Category Archives: Irish History
Note: An Réalt (‘The Star’) was the Irish language praesidium of the Legion of Mary which was dedicated to recultivating Gaelic spirituality, culture and heritage. Regarding its activities in Wales mentioned on pg. 14, there is a very interesting article here on ‘Irish Catholics and the Welsh language in the 20th century’ which asserts that An Réalt “took a particular interest in the Welsh language. Many An Réalt members were fluent in the Welsh language, while others were learning Welsh in a 200-strong Dublin night class. During the 1950s a representative group led by Fr Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire* visited Wales annually, either to R.O.F. Wynne’s Garthewin estate or to the ‘Welsh Catholic’ parish of Gellilydan.”
*See his pamphlet Our Mass, Our Life: Some Irish Traditions and Prayers. See also The Integral Irish Tradition.
The Institute of Catholic Culture has a really fantastic collection of downloadable lectures on all things Catholic, with a particular focus on ecclesiastical history. I recently noticed two lectures by Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, President of Christendom College, on the Nine Years War, which was the most decisive turning point in modern Irish history and ended in English victory against the forces of Hugh O’Neill and Hugh Roe O’Donnell (and their Spanish allies), leading to the complete collapse of the Gaelic order, the Flight of the Earls and the Plantation of Ulster. You can listen to the lectures by clicking on the play buttons below or, alternatively, you can download them in MP3 format here and here. Dr. O’Donnell has also written a book on the topic: Swords Around the Cross: The Nine Years War: Ireland’s Defense of Faith and Fatherland, 1594-1603. I have not read it but it might be worth buying as a Christmas present. (The Amazon blurb presents it as “one of the few full-length treatments of the heroic struggle of the Irish clansmen in their effort to defend their faith and country against English encroachment and conquest in the sixteenth century. This book has infuriated establishment academics for its honest and thorough treatment of the Irish past. In so doing, the image of a “golden age” under Elizabeth I is dealt a serious blow.”)
My sincere thanks to Peadar Laighléis, President of the Latin Mass Society of Ireland, for kindly allowing me to repost his excellent article, appended below, concerning the crisis in the Irish Catholic Church. It was first published in the Sunday Business Post in 2001. He also sent me this helpful bit of background to the article:
I wrote this piece nearly ten years ago and at the time, I was annoyed I left one major source of discontent out. In the mid-1990s, the Bishops of Ireland transferred the feasts of Ascension Thursday and Corpus Christi to the nearest Sunday. This was calculated to please the laity and was greeted by the greatest outpouring of lay anger than anyone could anticipate which resulted in the dropping of the second phase of the programme fast (ie the transferance of the obligation to hear Mass on feasts falling on a Saturday or Monday to the Sunday – a ‘two for the price of one’ arrangement).
The bishops were surprised as they were led to believe that that was what the faithful expected. This was done through a process of consultation enthrusted to the clergy. The respondents were specially selected and they gave the correct responses. The problem was that these responses were totally unrepresentative. This attracted more correspondence to the Irish Catholic than any other single issue in David Quinn’s editorship.
Many thanks again to Jaykay for kindly sending me these extracts from a fascinating (and quite beautiful) hand Missal from 1968. Jaykay notes that
This was given to my mother in 1968, although as far as I recall she continued to mostly use her old 1930s one. It’s interesting in that it shows the transitional stage reached by 1968, including the ICEL translation of the Canon which remained in place, with only minor changes, right up until now. I can clearly recall that they introduced the acclamation after the consecration during 1969, which isn’t shown in this version. In those days it was just restricted to “My Lord and my God”. I’m pretty sure the last Gospel had also gone by that stage as well. I also can’t honestly recall whether they used the Douay Reims translations for the Epistle and Gospel, or whether a more modern translation was used but the versions of the Gloria, Creed and Sanctus with the “thees” and “thous” remained in place until 1975, when they went over to the (now happily obsolete!) ICEL versions.
The following letter from the Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, was read out in all the churches of the Archdiocese of Dublin on Sunday, July 9th, 1961:
Very Reverend and Dear Father,
I wish to thank you for your share in the success of the Dublin Congress of the Patrician Year. I am grateful for the spiritual preparation that you organised in your parish.
It is a duty, but very much more a privilege, to thank the Faithful for their most generous co-operation. The very great numbers of those who went to Confession and received Holy Communion are an immediate proof of the Faith with which our appeal was answered. The marked place in the Congress taken by young persons, boys and girls, is to me perhaps the most consoling feature of all the week, for where the youth are interested, the future is secure.
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Letter of Dr. David Kearney, Archbishop of Cashel, to the Irish College of Salamanca, 18th July, 1612
When I was over there among you [see here - shane], I gave you a full account of the state of this our native country, and of the troubles and dangers with which we are surrounded. These have since become palpable in the cruel death inflicted on our brother, the bishop of Down, and his chaplain, the 1st day of February of the present year, which we have already detailed to you.
At present the state of our affairs is very doubtful..We have ample evidence that a Parliament is about to assemble, and this makes us very uneasy, for we may expect nothing less from it than serious injury to our faith, as in all probability the votes of the perverse will outweigh those of the Catholics, so that they may decree what they like. Within our jurisdiction some wicked men and greedy officials have appeared, who will not pass even the miserable sacristans, who have scarcely enough to eat, but lay on them fines and taxes, which if anyone will not, or cannot, pay, or if he refuses the oath of the king’s supremacy, he shall get well off with the loss of his property and the privation of his office.
