Aidan and his Irish companions to compete with and even exceed in zeal the Roman missionaries under St. Augustine, and to evangelize Northumbria, Mercia, and Essex; and if Irish zeal had already been displayed in Iona, equal zeal was now displayed on the desolate isle of Lindisfarne.

The monastery of Iona, founded by Columba, encouraged literary production in both languages. For example, one of its more famous abbots, Adomnán (679–704), mentioned already as the author of the Latin "Life of Columba," wrote a description in Latin of the significant sites in the Holy Land called "On the Holy Places" (De Locis Sanctis). Abbot Adomnán also wrote and promulgated a law (Cáin Adomnáin, 697), written in Irish, which was intended to protect women, children, and clerics from the ravages of warfare.

Saint Columba, the founder of the monastery at Iona, has a Latin hymn, "Exalted Creator" (Altus Prosator), attributed to him, although not all critics accept the attribution. Three poems in praise of Columba rank among the oldest complete poems in the Irish language. One of them, the "Eulogy for Columba" (Amra Choluim Chille), has been dated on linguistic grounds to around 600, which coincides well with Columba's death date of 597. According to tradition, Dallán Forgaill, a professional poet, composed it in order to eulogize Columba on his death. This poem is important for several reasons besides its great age. It reflects an ancient tradition of praising secular rulers, but it is unusual for praising instead a religious leader. It demonstrates how the learning of the monasteries blended native customs with Christian teachings. For example, it complies with the norms of secular eulogy by noting Columba's aristocratic background and by providing genealogical information that can be corroborated in other sources. Columba is called a great champion, but rather than battling against his enemies and sharing largesse among his subjects, Columba excels in self-denial and Christian learning. His praiseworthy qualities are not those of a secular ruler, but of an ascetic, scholarly cleric.

The monastery at Bangor also produced learned religious texts in Latin beside a vibrant vernacular literature of Irish tales. In the late seventh century a collection of beautiful religious poems and hymns in Latin, the "Antiphonary of Bangor," was compiled there. Important vernacular literature also came from Bangor. "The Voyage of Bran" (Immram Brain), perhaps the earliest example of the Irish "otherworld voyage," was written at Bangor. It tells of Bran's voyage across the Western Ocean and recounts the wonders that he encountered in a sinless otherworld. It employs a motif whereby characters in a pre-Patrician context prophesy the coming of Christianity and the salvation of the Irish. Tales in Irish about the early cultural hero Mongán mac Fiachnai also originated at Bangor. The tales about Mongán portray the Irish Sea as a highway between Ireland and Britain and relate episodes that involve battles against English kingdoms.

Missionaries Abroad

Missionaries from Ireland to England and Continental Europe spread news of the flowering of learning, and scholars from other nations came to Irish monasteries. The excellence and isolation of these monasteries helped preserve Latin learning during the Early Middle Ages. The period of Insular art, mainly in the fields of illuminated manuscripts, metalworking, and sculpture flourished and produced such treasures as the Book of Kells, the Ardagh Chalice, and the many carved stone crosses that dot the island.

A page from the Book of Kells that opens the Gospel of John.

During the Dark Ages in Europe these monasteries served as sanctuary to many of the continents great scholars and theologians. It was here that the lamp of Latin learning was preserved for the ages. During this age, the great illuminated manuscripts of Ireland were produced. Arguably the finest such work, is The Book of Kells which may still be viewed at Trinity College, Dublin.

The first significant renewal of learning in the West came with the Carolingian Renaissance of the Early Middle Ages. Charlemagne, advised by Peter of Pisa and Alcuin of York, attracted the scholars of England and Ireland, and by decree in AD 787 established schools in every abbey in his empire. These schools, from which the name scholasticism is derived, became centres of medieval learning. During the early Scholastic period, knowledge of the Greek language had vanished in the west except in Ireland, where it was widely dispersed in the monastic schools.[6]

Irish scholars had a considerable presence in the Frankish court, where they were renowned for their learning.[7] Among them was Johannes Scotus Eriugena, one of the founders of scholasticism.[8] Eriugena was the most significant Irish intellectual of the early monastic period, and an outstanding philosopher in terms of originality.[7] He had considerable familiarity with the Greek language, and translated many works into Latin, affording access to the Cappadocian Fathers and the Greek theological tradition.[7]

The Vikings arrive

During the ninth & tenth centuries, waves of Norse warriors ransacked the countryside. The Vikings plundered everything in sight. The monasteries were favorite targets for their treasures of golden religious ornaments.

As the eighth century neared its close, religion and learning still flourished; but unexpected dangers approached and a new enemy came, before whose assaults monk and monastery and saint and scholar disappeared. These invaders were the Danes from the coasts of Scandinavia. Pagans and pirates, they loved plunder and war, and both on land and sea were formidable foes. Descending from their ships along the coast of western Europe, they murdered the inhabitants or made them captives and slaves.

In Ireland as elsewhere they attacked the monasteries and churches, desecrated the altars, carried away the gold and silver vessels, and smoking ruins and murdered monks attested the fury of their assaults. Armagh and Bangor, Kildare and Clonmacnoise, Iona and Lindisfarne thus fell before their fury. Under native and Christian chiefs churches were destroyed, church lands appropriated by laymen, monastic schools deserted, lay abbots ruled at Armagh and elsewhere. Bishops were consecrated without sees and conferred orders for money, there was chaos in church government and corruption everywhere.

In a series of synods beginning with Rathbreasail (1118) and including Kells, at which the pope's legate presided, many salutary enactments were passed, and for the first time diocesan episcopacy was established. Meanwhile, St. Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh, had done very remarkable work in his own diocese and elsewhere. His early death in 1148 was a heavy blow to the cause of church reform. Nor could so many evils be cured in a single life, or by the labours of a single man; and in spite of his efforts and the efforts of others the decrees of synods were often flouted, and the new diocesan boundaries ignored.

Anglo-Normans

In Henry II of England an unexpected reformer appeared. In the first year of his reign (1154) he procured a Bull from the English-born Pope Adrian IV authorizing him to proceed to Ireland "to check the torrent of wickedness to reform evil manners, to sow the seeds of virtue." Around 1155 the Pope Adrian IV authorized Henry II of England to invade Ireland in order "to proclaim the truths of the Christian religion to a rude and ignorant people" ; on condition that a penny should be yearly paid from each house to the See of Rome.

