Category Archives: Cardinal William Conway

The Revolution Triumphant: Cardinal William Conway says Vatican II Invalidates Old Paternalism


The following speech was given by Cardinal William Conway, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland, at the annual prize-giving in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth on the 19th June, 1966:

Today and for a long to come much of the life of the Church will be dominated by the teaching and decisions of the great Vatican Council which has just been concluded.

It is often said that the Council was the Church adapting herself to the conditions of a changing world.

I believe that the changes which have taken place in the world in recent years, dramatic though they be, are but a foretaste of a profound transformation of human society and human thought which has only just begun and which may take anything up to a hundred years to work itself out.
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The Revolution Triumphant: Irish Hierarchy’s June Meeting, 1966


The following press release was issued by the Irish hierarchy following their meeting at St. Patrick’s Maynooth on the 21st-22nd June, 1966:

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MAYNOOTH

The Second Vatican Council has called for the development of Catholic University facilities, especially in the sphere of philosophy and theology, in order to show the harmony of Christian teaching with true human culture and scientific development, and to provide all priests, religious and laity with the fullest opportunity of Christian formation.

The Irish bishops at their June meeting have had under consideration how this development could be secured in this country, and propose to develop Maynooth as an open centre of higher studies, and to extend its facilities and courses so as to meet the requirements, not merely of priests, diocesan and regular, but also of brothers, nuns and laity.
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The Revolution Triumphant: Irish Hierarchy’s June Meeting, 1965


The following press release was issued by the Irish hierarchy following their meeting at St. Patrick’s Maynooth on the 22nd-23rd June, 1965:

Among the matters discussed were:

SACRED LITURGY

In addition to proposals for more extensive use of the vernacular, draft texts of the “Prayer of the Faithful” and of the funeral service also were considered, and were referred to the Episcopal Liturgical Commission for revision.

A number of decisions also were taken to ensure the proper formation of the students of Maynooth in the doctrine and principles of the Constitution on the Liturgy. A Professor of Sacred Liturgy has been appointed and will pursue special studies at a liturgical institute before taking up his duties.

Liturgical actions in the college are to be carried out in conformity with the new liturgical norms. One of the oratories in the college is to be remodelled with an altar facing the congregation in order to familiarise the students with the new structure of the ceremonies.
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Liturgical Reform in Ireland



Many thanks to Jaykay for recounting his experiences of the post-conciliar liturgical reforms:

The new version came in from the first Sunday in January 1970 – at least in Armagh Archdiocese. That would have been Sunday 4th January. I clearly remember that the church was packed. We kids had got our new books just after Christmas (probably again in Woolworths!) and I recall that it was quite confusing as we hadn’t done any of the preparatory stuff in school before Christmas. Even the priests made loads of “mistakes” (and at that time it was still common for older priests to lapse into Latin if they got distracted e.g. to say “Dominus vobis… erm, eh… The Lord be with you…”). Nobody laughed in those days, of course! We had to learn the new versions of the confiteor and Domine non sum dignus (we were still told to strike the breast at the correct places – something me and some people of my generation still do) but otherwise the Ordinary was unchanged – until 1975.

Cardinal Conway was in charge and was quite conservative, so there was very little, if any, “creativity” on the part of priests.  Most of the older priests were also quite conservative so we still had loads of Latin Benedictions, 40 hours, confraternities etc. It really didn’t change until the 80s. It’s still not too bad in my neck of the woods, but the banality is everywhere  e.g. no incense at the main Mass on Easter Sunday and the usual flat, boring “let’s get it over with” attitude. No wonder the average age is about 50+!

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The Rise and Fall of the Catholic Church in Ireland


The following is an editorial from Church and State magazine (the organ of the old Campaign to Seperate Church and State), January, 2010:

The Age Of My Craven Deference Is Finally Over.” That was the headline on Professor Ronan Fanning’s article on the Murphy Report (Sun. Independent, 6 Dec.). Well, it was almost the headline. Fanning used the collective “our” rather than the personal “my”. But in the case of the Professor of Modern History at the chief College of the National University the personal and the collective merge. The Professor (singular) determines in great part what characterised the plurality of those who went through the educational system to its highest level.

It became well known to us long ago that the paid intelligentsia of the state were craven in their attitude towards the Church. They were sceptics in private but were cynically respectful in public, because they were craven.
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Irish Hierarchy’s Statement on the Introduction of the Vernacular in the Liturgy


The following press release concerning the implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium was issued by the Irish hierarchy from the Irish College in Rome on the 8th November, 1964.

The Irish hierarchy is happy to announce that the Holy See has approved, by a decree of 4th November, 1964, the decisions made by the bishops regarding the introduction of the vernacular, Irish and English, into certain parts of the Mass.

In accordance with the wishes of the Holy See the changes will be introduced in several stages in order to achieve as smooth a transition as possible in the ceremonies of this central act of Catholic worship.

The bishops are taking immediate steps to have printed texts of the approved translations available for priests and people, so as to permit the introduction of the first stage, where feasible, on the first Sunday of Lent 1965, when the important changes in the ceremonies of the Mass recently announced by the Holy See will come into effect.
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Patrician Year (1961): Bl. John XXIII’s Letter to the Irish Hierarchy


To Our Beloved Son
John Cardinal D’Alton
Archbishop of Armagh
And to Our Venerable Brothers
The Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland

Beloved Son and Venerable Brothers, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

Holy Church, founded by Christ Jesus to free mankind from death, shines throughout the world by her sanctity, is nourished by grace, lives by truth and, in the words of Saint Irenaeus, “as the sun, God’s creature, is one and the same in the whole world, so the light, which the preaching of truth is, shines forth in every place and enlightens all men” (Adv. Haer. 1, 10, 2; MG f. 552). This preaching of truth, Beloved Son and Venerable Brothers, is a special glory of your country — for through the centuries its distinguishing mark has always been: “peregrinari pro Christo”. Irish priests and religious, as is well known, from the coming of the Gospel message to their land, spurred on by the splendid example of Saint Patrick, your illustrious Father and Apostle, went forth and made their way through many European lands to bring them the flame of faith and an unconquerable zeal in winning souls for Christ.

The genius of your nation has won for the Church in Ireland imperishable renown and admiration among the many peoples who owe their Christian origin and development to the burning love of Irish Apostles and to their active priestly ministry. These Catholic people in themselves are a manifest and an eloquent testimony to Catholic Ireland’s missionary character; they show it forth to the whole world and add splendour to its titles to glory.
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