Some time ago, as I am credibly informed, there came to this country that deceptive and false bishop called Knox, who in the Isles bordering on Scotland committed such cruel acts on the Catholics, and intends to do the same here, and they assure me he has a commission of martial law from the king to hang, wherever he may find him, any priest or religious, without examination of cause, or the observance of the forms of law and justice.
They are busily employed in planting their colonies, as they call them, depriving the natives and rightful owners of their lands and possessions which they inherited from their ancestors from time immemorial to the present, and giving them to strangers and heretics without law or reason. Feeling these and other grievances, some inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood of Wexford, who are regarded as the most warlike people of the kingdom, and are skilful mariners, have put to sea in a well-found ship, to lead the life of pirates, and harass the heretics.
Come what may let our adversaries plot as they will we are determined to labour as God helps us, instructing our Catholics, and exhorting them never to consent to anything prejudicial to the liberty of the Catholic religion. In other secular affairs we do not mingle, but leave to God to employ His divine providence in behalf of the church when we do what we can.
This year has been one of prodigies here, for the summer has been very dry and hot, and it has twice rained blood in two different parts of the west of Munster. In the cathedral church of this diocese a great fall of snow occurred on the day of the Holy Ghost, though it was then exceedingly hot, and it fell only within the cemetery. May God grant it be of as happy omen as what fell in Rome when the church of Our Lady, St. Mary Major, was founded.
Monsignor Patrick Francis Cremin, Professor of Moral Theology and Canon Law at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, gave a series of interviews to the Irish Independent in November, 1978, denouncing the doctrinal turmoil in the Irish Church and the pastoral negligence of the Irish hierarchy. A theological conservative, Mgr Cremin grew increasingly disillusioned with the liberal drift of the Irish Church following the Second Vatican Council. In his interviews, Mgr Cremin was highly critical of the implicit endorsement given by the Irish bishops for the legalization of contraception, and what he viewed as their failure to uphold Catholic doctrine on sexual morality. Appended below is the section (abbreviated) on Maynooth seminary, where he was chair of both Moral Theology and Canon Law from 1949 until 1980.
Mgr Cremin had been appointed by Pope John XXIII as an expert to prepare for the Second Vatican Council and served on three of the Council’s commissions. He served as a peritus to Archbishop John Charles McQuaid and as an expert to the Irish bishops throughout the Council (as he did at the 1956 Maynooth Plenary Council) and was charged by the papal nuncio with giving the press conference on Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae to an unreceptive Irish media, following its release in 1968. He would later become involved in drafting the new Code of Canon Law.
Mgr Cremin was an instinctively obedient churchman but felt compelled to speak out as a result of concern expressed by laity and fellow-clergy and because he felt the situation in the Irish Church had deteriorated to the point of desperation: “It should go without saying that for one in my position it is quite distasteful to make a contribution that is necessarily critical of the conduct of ecclesiastical affairs by bishops, who, in communion and subject to the Supreme Pontiff, occupy the sacred office of rulers in the Church of Christ. But I am moved to make it because of the great seriousness of the matter in question.”
There is, first, the fact that the Irish Bishops as a body, and especially some of them individually, have not taken the necessary steps to protect our Catholic Faith and Teaching, by ensuring that, in Ireland, professional theologians and pseudo-theologians (and priests influenced by them) were not permitted to propagate with impunity doctrinal and moral teaching that was misleading or unsound.
(I) But they have been permitted, and at a time when our faithful people have become particularly vulnerable to the effects of wrong or confused teaching, since the valuable, indeed the indispensable, programme of catechetical instruction, that had to be covered, in a two or three-year cycle, by priests in their sermons at Sunday Masses, has largely been abandoned.
Moreover, this has happened at a time when such systematic instruction has become particularly necessary for the reassurance of the faithful, who are disposed to think right but are bewildered because of the absence of confirmation of their religious views.
The result is that nowadays our people receive little solid instruction and rarely hear of the commandments of God, or of sin and repentance, or purgatory and hell, or of some of the great Christian truths and devotional practices, such as the sacrifice of the Mass or the value of devotion to Our Lady, especially in the Rosary.
In addition the faithful, and particularly parents of school-going children, have the further anxiety of having to try to cope with the “new catechetics”, and its delayed presentation or dilution (or worse) of the truths to be believed or of the moral principles to be followed by those who are members of the Catholic Church.
(II) There is, secondly, the fact that the Irish Bishops have not taken the necessary measures, over the past several years, to save our national seminary at Maynooth from progressive deterioration and, as I believe, in certain respects near disintegration in vital areas of the life of the seminary and of the formation of the young men being trained in it for the priesthood.
One factor that has largely contributed to this has been the ill-conceived decision taken by the Bishops in 1966 to open our national seminary, in the way it was actually opened, to non-clerical students, including male and female lay students and nuns, without any proper planning or direction then or since, as far as protecting some seminary way of life and the proper formation of its resident clerical students was concerned.