The many troubles of his extensive kingdom thwarted his plans for years. But in 1168 Macmurrogh, King of Leinster, driven from his kingdom sought Henry's aid, and then Adrian's Bull was remembered. a first contingent of Anglo-Normans came to Ireland in 1169 under Fitzgerald, a stronger force under Strongbow (de Clare, Earl of Pembroke) in 1170, and in 1171 Henry himself landed at Waterford and proceeded to Dublin, where he spent the winter, and received the submission of all the Irish chiefs, except those of Tyrconnell and Tyrowen.

Exercising his supposed rights, Henry divided the country into so many great fiefs, giving Meath to be Lacy, Leinster to Strongbow, while de Courcy was encouraged to conquer Ulster, and deCogan Connaught. At a later date the deBurgos settled in Galway, the Fitzgeralds in Kildare and Desmond, the Butlers in Ossory. Discord enfeebled the capacity of the Irish chiefs for resistance; nor were kernes and gallowglasses equal to mail-clad knights, nor the battle-axe to the Norman lance, and in a short time large tracts had passed from native to foreign hands.

Lawlessness and irreligion were everywhere. The clergy of Irish quarrelled with those of English descent; the religious houses were corrupt, their priors and abbots great landholders with seats in Parliament, and more attached to secular than to religious concerns; the great monastic schools had disappeared, the greatest of them all, Clonmacnoise, being in ruins; preaching was neglected except by the mendicant orders, and these were utterly unable to cope with the disorders which prevailed.

By late 1171, Henry had completed the conquest of Ireland. In Cashel an assembly of the Irish clergy, presided over by Christianus, bishop of Lismore and papal legate, proclaimed Henry's title to the sovereign dominion of Ireland, and took the oath of fidelity to him and his successors. The decrees issued at the synod of Cashel marked the end of the (independent) Celtic Church and the final alignment with the Church of Rome. The native liturgies were abandoned, and the liturgy of the English Church was adopted.

From then on, a papal legate was present in Ireland. Pope Alexander III. was extremely gratified with this extension of his dominion, and in September, 1172, (in the same tone of sanctimonious arrogance) issued a brief confirming the bull of Adrian, and expressing a hope that “the barbarous nation” would attain under the government of Henry “to some decency of manners;” he also wrote three epistles—one to Henry II., one to the kings and nobles of Ireland, and one to its hierarchy—enjoining obedience of Ireland to England, and of both to the see of St. Peter.

In some ways, the change was advantageous to the church hierarchy. Under the ancient system, the native chieftains were absolute master over all their followers, including the clergy. According to the new order introduced by Henry II, the chieftains no longer had authority over the clergy. To maintain their sovereignty over the Irish clergy, the English Kings filled the vacant sees mostly with Englishmen. The Irish clergy in turn appealed to Rome to confirm their nomination. Jealousy, hostility and disputes characterized the relations between the English and the Irish ecclesiastics; the latter sought to transfer their allegiance as churchmen from the sovereign of England to the pope of Rome, so that the struggle for supremacy lasted for centuries.

Reformation and beyond

The Crown of England did not gain full control of Ireland until the 16th and 17th centuries, during which the whole island was subjected to a number of military campaigns in the period 1534–1691. During this period, the island was colonised by English and Scottish Protestant settlers. Most of the Irish remained Roman Catholic.

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Henry VIII

Henry VIII decided to destroy the power Anglo-Norman Kings and take control of Ireland. As he did so, he put English lords in charge of confiscated land, and plundered the Catholic monasteries and churches, as he had done in England. In 1536 during the Reformation, Henry VIII arranged to be declared head of the Church in Ireland through an Act of the Irish Parliament. When the Church of England was re-formed under Edward VI, so too was the Church of Ireland.

Occupied with English and Continental affairs, Henry VIII, in the beginning of his reign, bestowed but little attention on Ireland, and not until he was a quarter of a century on the throne were Irish affairs taken seriously in hand. At this point Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy by which Henry was invested with spiritual jurisdiction, and, in substitution for the pope, proclaimed head of the Church. As the proctors of the clergy refused to agree to this measure, the irate monarch deprived them of the right of voting, and in revenge confiscated church lands and suppressed monasteries, in some cases shed the blood of their inmates, in the remaining cases sent them forth homeless and poor. These severities, however, did not win the people from their faith. The apostate friar Browne, whom Henry made Archbishop of Dublin, the apostate Staples, Bishop of Meath, and Henry himself, stained with so many adulteries and murders, had but poor credentials as preachers of reform; whatever time-serving chiefs might do, the clergy and people were unwilling to make Henry pope, or to subscribe to the varying tenets of his creed. His successor, an ardent Protestant, tried hard to make Ireland Protestant, but the sickly plant which he sowed was uprooted by the Catholic Mary, and at Elizabeth's accession all Ireland was Catholic.

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I consolidated English power in Ireland. Fearing Ireland's Catholicism and strategic value for her enemies, Elizabeth made England's jurisdiction in Ireland complete through bribery and butchery. The Anglo-Normans and the Gaels fought as one against the Elizabethan English but with little success. All but two of the Irish bishops accepted the Elizabethan Settlement, although the vast majority of priests and the church membership remained Roman Catholic. The Church of Ireland claims apostolic succession because of the continuity in the hierarchy; however, this claim is disputed by the Roman Catholic Church.

The established church in Ireland underwent a period of more radical Calvinist doctrine than occurred in England. James Ussher (later Archbishop of Armagh) authored the Irish Articles, adopted in 1615. In 1634, the Irish Convocation adopted the English Thirty-Nine Articles alongside the Irish Articles. After the Restoration of 1660, it seems that the Thirty-Nine Articles took precedence; they remain the official doctrine of the Church of Ireland even after disestablishment.[9]

The English-speaking minority mostly adhered to the Church of Ireland or to Presbyterianism, while the Irish-speaking majority remained faithful to the Latin liturgy of Roman Catholicism, which remained the majority denomination in Ireland. From this period on, sectarian conflict became a recurrent theme in Irish history.