I am not directly concerned here with the National University side of Maynooth College. As regards the seminary proper, things were just allowed to happen and happen, to the detriment of the seminary itself and therefore of the Irish Church, of which this national seminary had been the nerve-centre for more than a century and a half.
And the glory that once was Maynooth, especially in the English-speaking ecclesiastical world and in missionary lands, has vanished, perhaps never to return.
There has been no evidence of order in this seminary for many years, and I am not speaking here of order based on an application of the old strict Maynooth discipline. Moreover, there has been much evidence of disorder, and of lack of due respect for the standards of community living. In fact, when the infection discernible early on in our seminary was not dealt with, it inevitably spread to the point where disorder has gradually come to be taken for granted, and accepted by many as the “order” of the day.
Not only that, but there has been what rather incredibly appears to be a permitted policy of drift and of anarchy or absence of rule. And I am not speaking of authoritarian rule, but of the exercise of that rule which, as the Second Vatican Council emphasised, consists in service that consults the best interests of the individual and of the community.
These unwelcome facts — referred to only very briefly here — concerning our national seminary cannot be discounted by the whitewashing or window-dressing that has gone on, for a number of years now, on the part of some of those who, at the different level of administration and government, have had responsibility for the situation which the facts represent.
From time to time, in publicity exercises in the press or elsewhere, the public have been given to understand by some of them that “All, or nearly all is fair in the garden,” when in actual fact there is no longer any garden but something of a wilderness.
In a situation of this kind, no ordinary business concern could survive, not to speak of an institution comparable to Maynooth College, which is not just any institution but Ireland’s national seminary for the training of young men for the priesthood. But of course the question must be asked: Has our national seminary really survived, if survival is understood to involve the preservation of essential values and standards without which it is no longer what it was?
A tragic aspect of this situation is that those seminarians, who are seriously aspiring to the priesthood, are not receiving the full essential formation for which they came to Maynooth College, even though they are not only willing but anxious to receive it. Naturally they themselves or at least many of them do not even know what they are being deprived of, since they are not aware of what their formation should be. The students themselves, therefore, are the losers and the victims of the situation in the seminary, even without their knowing it.
After all, they did expect some challenge when they came to Maynooth College to be trained for the priesthood. But for that training the only real challenge ultimately is the practice of self-denial and the cultivation of the spiritual life. As a means to that end, some silence, some spirit of contemplation, some curtailment of liberty must be insisted upon, and must be accepted by those who are aspiring to become the official representatives of Christ, who appeals even to any ordinary follower of His to deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Him.
It is not really too surprising then, if, not finding the challenge they expected in some form of curtailment of liberty and self-denial, some clerical students who did appear to have a genuine vocation to the priesthood, have left the seminary in their early years through disillusionment. Neither is it very surprising if, by reason of the confusion to which they have been exposed in some of their theological formation, other clerical students have left the seminary only at a very late stage in their course — perhaps, unfortunately, too few such students.
How many, notwithstanding some theological confusion, have been accepted by their Bishops for priesthood without their complete theological formation being assured, only to add to the confusion of bewildered members of their flock?
Even if our national seminary were to be recreated tomorrow in some appropriate, sensible form, and enabled to rise phoenix-like from its ashes; the question would still have to be asked — how badly served some Irish priests have been who were resident seminarians at Maynooth College during the past ten years. Only the passing of time in their ministry can answer that question for them or for those to whom they will have ministered.
At this stage, the reader must be asking a question he may well have asked for the first time many years ago: What ever went wrong with Maynooth College? Since this question can be answered definitely only by the Bishops responsible for governing the College, and perhaps only by those of them with first-hand knowledge of its government since it was opened to non-clerical students in 1966, one can only speculate on the answer to it.
Is it, perhaps, that the Bishops who did perceive the early ailments and the progressive sickness of our seminary, and who had the will and the courage to try to remedy them, were just not able to prevail against those, maybe only one or two, who gave a bad lead and were supported by others? Certainly, in the recent abnormal and critical years, as never before in the life of Maynooth College, a lead was needed which would be courageous as well as enlightened and wise; or was this too much to hope for in the disordered state of the Catholic Church? The lack of such a lead has cost our national seminary dearly, and therefore also the Irish Church.
For how long more, under Providence, must Maynooth College, and those who are attached to it or concerned about it, suffer in this way?
Read this for an insight into a very different Maynooth (and a very different Ireland). Mgr Cremin is actually mentioned on page 91.
Cardinal D’Alton enters Croke Park on the final day of the Dublin Congress, 25th June, 1961
The following letter from Cardinal John D’Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, was read out in all the churches of the Archdiocese of Armagh on Sunday, 12th March, 1961:
In a few days time Ireland will begin the solemn commemoration of the fifteenth centenary of the death of St. Patrick. Here in St. Patrick’s own city of Armagh the Irish people, represented by dignitaries from the four provinces of the land, will give thanks to God for the Saint who came to us over fifteen hundred years ago and brought us the gift ‘more precious than gold,’ of the Catholic faith. On that day too, Ireland will be joined by Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops from all over the world who are coming to share our joy and to unite with the Irish people in giving thanks to God for all that He has done for Ireland through Saint Patrick and for the Church through Ireland.
Above all, the occasion will be crowned with the presence of the special Legate, His Eminence Cardinal McIntyre, whom our beloved Holy Father is graciously sending to us to preside, in his name, over the solemn ceremonies. The successor of Pope Celestine who, over fifteen hundred years ago, sent his missionary to pagan Ireland, to-day sends his own Legatus a latere to an Ireland which has remained faithful through the centuries to the words of her great Apostle: ut Christiani ita et Romani sitis.
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The following statement was issued by Cardinal Joseph MacRory, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, on 7th June, 1945:
Some days ago it was suggested to me by some of our Bishops that I should appoint a Day of National Thanksgiving to Almighty God for having saved our dear country from the horrors of war. Before doing so I thought it advisable that the members of the Standing Committee of the Bishops should be consulted, and it is only to-day that I have received the last of their replies.
All are strongly in favour of the suggestion, and I now appoint the 29th of June — the great Feast of SS. Peter and Paul — as the Day of National Thanksgiving.
Fortunately the Irish Government has just declared the 29th of June a Bank Holiday, and this will leave the great bulk of the people free to join in the religious celebration. The details of the devotions for the occasion will be arranged by the Bishops at their general meeting in Maynooth about the middle of the month and announced in due course.
The following statement was issued in 1955 by the Irish hierarchy at their June meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth:
The Catholic Hierarchy of Ireland, assembled at Maynooth on the occasion of their general meeting, express their deep sympathy with the great Catholic nation of Argentina in the grievous trials which it has endured during the last year.
Recalling the many links that bind our countries we ask our people to offer fervent prayers that God may restore peace, liberty of conscience and the tranquility of order to the Argentine Republic.
Given at Maynooth on 21st June, 1955.
Signed on behalf of the archbishops and bishops of Ireland.
Archbishop of Armagh,
Primate of All Ireland.
Bishop of Raphoe.
Bishop of Achonry.
Many thanks to Fr. Seán Coyle for these fascinating reminiscences:
Vatican II and the Church in Ireland:
The Irish bishops seemed to convey a sense of obedience: ‘This is what we’ve been asked to do so we’ll do it’. As I recall, they didn’t keep the people particularly well informed about the Council. Those who did were journalists as Kevin O’Kelly of RTE, Sean Mac Reamoinn [see here - Shane] and Louis McRedmond. All of these were committed Catholics even if the first two might have leaned towards the ‘liberal’ side’. This is not a negative comment. I’m not sure about Louis McRedmond, whether he was ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’. These were journalists of integrity.
My Dad was a daily Massgoer and a man of habit but I never heard him comment on the change. He was also a builder’s foreman and when the EEC, as it then was, introduced metric measures into building he took it in his stride.
In the Archdiocese of Dublin Archbishop McQuaid ordered that one Mass every Sunday be in Irish. Someone said to him ‘You are starting a revolution!’ He replied. ‘No, preventing a rebellion!’ Some criticised having a Mass in Irish. This used to raise my hackles as it was usually from the kind of person who had ‘always gone to the 9 o’clock Mass and I don’t understand this language’ and who would never consider the possibility of going to Mass at 7, 8, 10, 11 or 12! [see also: Liturgical Reform in Ireland - Shane]
The introduction of English Masses in one or two breac-Gaeltacht parishes has caused great controversy on occasion.
I was on duty that day outside Croke Park as a member of the Congress Volunteer Corps, a group of Fifth and Sixth Year students from Catholic boys’ schools in Dublin. I had just finished my Leaving Cert in nearby O’Connell Schools. You can see members of the CVC in the video. The uniform was simple: dark trousers and white shirt, which we provided ourselves, a beret – yellow for those without any special jobs and other colours for those with specific responsibilities – epaulettes and a stick. The stick wasn’t to beat anyone with but could be helpful in crowd control, indicating a line. One of the members of the CVC was the now Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
One memory I have of that morning is seeing Sean T. O’Kelly, then in retirement, Frank Aiken and one or two other older members of Fianna Fail getting out of a very modest car. They got a big cheer from those nearby. Sean T was a very popular man and gave a wonderfully entertaining talk at the National Stadium during the Congress. He had everyone eating out of his hand. [see also this delightful clip of President O'Kelly going to Mass and the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin on 17th March, 1950 - Shane] May they all rest in peace.
One thing I remember vividly was the 90,000 raising the roof with Credo III. I also felt an outsider, ( I don’t mean because I was outside the stadium) as I had never been taught it in 14 years in Catholic schools. The singing raised the hairs on the back of my neck.
The CVC, organised by the late Monsignor Tom Fehily, was formally disbanded by Taoiseach Sean Lemass outside Dublin Airport after Cardinal Agagianian flew back to Rome. However, it was soon to become the Archbishop’s Volunteer Corps that was to be involved in various projects in the Archdiocese of Dublin. It was later opened to girls. I’ve an idea that the AVC is no more but am not sure.
Some of us went on the Dublin Diocesan Pilgrimage to Beauraing, Belgium, that August, a wonderful experience. We were subsidised by the Archdiocese and paid only £5, which even in those days was a great bargain. We did ceremonial duty in Beauraing. The present Archbishop of Dublin was in the group that travelled.