Translation of the Bible into Irish

The first Irish translation of the New Testament was begun by Nicholas Walsh, Bishop of Ossory, who worked on it until he was murdered in 1585. The work was continued by John Kearny, his assistant, and Dr. Nehemiah Donellan, Archbishop of Tuam; it was finally completed by William O'Domhnuill (William Daniell, Archbishop of Tuam in succession to Donellan). Their work was printed in 1602. The work of translating the Old Testament was undertaken by William Bedel (1571-1642), Bishop of Kilmore, who completed his translation within the reign of Charles I, although it was not published until 1680 in a revised version by Narcissus Marsh (1638-1713), Archbishop of Dublin. William Bedell had undertaken a translation of the Book of Common Prayer in 1606. An Irish translation of the revised prayer book of 1662 was effected by John Richardson (1664-1747) and published in 1712.

The first translation of the entire Bible that was approved by the church was An Bíobla Naofa, supervised by Professor Pádraig Ó Fiannachta at Maynooth and published in 1981.

Rebellion of 1641

The plan of the rebel leaders, of whom Roger Moore was chief, was to capture the garrison towns by a simultaneous attack. But they failed to capture Dublin Castle, containing large stores of arms, owing to the imprudence of Colonel MacMahon. He imparted the secret to a disreputable Irishman named O'Connolly, who at once informed the Castle authorities, with the result that the Castle defences were strengthened, and MacMahon and others arrested and subsequently executed. In Ulster, however, the whole open country and many towns fell into the rebels' hands, and Munster and Connaught soon joined the rebellion, as did the Catholics of the Pale, unable to obtain any toleration of their religion, or security of their property, or even of their lives. Before the new year was far advanced the Catholic Bishops declared the rebellion just, and the Catholics formed a confederation which, from its meeting place, was called the "Confederation of Kilkenny". Composed of clergy and laity its members swore to be loyal to the king, to strive for the free exercise of their religion, and to defend the lives, liberties, and possessions of all who took the Confederate oath. Supreme executive authority was vested in a supreme council; there were provincial councils also, all these bodies deriving their powers from an elective body called the "General Assembly".

The Supreme Council exercised all the powers of government, administered justice, raised taxes, formed armies, appointed generals. One of the best-known of these officers was General Preston, who commanded in Leinster, having come from abroad with a good supply of arms and ammunition, and with 500 trained officers. A more remarkable man still was General Owen Roe O'Neill, nephew of the great Earl of Tyrone, who took command in Ulster, and whose defence of Arras against the French caused him to be recognized as one of the first soldiers in Europe. He also, like Preston, brought officers, arms, and ammunition to Ireland. At a later state came Rinuccini, the pope's nuncio, bringing with him a supply of money.

Meanwhile, civil war raged in England between king and Parliament; the Government at Dublin, ill supplied from across the Channel, was ill fitted to crush a powerful rebellion, and, in 1646, O'Neill won the great victory of Benburb. But the strength of which this victory was the outcome was counterbalanced by elements of weakness. The Catholics of Ulster and those of the Pale did not agree; neither did Generals O'Neill and Preston. The Supreme Council, with a feeble old man, Lord Mountgarret, at its head, and four provincial generals instead of a commander-in-chief, was ill-suited for the vigorous prosecution of a war. Moreover, the influence of the Marquis of Ormond was a fatal cause of discord. A personal friend of the king, and charged by him with the command of his army and with the conduct of negotiations, a Protestant with Catholic friends on the Supreme Council, his desire ought to have been to bring Catholic and Royalist together. But his hatred of the Catholics was such that he would grant them no terms, even when ordered to do so by His Majesty.

The Catholics' professions of loyalty he despised, and his great diplomatic abilities were used to sow dissensions in their councils and to thwart their plans. Yet the Supreme Council, dominated by an Ormondist faction, continued fruitless negotiations with him, agreed to a cessation when they themselves were strong and their opponents weak, and agreed to a peace with him in spite of the victory of Benburb, and in spite of the remonstrances of the nuncio and of General O'Neill. Nor did they cease these relations with him even after he had treacherously surrendered Dublin to the Parliament (1647), and left the country. On the contrary, they still put faith in him, entered into a fresh peace with him in 1648, and when he returned to Ireland as the Royalist viceroy they received him in state at Kilkenny. In disgust, General O'Neill came to a temporary agreement with the Parliamentary general, and Rinuccini, despairing of Ireland, returned to Rome.

Cromwell's Invasion

The Civil War in England was then over. The Royalists had been vanquished, the king executed, the monarchy replaced by a commonwealth; and in August, 1649, Oliver Cromwell came to Ireland with 10,000 men. Ormond meanwhile had rallied his supporters, and, with the greater part of the Catholics of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught, the Protestants of the Pale and of Munster, and great part of the Ulster Presbyterians, his strength was considerable. Early in August he had been disastrously beaten by the Puritan general Jones, at Rathmines; in consequence he offered no opposition to Cromwell's landing and made no attempt to relieve Drogheda. It was soon captured by Cromwell and its garrison put to the sword. A month later the same fate befell Wexford. Waterford repelled Cromwell's attack, and Clonmel and Kilkenny offered him a stout resistance; but other towns were easily captured, or voluntarily surrendered; and when he left Ireland, in May, 1650, Munster and Leinster were in his hands. His successors, Ireton and Ludlow, within two years reduced the remaining provinces. Meanwhile Owen Roe O'Neill had died after making terms with Ormond, but before meeting with Cromwell. The Catholic Bishops, however, repudiated Ormond, who then left Ireland. Some negotiations subsequently between Lord Clanricarde and the Duke of Lorraine came to nothing, and the long war was ended in which more than half the inhabitants of the country had lost their lives.

Cromwellian Settlement

In the beginning of the rebellion many Englishmen subscribed money to put it down, stipulating in return for a share of the lands to be forfeited, and thus hatred of the Catholics was mingled with hope of gain. The English Parliament accepted the money on the terms proposed, and the subscribers became known as "adventurers", because they adventured their money on Irish land. When the rebellion was over, the problem was to provide the lands promised, and also to provide lands for the soldiers who were in arrears of pay. It was a difficult problem. There was an Act for Settling Ireland, and Act for the Satisfaction of Adventurers in Lands and Arrears due to the soldiers and other public Debts; there was a High Court of Justice to determine who were guilty of rebellion; there were soldiers who had got special terms when laying down their arms; and there were those who had never had a share in the rebellion, but had merely lived in the rebel quarters during the war. The best of the lands east of the Shannon were for the adventurers and soldiers, the dispossessed being driven to Connaught. To determine where the planters were to be settled and where the transplanted, and what amount they were to get, there were commissions, and committees, and surveys, and court of claims. Nor was it till 1658 that the Cromwellian Settlement was complete, and even then many of the transplanted protested their innocence of any share in the rebellion, and many of the adventurers and soldiers complained that they had been defrauded of their due. In the amount of suffering it entailed and wrong inflicted the whole scheme far exceeded the plantation of Ulster. But it failed to make Ireland either English or Protestant, and in setting up a system of alien landlords and native tenants it proved the curse of Ireland and the fruitful parent of many ills.

Restoration of the monarchy

To the Irish, Cromwell's death in 1658 was welcome news, all the more so because Charles II (1660-85) was restored. Had Charles been free to act, the Cromwellian Settlement would not have endured; for he loved the Catholics much more than he loved the Puritans. But the planters were a dangerous body to provoke, sustained as they were by the English Parliament and by the king's chief adviser, Ormond, who indeed hated the Cromwellians, but hated the Catholics much more. Some attempt, however, was made to right the wrong that had been done, and by the Act of Settlement, six hundred innocent Catholics were restored to their lands. Many more would have been restored had the court of claims been allowed to continue its sittings.

The irate planters wanted to know what was to become of them if the despoiled papist thus back their lands; utterings threats and even breaking out into rebellion they alarmed the king. Under Ormond's advice the Act of Explanation was then passed (1665) and the court of claims set up by the Act of Settlement closed its doors, though three thousand cases remained untried. Thus the Cromwellians who had murdered the king's father were, with few exceptions, left unmolested while the Catholics were abandoned to their fate. Before the rebellion two-thirds of the lands of the country were in the hands of the latter; after the Act of Explanation scarcely one-third was left them, a sweeping confiscation especially in the case of men who were denied even the justice of a trial.

After this the toleration of the Catholics was but a small concession. Not, however, during the whole of Charles's reign; for Ormond, now a duke, filled the office of viceroy for many years; he at least would maintain Protestant ascendancy, and exclude the Catholics from the bench and the corporations. In the English Council and in Parliament he bitterly attacked and defeated the proposed revision of the Act of Settlement. He does not appear to have had any sympathy with the lying tales of Oates and Bedloe, or with the storm of persecution which followed, and he disapproved of the judicial murder of Oliver Plunket. But his aversion from the Catholics continued, and was in no way chilled by advancing age. One of the last acts of Charles was to dismiss him from office as an enemy to toleration. The king himself soon after died in the Catholic Faith, and James II, an avowed Catholic, succeeded, the first Catholic sovereign since the death of Mary Tudor.

James II

James attempted to rectify the Catholic question, and appointed Catholics to high civil and military offices, opened the corporations and the universities to them, had a papal nuncio at his court, and issued a declaration of Indulgence suspending the penal laws. When the Protestant bishops refused to have this declaration read from their pulpits he prosecuted them. Their acquittal was the signal for revolt, and James, deserted by all classes, fled to France leaving the English throne to William of Orange, whom the Protestants invited from Holland. Meanwhile sweeping changes had been effected in Ireland by the viceroy, the Duke of Tyreconnell, a militant Catholic and a special favourite of King James. Protestant magistrates, sheriffs, and judges had been displaced to make room for Catholics; the army and corporations underwent similar changes; and the Act of Settlement was to be repealed. Protestants formed centres of resistance to the viceroy in Munster and Connaught, and, in Ulster, Derry and Enniskillen expelled the Catholics and closed their gates against the viceroy's troops. This was rebellion, for James, though repudiated in England, was still King of Ireland. In March, 1689, he arrived at Kinsale from France to subdue these rebels. But the task was beyond his strength. Derry and Enniskillen defied all his attacks, and a Wiliamite force, issuing from the latter town, almost annihilated a Jacobite army at Newton-Butler.

Battle of the Boyne

Disaffection became general among the Protestants when the Irish Parliament repealed the Act of Settlement and attained eighteen hundred persons who had fled to England through fear; and when, in August, a Williamite force of twenty thousand landed at Carrickfergus, the Protestants everywhere welcomed it. This great force, however, effected nothing, and in June, 1690, William himself came and encountered James on the banks of the Boyne. The battle was fought on 1 July, and resulted in the defeat of James. Hastening to Dublin he told the Duchess of Tyrconnell that the Irish soldiers had shamefully run away, to which the lady is said to have replied; "But your Majesty won the race." The retort was just. The Irish cavalry behaved with conspicuous gallantry, as did the greater part of the infantry. Some of the latter did run away, but not so fast as James himself, who fled taking the ablest of the Irish generals, Sarsfield, with him.

That the Irish were no cowards was soon shown by their defence of Athlone and the still more glorious defence of Limerick. After being compelled to raise the siege of the latter city, King Williams left for England, committing the civil authority to lords justices and the military command to General Ginkel.

In the following year Ginkel captured Athlone, owing to the carelessness of the Jacobite general, St-Ruth. On 12 July, 1691, the last great battle of the war was fought at Aughrim. The Irish were not inferior to their opponents in numbers, discipline, or valour, and though overmatched in heavy guns they had the advantage of position. Nor was St-Ruth inferior to Ginkel in military capacity. His dispositions were excellent, and after several hours' desperate fighting Ginkel was driven back at every point. Just then St-Ruth was struck down by a cannon ball. Panic-stricken, the Irish fell back, allowing their opponents to advance and inflict on them a crushing defeat. The surrender of Galway and Sligo followed, and in a short time Ginkel and his whole army were before the walls of Limerick. When he had effectually surrounded it and made a breach in the walls, further resistance was seen to be hopeless, and Sarsfield and his friends made terms. By the end of the year the war was over, King William had triumphed, and Protestant ascendancy was secure.

Protestant Ascendancy (1691–1801)

The overthrow, in 1613, of the Catholic majority in the Irish parliament was realised principally through the creation of numerous new boroughs, all of which were Protestant-dominated. By the end of the seventeenth century all Catholics, representing some 85% of Ireland's population then, were banned from the Irish parliament. Political power rested entirely in the hands of a British settler-colonial, and more specifically Anglican, minority while the Catholic population suffered severe political and economic privations.