Commenting on a previous post, Keiran Fagan also helpfully noted:
I was there too, only I had a red beret, as I was a “minder”, aide de camp Fr Tom Fehilly called it, for Cardinal Paolo Marella. It was a seriously cool gig for a 16-year-old, riding around in the front of a big Austin Princess limo, opening doors for the cardinal and making sure nobody, not even a reverend mother, got to put milk in his inevitable cup of tea. I saw up close John Charles McQuaid and Eamon de Valera who was totally blind by then. John Charles had three great cars, a Citroen Light 15 (Maigret had one) a Hudson Fluid Drive limo with eight cylinders I think, and a beautiful Citroen DS. I even got to sit in the back of Dev’s 1947 or 8 blue Rolls Royce ZJ 5000 while it was parked in the yard in Dublin Castle. Great times, but I don’t recall any religious epiphany moments. Says more about me than anything else I reckon.
Writing in 1974, John Feeney (the late journalist and editor of The Catholic Standard) described the Patrician Year Congress as the summit of Dr. McQuaid’s tenure as Archbishop of Dublin. Feeney was very much a Vatican II Catholic. At UCD he founded the ecumenical Student Christian Movement. He also became chairman of Pax Romana and leader of Grille, a left-wing Christian movement. As a leading Catholic radical, Feeney had reason more than most to resent McQuaid’s conservative views. Nevertheless in a critically sympathetic biography, he gives a largely positive assessment of the archbishop’s legacy and challenges some of the lazy caricatures then being propounded by vituperative critics.
Feeney contrasts the pre-revolutionary tranquility that characterized the Patrician Year celebrations in 1961 with the post-conciliar chaos soon to emerge. He believed that the Irish Catholic laity and hierarchy were deeply attached to the old order and were ‘oblivious to the vast changes in the whole world outlook of Catholics which was to come’: “There was little evidence after the election in 1958 of Pope John that the nature of Catholicism would change greatly…matters were much the same as ever for the majority of Irish Catholics. They had a saintly, loveable Pope who commanded respect but there was little understanding of the new thinking he was initiating…almost three years after the election of Pope John, there seemed to be little change in Dublin…the success and triumphs of the 1950s continued.” The faithful, Feeney asserts, responded enthusiastically to the Congress with “a mixture of nationalism, religious fervour and civic pride” and he quotes the pious report of the Irish Catholic Directory: “A majestic carillon pealed, a silver-voiced fanfare of military trumpets sounded in Royal Salute, ninety thousand lips moved in silent prayer.” For Feeney, the Patrician Year celebrations give “a glittering bejewelled spectacle of Catholic life just before the Council — it was a garden party before the outbreak of war, before the realities of the Church in the world impinged too strongly on Ireland.”
My Lord Cardinal,
Had I listened only to the promptings of my heart I should long since have responded to the cry of anguish and alarm sent forth by you a year ago on behalf of your country; I should have given expression to my fraternal sympathy and ardent good wishes to your Eminence and to your venerable brethren the Bishops of Ireland.
France, Catholic France, true to her natural instinct of generosity towards suffering, has always loved Ireland. Yes, we love the Irish race, so great amid trial, so obedient to the voice of its spiritual guides, and in spite of its long-drawn-out martyrdom so firm in its trust in Divine justice.
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Monsignor Dominique Castellan, Archbishop of Chambéry, sent the following letter in January, 1921, to Michael Cardinal Logue, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland:
At a moment of sorrow for the Church of France you have been good enough to incline yourself towards the poor diocese of Digne, and to come to the help of its priests and its Bishop. Ireland suffers today cruelly. The fires and the murders ring sorrowfully in your soul of a pastor and a father, but France has always loved Ireland. It would be shameful if in the present trial of Ireland the heart of France though itself fettered by a political alliance, and if the voice of her commiseration, cautiously suppressed, were not lifted in favour of your bruised nation.
I remember O’Connell and Lacordaire. I remember your heart so tender for all those who suffered and, even if I were to find myself alone I am anxious to raise my voice to address to you, pastor and father of Ireland, the testimony of my sympathy for you and for your people.
The Most Rev. Joseph Walsh, Archbishop of Tuam, concelebrating Mass on the 8th September, 1966, at Ballintubber Abbey, on the occasion of the Abbey’s 750th anniversary.
Dignitaries of Church and State were abundantly present at Gormanston Castle, 18th November, 1956, to mark the blessing and dedication of the new Franciscan school, commemorating the tercentenary celebration of the death of Luke Wadding. The President of Ireland, Seán T. O’Kelly, was accompanied by his aide-de-camp, Col. O’Sullivan, and inspected a Guard of Honour from Gormanston Military Camp. Both the President and the Irish premier, John A. Costello, were greeted by the Rector of the College, Very Rev. Felix Butler, O.F.M., and the Provincial, Very Rev. Hubert Quinn, O.F.M.
Pontifical High Mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Meath, who also blessed the foundation stone. Other prelates in attendance included the Apostolic Nunio, the Primate of All Ireland, the Bishop of Raphoe, and the Bishop of Kokstad.
Those present at the ceremonies included General Richard Mulcahy, Minister for Education, General Seán MacEoin, Minister for Defence and Éamon de Valera. State officials attending included Maj. General P. A. Mulcahy, Chief of Staff, and Daniel Costigan, Commissioner of the Irish police. Members of Waterford Corporation, along with members and officials of many other public bodies, were also present.