By the late 18th century, many of the Anglo-Irish ruling class had come to see Ireland as their native country. A Parliamentary faction led by Henry Grattan agitated for a more favourable trading relationship with England and for greater legislative independence for the Parliament of Ireland. However, reform in Ireland stalled over the more radical proposals to enfranchise Irish Catholics. This was enabled in 1793, but Catholics could not yet enter parliament or become government officials.

Oath of Allegiance

By the Treaty of Limerick the Catholic soldiers of King James were pardoned, protected against forfeiture of their estates, and were free to go abroad if they chose. All Catholics might substitute an oath of allegiance for the oath of supremacy, and were to have such privileges "as were consistent with the laws of Ireland, or as they did enjoy in the reign of Charles II". King William also promised to have the Irish Parliament grant a further relaxation of the penal laws in force. This treaty, however, was soon torn to shreds, and in spite of William's appeals the Irish Parliament refused to ratify it, and embarked on fresh penal legislation. Under these new laws Catholics were excluded from Parliament, from the bench and bar, from the army and navy, from all civil offices, from the corporations, and even from the corporate towns. They could not have Catholic schools at home or attend foreign schools, or inherit landed property, or hold land under lease, or act as executors or administrators, or have arms or ammunition, or a horse worth £5. Neither could they bury their dead in Catholic ruins, or make pilgrimages to holy wells, or observe Catholic holidays. They could not intermarry with the Protestants, the clergyman assisting at such marriages being liable to death. The wife of a Catholic landlord turning Protestant got separate maintenance; the son turning Protestant got the whole estate; and the Catholic landlord having only Catholic children was obliged at death to divide his estate among his children in equal shares. All the regular clergy, as well as bishops and vicars-general should quit the kingdom. The secular clergy might remain, but must be registered, nor could they have on their churches either steeple or bell.

In 1728 the Catholics were to the Protestants as five to one. A few Catholics, with the connivance of some friendly Protestants, managed to hold their estates; the remainder gradually sank to the level of cottiers and day-labourers, reduced to a standard of living far below what they ahd been used to. Many Catholics chose to emigrate in the hopes of a more congenial environment.

Irish Parliament and the Passing of Tolerance

In the Irish Parliament meanwhile a spirit of independence appeared. As the Parliament of the Pale it had been so often used for factious purposes that in 1496 Poyning's Law was passed, providing that henceforth no Irish Parliament could meet, and no law could be proposed, without the previous consent of both the Irish and English Privy Councils. Further, the English Parliament claimed the right to legislate for Ireland; and in the laws prohibiting the importation of Irish cattle (1665), and Irish woollen manufactures (1698), and that dealing with the Irish forfeited estates (1700), it asserted its supposed right.

When one member, Molyneux, prtoested, the English Parliament condemned him, and ordered his book to be burned by the common hangman. Moreover, it passed an Act in 1719 expressly declaring that it had power to legislate for Ireland, taking away also the appellate jurisdiction of the Irish House of Lords. The fight made by Swift against Wood's halfpence showed that, though Molyneux was dead, his spirit lived; Lucas continued the fight, and Grattan in 1782 obtained legislative independence.

In 1778 by an Act enabling Catholics to hold all lands under lease; and in 1782 by a further Act allowing them to erect Catholic schools, with the permission of the Protestant bishop of the diocese, to own a horse worth more than £5, and to assist at Mass without being compelled to accuse the officiating priest. Nor were Catholic bishops any longer compelled to quit the kingdom, nor Catholic children specially rewarded if they turned Protestant. Not for ten years was there any further concession, and then an Act was passed allowing Catholics to erect schools without seeking Protestant permission, admitting Catholics to the Bar, and legalizing marriages between Protestants and Catholics. Much more important was the Act of 1793 giving the Catholics the Parliamentary and municipal franchise, admitting them to the universities and to military and civil offices, and removing all restrictions in regard to the tenure of land. They were still excluded from Parliament, from the inner Bar, and from a few of the higher civil and military offices.

Always in favour of religious liberty, Grattan would have swept away every vestige of the Penal code. But, in 1782, he mistakenly thought that his work was done when legislative independence was conceded. He forgot that the executive was still left independent of Parliament, answerable only to the English ministry; and that, with rotten boroughs controlled by a few great families, with an extremely limited franchise in the counties, and with pensioners and placement filling so many seats, the Irish Parliament was but a mockery of representation.

Like Grattan, Flood and Charlemont favoured Parliamentary reform, but, unlike him, they were opposed to Catholic concessions. As for Foster and Fitzgibbon, who led the forces of corruption and bigotry, they opposed every attempt at reform, and consented to the Act of 1793 only under strong pressure from Pitt and Dundas. These English ministers, alarmed at the progress of French revolutionary principles in Ireland, fearing a foreign invasion, wished to have the Catholics contented. In 1795 further concessions seemed imminent. In that year an illiberal viceroy, Lord Westmoreland, was replaced by the liberal-minded Lord Fitzwilliam, who came understanding it to be the wish of Pitt that the Catholic claims were to be conceded. He at once dismissed from office a rapacious office-holder named Beresford, so powerful that he was called the "King of Ireland"; he refused to consult Lord Chancellor Fitzgibbon or Foster, the Speaker; he took Grattan and Ponsonby into his confidence, and declared his intention to support Grattan's bill admitting Catholics to Parliament. The high hopes raised by these events were dashed to the earth when Fitzwilliam was suddenly recalled, after having been allowed to go so far without any protest from Portland, the home secretary, or from the premier, Pitt. The latter, disliking the Irish Parliament because it had rejected his commercial propositions in 1785, and disagreed with him on the regency in 1789, already mediated a legislative union, and felt that the admission of Catholics to Parliament would thwart his plans. He was probably also influenced by Beresford, who had powerful friends in England, and by the king, whom Fitzgibbon had mischievously convinced that to admit Catholics to Parliament would be to violate his coronation oath. Possibly, other causes concurred with these to bring about the sudden and disastrous change which filled Catholic Ireland with grief, and the whole nation with dismay.

The new viceroy, Lord Camden, was instructed to conciliate the Catholic bishops by setting up a Catholic college for the training of Irish priests; this was done by the establishment of Maynooth College. But he was to set his face against all Parliamentary reform and all Catholic concessions. These things he did with a will. He at once restored Beresford to office and Foster and Fitzgibbon to favour, the latter being made Earl of Clare. And he stirred up but too successfully the dying embers of sectarian hate, with the result that the Ulster factions, the Protestant "Peep-of-Day Boys" and the Catholic "Defenders", became embittered with a change of names. The latter, turning to republican and revolutionary ways, joined the United Irish Society; the former became merged in the recently formed Orange Society, taking its name from William of Orange and having Protestant ascendancy and hatred of Catholicism as its battle cries. Extending from Ulster, these rival societies brought into the other provinces the curse of sectarian strife. Instead of putting down both, the Government took sides with the Orangemen; and, while their lawless acts were condoned, the Catholics were hunted down. An Arms' Act, an Insurrection Act, an Indemnity Act, a suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act placed them outside the pale of law. An undisciplined soldiery, recruited from the Orange lodges, were than let loose among them. Martial law, free quarters, flogging, picketing, half-hanging, destruction of Catholic property and life, outrages on women followed, until at last Catholic blood was turned into flame. Then Wexford rose. Looking back, it now seems certain that, had Hoche landed at Bantry in 1796, had even a small force landed at Wexford in 1798, or a few other counties displayed the heroism of Wexford, English power in Ireland would, temporarily at least, have been destroyed. But one county could not fight the British Empire, and the rebellion was soon quenched in blood.

Camden's place was then given to Lord Cornwallis, who came to Ireland for the express purpose of carrying a Legislative Union. Foster refused to support him and joined the opposition. Fitzgibbon, however, aided Cornwallis, and so did Castlereagh, who for some time had discharged the duties of chief secretary in the absence of Mr. Pelham, and who was now formally appointed to the office. And then began one of the most shameful chapters in Irish history. Even the corrupt Irish Parliament was reluctant to vote away its existence, and in 1799 the opposition was too strong for Castlereagh. But Pitt directed him to persevere, and the great struggle went on. On one side were eloquence and debating power, patriotism, and public virtue, Grattan, Plunket, and Bushe, Foster, Fitzgerald, Ponsonby, and Moore, a truly formidable combination. On the other side were the baser elements of in Parliament, the needy, the spendthrift, the meanly ambitious, operated upon by Castlereagh, with the whole resources of the British Empire at his command. The pensioners and placemen who voted against him at once lost their places and pensions, the military officer was refused promotion, the magistrate was turned off the bench. And while anti-Unionists were unsparingly punished, the Unionists got lavish rewards. The impecunious got well-paid sinecures; the briefless barrister was made a judge or a commissioner; the rich man, ambitious of social distinction, got a peerage, and places and pensions for his friends; and the owners of rotten boroughs to large sums for their interests. The Catholics were promised emancipation in a united Parliament, and in consequence many bishops, some clergy, and a few of the laity supported the Union, not grudging to end an assembly so bigoted and corrupt as the Irish Parliament. By these means Castlereagh triumphed, and in 1801 the United Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland opened its doors.

Catholic Emancipation

The next quarter of a century was a period of baffled hopes. Anxious to stand well with the Government, Dr. Troy, the Archbishop of Dublin, had been a strong advocate of the Union, and had induced nine of his brother bishops to concede to the king a veto on episcopal appointments. In return, he wanted emancipation linked with the Union, and Castlereagh was not averse; but Pitt was non-committal and vague, though the Catholic Unionists had no doubt that he favoured immediate concession. Disappointment came when nothing was done in the first session of the United Parliament, and it was increased when Pitt resigned office and was succeeded by Addington, a narrow-minded bigot. Cornwallis, however, assured Dr. Troy that Pitt had resigned, unable to overcome the prejudices of the king, and that he would never again take office if emancipation were not conceded. Yet, in spite of this, he became premier in 1804, no longer an advocate of emancipation but an opponent, pledged never again to raise the question in Parliament, during the lifetime of the king. To this pledge he was as faithful as he had been false to his former assurances; and when Fox presented the Catholic petition in 1805, Pitt opposed it. After 1806, when both Pitt and Fox died, the Catholic champion was Grattan, who had entered the British Parliament in 1805. In the vain hope of conciliating opponents he was willing, in 1808, to concede the veto. Dr. Troy and the higher Catholics acquiesced; but the other bishops were unwilling, and neither they nor the clergy, still less the people, wanted a state-paid clergy or state-appointed bishops. The agitation of the question, however, did not cease, and for many years it distracted Catholic plans and weakened Catholic effort. Further complications arose when, in 1814, the prefect of the Propaganda, Quarantotti, issued a rescript favouring the veto. He acted, however, beyond his powers in the absence of Pius VII, who was in France, and when the pope returned to Rome, after the fall of Napoleon, the rescript was disavowed.

In these years the Catholics badly needed a leader. John Keogh, the able leader of 1793, was then old, and Lords Fingall and Gormanstone, Mr. Scully and Dr. Dromgoole, were not the men to grapple with great difficulties and powerful opponents. An abler and more vigorous leader was required, one with less faith in petitions and protestations of loyalty. Such a leader was found in Daniel O'Connell, a Catholic barrister whose first public appearance in 1800 was on an anti-Unionist platform. A great lawyer and orator, a great debater, of boundless courage and resources, he took a prominent part on Catholic committees, and from 1810 he held the first place in Catholic esteem. Yet the Catholic cause advanced slowly, and, when Grattan died in 1820, emancipation had not come. Nor would the House of Lords accept Plunket's Bill of 1821, even though it passed the House of Commons and conceded the veto. At last O'Connell determined to rouse the masses, and in 1823, with the help of Richard Lalor Sheil, he founded the Catholic Association. Its progress at first was slow, but gradually it gathered strength. Dr. Murray, the new Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, joined it, and Dr. Doyle, the great Bishop of Kildare; other bishops followed; the clergy and people also came in; and thus rose a great national organization, supervising from its central office in Dublin subsidiary associations in every parish; maintained by a Catholic rent; watching over local and national affairs, discharging, as Mr. Canning described it, "all the functions of a regular government, and having obtained a complete mastery and control over the masses of the Irish people". The Association was suppressed in 1825 by Act of Parliament; but O'Connell merely changed the name; and the New Catholic Association with its New Catholic rent continued the work of agitation as of old. Nor was this all. By the Catholic Relief Act of 1793 the forty-shilling freeholders obtained the franchise. These freeholders, being so poor, were necessarily in the power of the landlords and were wont to be driven to the pools like so many sheep. But now, protected by a powerful association, and encouraged by the priests and by O'Connell, the freeholders broke their chains, and in Waterford, Louth, Meath, and elsewhere they voted for the nominees of the Catholic Association at elections, and in placing them at the head of the pool humbled the landlords. When they returned O'Connell himself for Clare in 1828, the crisis had come. The Tory ministers, Wellington and Peel, would have still resisted; but the people were not to be restrained: it must be concession or civil war, and rather than have the latter the ministers hauled down the flag of no surrender, and passed the Catholic Relief Bill of 1829. The forty-shilling freeholders were disfranchised, and there were some vexations provisions excluding Catholics from a few of the higher civil and military offices, prohibiting priests from wearing vestments outside their churches, bishops from assuming the titles of their sees, regulars form obtaining charitable bequests. In other respects Catholics were placed on a level with other denominations, and at last were admitted within the pale of the constitution.