Cardinal John D’Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, opened the ceremonies with the reading of a letter from Pope Pius XII to those present, which is appended below. He then gave a glowing eulogy of Fr Wadding, paying strong tribute to his religious devotion and patriotic ideals. The Cardinal spoke admiringly of his having realised the desperate needs of the Irish Church at a time of extreme persecution and establishing the Irish Franciscans at St. Isidore’s College, “which holds cherished memories for so many Irishmen from its foundation down to our own day”. The Cardinal noted that three years after the foundation of St. Isidore’s, through the good offices of his friend Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, “he succeeded in establishing a college for the training of students for the secular priesthood and during its infancy watched over its destinies with paternal solicitude”. The Ludovisi College would develop into the Irish College. Cardinal D’Alton, through his own experience, could confirm that Irish College seminarians were always conscious of the deep gratitude and affection they owed to Fr Wadding, “one of the most illustrious of our exiles, who loved Ireland sincerely and served it unselfishly”.
Strong admiration was expressed by the Cardinal for Fr Wadding’s intellectual achievements. Having left Waterford as a boy, Fr Wadding was soon to win high distinctions in the universities of Portugal and Spain. He began his studies in philosophy and theology in Portugal before being invited to join the Spanish province. He became a lecturer in theology at the world-renowned University of Salamanca, which brought him into contact with some of the greatest theologians of his day, including Suarez. He quickly established himself as a leading intellectual and at age 30 was chosen by King Philip III as a theologian to the Commission sent to Rome to promote the doctrine of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception.
The Cardinal noted that “his literary achievements were acclaimed in every Catholic country in Europe. Two of his works, his monumental history of his Order and his masterly edition of Duns Scotus, would have sufficed to keep most scholars busy for a lifetime, but they were only a small part of the writings that came from his versatile and indefatigable pen.” (Indeed, Fr Wadding is still regarded as the father of the Franciscan Order’s history, and in 2007 the archive of the General Order in Rome was named after him.)
Cardinal D’Alton also noted his work on behalf of Irish interests, appealing to Catholic states in Europe for assistance, and also his diplomatic activities in Rome (see here: IV: ‘Work for Ireland’).
But ultimately, the Cardinal said, “his dreams for an Ireland liberated and resurgent were shattered all too soon. The failure of the Confederation, the departure of the Nuncio, a sad and disillusioned man, the death of Owen Roe [O’Neill], and the landing of Cromwell on our shores must have stricken that ardent patriot with sorrow and dismay.”
The following is the text of the letter from Pope Pius XII read out by Cardinal D’Alton to those present:
It is to the undying glory of the Irish people that, even in times of storm and distress, not only did they retain pure and inviolate the Catholic Faith which in times past they received from St. Patrick, but also that they produced sons without number, who, renowned for their reputation of learning and holiness, shed lustre upon religion and upon their motherland. Justly and rightfully in the number of these is counted Luke Wadding, the glory and pride of the Franciscan Order, whose memory it is your wish to honour with due meed of praise on the tercentenary of his death.
We know the many services which he performed for the benefit of the Church, nor are We ignorant of the great force of his example as a further incentive to virtue, either among the members of his own Order or among your fellow citizens. There, at this auspicious and fitting time of rejoicing, We desire with a father’s heart, to be present with you by this letter, which, by God’s favour, may enhance the joy of the tercentenary celebration and increase its fruits. When We recall his life and his achievements there seems to live again before our eyes that wonderful zeal for the Catholic faith which was handed down by your ancestors, and with which the greatness and the weal of the Irish people seemed always to be linked. Fully instructed, as he was, and strengthened in the Faith though only a boy, he did not hesitate to face the hardships of exile, since in his own country, at that time, religion had been brought to a hazardous pass.
Later, after his reception into the Franciscan Order, one can scarcely credit the number and the magnitude of the works at which he laboured and which he successfully concluded, on behalf of the Church, his Order and his country. Although Portugal and Spain, where he was eminent for his learning and sanctity, first nurtured and confirmed his resolution, it was Rome which, without doubt, gave fuller scope and vigour to his apostolic ardour and zeal. Witness to this are the many momentous tasks to which he was assigned by Our predecessors, the rare prudence he so admirably displayed in filling different offices, and, likewise, the high renown which his learning won for him, both through his researches into the history of his Order and the importance of the works which he published.
In a special way, however, love of country shone in him. In Ireland at that period, the enemies of the Catholic name were striving not only to dispossess the people of their civil liberties, but also to root the ancient Faith out of their minds: so, to the very end of his life, the man of God generously came to the aid of his oppressed fellow-countrymen by every means in his power. Thus he showed the effectiveness of love for one’s own country when it is joined with truly great love of God. Therefore, it is fitting to call to mind the twin colleges, of which Luke Wadding was the founder, erected in this gracious city, the one for students of the Franciscan Order, the other for secular priests as they are styled, destined all of them for Ireland. In this way, there was given to young men chosen from among your people the opportunity to drink deeply of the Faith of Rome and daily to foster and cherish more their loving respect and dutifulness towards the Roman Pontiff.