The Catholic masses had a threefold grievance calling urgently for redress: the state Church, landlordism, and educational inequality. Mr. Gladstone called them the three branches of the Irish ascendancy upas tree. Commencing with the Church, he introduced a Bill disendowing and disestablishing it. Commissioners were appointed to wind it up, taking charge of its enormous property, computed at more than £15,000,000 ($75,000,000). Of this sum, £10,000,000, ultimately raised to £11,000,000, was given to the disestablished Church, part to the holders of existing offices, part to enable the Church to continue its work. A further sum of nearly £1,000,000 was distributed between Maynooth College, deprived of its annual grant, and the Presbyterian Church deprived of the Regium Donum, the latter getting twice as much as the former. The surplus was to be disposed of by Parliament for such public objects as it might determine. This was generous treatment for the state Church which had been so conspicuous a failure. Supported with an ample revenue, and by the whole power of the State, its business was to make Ireland Protestant and English. It succeeded only in intensifying their attachment to Catholicity and their hatred of Protestantism and England. In 1861, after the havoc wrought by the famine, the Catholics were seven times as numerous as the members of the state Church. There were many parishes without a single Protestant; and in a poor country a Church numbering but 600,000 persons had an income of nearly £700,000, mostly drawn from people of a different creed, who at the same time had their own Church to support.

Free State and Republic (1922–present)

Political map of Ireland.

The Roman Catholic Church has had a powerful influence over the Irish state since its inception in 1922 although that influence has diminished somewhat in recent decades. The clergy's influence meant that the Irish state had very conservative social policies, banning, for example, divorce, contraception, abortion, pornography as well as encouraging the censoring of many books and films. In addition the Church largely controlled the State's hospitals, schools and remained the largest provider of many other social services.

With the partition of Ireland in 1922, 92.6% of the Free State's population were Catholic while 7.4% were Protestant.[10] By the 1960s, the Protestant population had fallen by half. Although emigration was high among all the population, due to a lack of economic opportunity, the rate of Protestant emigration was disproportionate in this period. Many Protestants left the country in the early 1920s, either because they felt unwelcome in a predominantly Catholic and nationalist state, because they were afraid due to the burning of Protestant homes (particularly of the old landed class) by republicans during the civil war, because they regarded themselves as British and did not wish to live in an independent Irish state, or because of the economic disruption caused by the recent violence. The Catholic Church had also issued a decree, known as Ne Temere, whereby the children of marriages between Catholics and Protestants had to be brought up as Catholics. After the end of World War II, the emigration rate of Protestants fell and they became less likely to emigrate than Catholics - indicating their integration into the life of the Irish State.

Influence on Irish society

Ireland

Politics

In the Irish Free State, now Ireland, the church had a great influence on public opinion as it had supervised public education for about 90% of the population since at least the 1830s. Historically it was associated with the Jacobite movement until 1766, and with Irish nationalism after Catholic emancipation was secured in 1829. The church was resurgent between 1829 and the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1869-71, when its most significant leaders included Bishop James Doyle, Cardinal Cullen and Archbishop MacHale. The hierarchy supported the democratic and mainly non-violent Irish Parliamentary Party in the 1880s, and its offshoots, and the policy of Irish Home Rule in 1886-1920. It did not support the Irish republican movement until 1921, as it espoused violence, in spite of support from many individual priests, and opposed the anti-Treaty side in the Irish civil war. Despite this relative moderation, Irish Protestants were concerned that a self-governing Ireland would result in "Rome Rule" instead of home rule, and this became an element in (or an excuse for) the creation of Northern Ireland.

Major popular church events attended by the political world have included the Eucharistic Congress in 1932 and the Papal Visit in 1979. The last prelate with strong social and political interests was Archbishop McQuaid, who retired in 1972.

Education

After independence in 1922, the Church remained heavily involved in health care and education, raising money and running institutions which were staffed by Catholic Orders, largely because the new state remained impoverished. Its main political effect was to continue to run schools where religious education was a major element. The hierarchy opposed the free public secondary schools service introduced in 1968 by Donogh O'Malley, in part because they ran almost all such schools. Some have argued that the church's strong efforts since the 1830s to continue the control of Catholic education was primarily to guarantee a continuing source of candidates for the priesthood, as they would have years of training before entering a seminary.[11]

Health care

From 1930 hospitals were funded by a sweepstake (lottery) with tickets frequently distributed or sold by nuns or priests. On health matters it was seen as unsympathetic to women's needs and in 1950 it opposed the Mother and Child Scheme.

Morality and censorship

It helped reinforce public censorship and maintained its own list of banned literature which influenced the State's list. Divorce allowing remarriage was banned in 1924 (though it had been rare), and selling artificial contraception was made illegal. The Church's influence slipped somewhat after 1970, impacted partly by the media and the growing feminist movement. For instance the Health (Family Planning) Act, 1979 showed the ability of the Catholic Church to force the government into a compromise situation over artificial contraception, though unable to get the result it wanted; contraception could now be bought, but only with a prescription from a doctor and supplied only by registered chemists. In the 1983 Amendment to the constitution introduced the constitutional prohibition of abortion, which the Church supported, though abortion for social reasons remains illegal under Irish statute law. However the Church failed to influence the June, 1996, removal of the constitutional prohibition of divorce. While the church had opposed divorce allowing remarriage in civil law, its canon law allowed for a law of nullity and a limited divorce "a mensa et thoro", effectively a form of marital separation.