The results justified the expectations. Learned in the Catholic Faith, well grounded in doctrine and sound morals, many from that day to this, have left a life of ease for the heat and the dust and won golden opinions from the Church and their country by their outstanding intellectual gifts and their unrivalled example. Therefore, for many reasons, beloved Son, the Franciscan family, as well as the whole Irish race, will celebrate the tercentenary of the day on which death came serenely to that admirable disciple of the Patriarch of Assisi, that most devoted defender in your land of the Catholic religion, the untiring helper of the Roman Pontiffs, the exacting worker in the history of the Franciscans.
You have in him a noble pattern of the religious life. You have in him an admirable example of virtue combined with patriotism. Gaze and meditate on his example, and courageously imitate him. In answer to your humble prayers, may God, by his heavenly aid, grant that you may follow his example more and more closely in the daily duties of your state in life. Meanwhile as an augury of heavenly graces and as proof of Our paternal benevolence, We liberally impart the Apostolic Benediction to the dear people of Ireland, and expressly to you, beloved Son, and to the entire Franciscan family.
PIUS PP. XII
The Irish bishops resolved to send two letters to counterparts abroad during their October meeting in 1937 at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. One was a Reply to the Spanish bishops concerning their Letter on the Civil War in Spain (incidentally today is the 75th anniversary of that War’s outbreak), and another letter, appended below, to the bishops of the Church of New Zealand — one of the farthest-flung outposts of the massive ecclesiastical empire that was then Irish Catholicism.
At that time Catholicism was a very important factor in how the Irish seen themselves. Just as in the other traditionally White Anglo-Saxon Protestant countries (USA, Australia, Canada, Great Britain) Irish Catholic immigrants and their descendants in New Zealand faced considerable ethnic and religious discrimination. This, along with the Church’s extensive educational and social infrastructure, helped keep intact a cohesive Irish Catholic community, often maintaining a very distinct communal identity and cherishing its ties to the motherland. This is reflected in the mother-daughter style language of the letter and the response. (The recipient of the letter, Most Rev. James Liston, Bishop of Auckland, was himself a son of Irish Catholic immigrants and had given a controversial speech in 1922 on the Irish political situation, which caused uproar among New Zealand’s ferociously imperialist British Protestant population and provoked William Massey’s government to prosecute him for ‘seditious utterances’.)
We, the Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All-Ireland, and the other Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland assembled at our annual October meeting in Maynooth College, offer to your Excellency and to the Archbishop and other Bishops of New Zealand our felicitations and affectionate greetings on the occasion of the commemoration of the Centenary of the Church in New Zealand, and we thank you for your kind invitation to us to participate in the celebrations with which you intend to commemorate the first Centenary of the Church in your country.
This, indeed, is for you an occasion for much thankfulness, great joy and legitimate pride. One hundred years ago the faithful numbered but a very few scattered throughout your land; New Zealand was without her priesthood. To-day New Zealand has her Hierarchy, her very efficient and zealous clergy, her many flourishing Religious Communities of men and women, her well-equipped Catholic colleges and schools, her numerous well-instructed and faithful laity.
Greatly may you rejoice in the extraordinary changes brought about in this comparatively short period. Justly may you feel proud of the many labours and triumphs of that time, and especially those wrought by pioneers of Catholicity in your land.
As a mother participating in the triumphs of her children, we unite with you wholeheartedly in your rejoicings; for truly can it be said that the Church in New Zealand was begotten and nurtured by Irish faith and Irish missionary zeal. Our ancestors carried the faith first given them by St. Patrick to many parts of Europe, to England, Scotland, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
There are many epic tales of their self-sacrifice, their labours, their sufferings and their achievements in the cause of Christ; but we do not know any story that is more appealing or which better illustrates the marvelous fidelity and virtue of the Irish Catholic laity than that of Thomas Poynton and his heroic wife.
As your Excellency is aware, we in Ireland, quite recently celebrated a Centenary — the fifteenth Centenary — of the Catholic Church in Ireland. The success of our celebrations, in point of external manifestation, is a matter of world-wide knowledge. Less widely known, though more important, are the wonderful changes which these celebrations have wrought in the lives of many individuals and the lasting increase in knowledge and love of the Sacrament and Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist which they have effected amongst our people. That your celebrations may be similarly successful is our ardent wish and prayer.
His Grace of Tuam, Most Rev. Dr. Gilmartin, has consented to act as our representative and to take part with you personally in the celebration. Those of us who cannot be present in person will be with you in spirit during those great days, and we will invite our people to join with yours in imploring God to grant still more abundant graces to the Church in New Zealand.
With respectful good wishes to your Excellency and to the Archbishop and other Bishops, we remain, on behalf of the Irish Bishops,
Yours very sincerely in Christ,
+JOSEPH CARDINAL MACRORY,
The following reply on behalf of the Bishops of New Zealand was sent to Cardinal Joseph MacRory, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland:
The gracious letter that you have sent to the Archbishops and Bishops of New Zealand for our Centenary in the name of the Hierarchy of Ireland touches us deeply, and when it is made known to our people we are sure it will go straight to their hearts. We unite in offering this expression of our gratitude ex imo corde to Your Eminence and to the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland for your letter, your sharing in our joy, and the gift of your prayers.