Northern Ireland

The Government of Ireland Act of 1920 acted as the constitution of Northern Ireland, in which was enshrined freedom of religion for all of Northern Ireland's citizens.[12] Here Roman Catholics formed a minority of some 35% of the population, which had mostly supported Irish nationalism and was therefore historically opposed to the creation of Northern Ireland.

The Roman Catholic schools' council was at first resistant in accepting the role of the government of Northern Ireland, and initially accepted funding only from the government of the Irish Free State and admitting no school inspectors. Thus it was that the Lynn Committee presented a report to the government, from which an Education Bill was created to update the education system in Northern Ireland, without any co-operation from the Roman Catholic section in education. Instead, in regard to the Roman Catholic schools, the report relied on the guidance of a Roman Catholic who was to become the Permanent Secretary to the Minister of Education — A. N. Bonaparte Wyse.

We hope that, notwithstanding the disadvantage at which we were placed by this action, it will be found that Roman Catholic interests have not suffered. We have throughout been careful to keep in mind and to make allowance for the particular points of view of Roman Catholics in regard to education so far as known to us, and it has been our desire to refrain as far as we could from recommending any course which might be thought to be contrary to their wishes.[13]

—Lynn Commission report, 1923

Many commentators have suggested that the separate education systems in Northern Ireland after 1921 prolonged the sectarian divisions in that community. Cases of gerrymandering and preference in public services for non-Catholics led on to the need for a Civil Rights movement in 1967.

Vatican II

In both parts of Ireland Church policy and practice changed markedly after the Vatican II reforms of 1962. Probably the largest change was that Mass could be said in vernacular languages and not in Latin, and in 1981 the Church commissioned its first edition of the Bible in Irish.

See also

Sources

  • Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church, Volume IV:Mediavel christianity. AD 590-1073..  

References

  1. ^ Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Early Medieval Ireland 400-1200 (London, 1995); T. M. Charles-Edwards, Early Christians Ireland (Cambridge, 2000); W. Davies, ‘The Myth of the Celtic Church’, in N. Edwards and A. Lane, The Early Church in Wales and the West (Oxbow Monograph 16, Oxford, 1992), pp. 12-21; Kathleen Hughes, ‘The Celtic Church: is this a valid concept?’, in Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 1 (1981), pp. 1-20; Kathleen Hughes, The Church in Early English Society (London, 1966); W. Davies and P. Wormald, The Celtic Church (Audio Learning Tapes, 1980).
  2. ^ Patrick Wormald, ‘Bede and the ‘Church of the English’’, in The Times of Bede, ed. Stephen Baxter (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), p. 207.
  3. ^ Richard Sharpe, ‘Some problems concerning the organization of the Church in early medieval Ireland’, Peritia 3 (1984), pp. 230-270; Patrick Wormald, ‘Bede and the ‘Church of the English’’, in The Times of Bede, ed. Stephen Baxter (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), pp. 207-208, 220 n. 3
  4. ^ Peter Brown, The Rise of Western Christendom, 2nd edition (Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2003), pp. 16, 51, 129, 132.
  5. ^ Woodhead, Linda. An Introduction to Christianity. (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 96.
  6. ^ MacManus, p 215
  7. ^ a b c "John Scottus Eriugena". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University. 2004-10-17. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scottus-eriugena/. Retrieved 2008-07-21.  
  8. ^ Toman, p 10: "Abelard himself was… together with John Scotus Erigena (9th century), and Lanfranc and Anselm of Canterbury (both 11th century), one of the founders of scholasticism."
  9. ^ Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical notes. Volume I. The History of Creeds. | Christian Classics Ethereal Library
  10. ^ M.E.Collins, Ireland 1868-1966, (1993) p431)
  11. ^ E. Brian Titley "Church, State and the control of schooling in Ireland 1900-1944"; McGill-Queen's Univ. Press, New York 1983.
  12. ^ His Majesty's Government (23/12/1920). "The Constitution of Northern Ireland being the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, as amended (Clause 5)". Government of Ireland Act, 1920. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1956. http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/politics/docs/goi231220.htm#1. Retrieved 2007-02-13.  
  13. ^ Morrison, John (1993). "The Ulster Government and Internal Opposition". The Ulster Cover-Up. Northern Ireland: Ulster Society (Publications). p. 40. ISBN 1-872076-15-7.  

Further reading

  • Anderson, Alan Orr, and Marjorie Ogilvie Anderson, eds. and trans. Adomnán's Life of Columba. 1961. Revised, 1991.
  • Cahill, Thomas. How the Irish Saved Civilization, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 1995
  • Charles-Edwards, T. M. Early Christian Ireland. 2000.
  • Clancy, Thomas Owen, and Gilbert Márkus, OP. Iona: The Earliest Poetry of a Celtic Monastery. 1995.
  • Colgrave, Bertram, and R. A. B. Mynors, eds. Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. 1969.
  • Curtis, Maurice. The Splendid Cause: The Catholic Action Movement in Ireland. Dublin, 2008.
  • Curtis, Maurice. Influence and Control: The Catholic Action Movement in Ireland in the 20th Century. USA, 2009.
  • De Paor, Liam. Saint Patrick's World: The Christian Culture of Ireland's Apostolic Age. 1993. Reprint, 1996.
  • Flower, Robin. The Irish Tradition. 1947. Reprint, 1994.
  • Hughes, Kathleen. The Church in Early Irish Society. 1966.
  • Hughes, Kathleen. Early Christian Ireland: Introduction to the Sources. 1972.
  • Kenney, James F. The Sources for the Early History of Ireland: Ecclesiastical, An Introduction and Guide. 1929. Reprinted, 1993.
  • Ó Cróinín, Dáibhí. Early Medieval Ireland, 400–1200. 1995.
  • O'Loughlin, Thomas. Celtic Theology: Humanity, World, and God in Early Irish Writing. 2000.
  • Richter, Michael. Medieval Ireland: The Enduring Tradition. 1988.
  • Ryan, John. Irish Monasticism: Origins and Early Development. 1931. 2d edition, 1972. Reprint, 1992.
  • Sharpe, Richard, trans. Life of St. Columba. 1995.
  • Walker, G. S. M., ed. Sancti Columbani Opera. 1957. Reprinted, 1970.

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