In a very special way do we thank you all for the signal honour you are showing in asking His Grace the Archbishop of Tuam to be personal representative of our Mother Church. That favour and his presence will crown our joy.
With profound respect to Your Eminence, and cordial greetings to the Archbishops and Bishops, I am,
Yours sincerely in Christ,
+JAMES M. LISTON,
Bishop of Auckland.
The following letter was sent by Bl. Pope John XXIII to the Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, on the occassion of the Centenary of Holy Cross College, Clonliffe (then the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Dublin):
The forthcoming celebration in your diocesan See, on the occasion of the Centenary of the foundation of the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Dublin is, to Our mind, entirely fitting and opportune. For if a Seminary, by reason of its object and its importance, has always been regarded by this Holy See as illustrious and worthy of veneration, it is indeed suitable that this Seminary, bearing the title of the Holy Cross and so distinguished in its beginnings and in its achievements, should be acclaimed.
The foundation of the Seminary in the year 1860 was the work of a most distinguished and eminently praiseworthy man, Paul Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin, and former Rector of the Irish College and of the Roman College of Propaganda, who was raised to the Cardinalate by Our Predecessor, Pius IX, of happy memory, in recognition of his magnificent services on behalf of the Chair of Peter and of the Universal Church. He thought it wise to link the College, which was destined for students of Philosophy and Theology, to the Catholic University, which he had established six years before to the great benefit of the whole of Ireland.
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The following pastoral letter was issued by the Most Rev. Daniel Cohalan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, on 1st April, 1954:
Passion Sunday, 4th April, has been set apart by the Church as a day of special prayer for the clergy, religious and many millions of our fellow-Catholics in Eastern Europe and in other countries under Communist control who are enduring persecution for the Faith and reduced to silence.
A bond of union exists between all the members of the Church under Christ as their Head. We should try to make next Sunday, therefore, a worthy manifestation of that spiritual solidarity between all members of the Mystical Body of Our Redeemer.
Think of Catholic Poland, so often compared to Ireland: of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, the other Balkan states; the Baltic states, China, etc. now under the domination of atheistic Communism, with their Bishops often arrested and perhaps taken away to an undisclosed prison; their children taught that there is no God and discouraged from going to Mass or the Sacraments.
Let us pray God, therefore, through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, to give these Catholics (estimated at a hundred million souls) who groan beneath the iron heel of Communist tyranny, strength to bear witness to Christ and His Church as well as consolation in their trial.
Our fathers in the faith here in Ireland were arrested, imprisoned and often condemned to death, so we can understand and sympathise with our fellow-Catholics who are suffering persecution in our own time. The customary trumped-up charges of high treason, espionage, illegal currency dealings, etc., are merely the common formula of indictment against anybody who is obnoxious to a Communist Government.
I ask the clergy and faithful people of the Diocese to pour out their souls in fervent prayer on Passion Sunday on behalf of our suffering fellow-Catholics.
Let each of us try to be as ardent in the cause of Christ as Communists are in attacking God and religion. And in general, let us all try to appreciate the dangers which threaten our Christian civilization and the urgent need of assistance from God if the catastrophe is to be averted.
I authorize the priests to offer up prayers, hold Holy Hours, special devotions, etc., for the intentions of the Catholics who are suffering for the Faith.
Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.
Encouraged by the confidence I have in your Catholic Majesty, I have dared to speak more freely than perhaps I should have done, but I trust your Majesty will excuse me, as the business is of such importance.
I understand that the English, after having done us all the harm they could, wish to make peace with your Majesty, which is with no other intention than that they may be able, after the peace is concluded with your Majesty, to treat us more freely by doing all the mischief they wish against us. These injuries, which will be felt by all in general, will be more terrible for myself, because our chieftains have had great confidence in your Majesty, and I have written many times encouraging them to resist the English, assuring them that your Majesty would not fail to send assistance, as I was told by the Cardinal and other men of high position in the name of your Majesty. We have refused on this account, many times, the pardon the English have offered us for the past, telling us to enjoy our goods and lands as before, on condition we would be of their opinion, and recognise Her Majesty as Sovereign and Queen.
Neither can your Majesty conscientiously refuse to send us some assistance in virtue of the promises made through me by your Majesty, and that without delay, as we have already been kept in suspense for one year and three months; for, you must hold in mind that your Majesty is the Catholic King, having received that name from your ancestors for the increase of Catholic faith, by favouring the cause of Catholics. In, the same way as the Queen of England has favoured and favours the rebel heretics in France, your Majesty can, in an underhand manner, send some assistance to our chieftains, in arms and men, under pretence of their going to Holland, who, contrary to your will, or for some other cause, should go to Ireland.
Your Majesty has now a good opportunity for so doing, by taking advantage of the arrival of that Englishman, Thomas Stukely, who has received such insults from his own countrymen that he will not fail to do them all the harm he can. He is a very daring man, clever in war matters, in which he has been engaged most of his life. He is well acquainted with our own country, its forts, its harbours. I have been informed that he has brought with him experienced mariners from all parts of Ireland. This is the most favourable season in the year, because now our land abounds with good corn and meat, much more than at other seasons of the year; besides if your Majesty does not send some succour within three months, the English will take such hold of our forts and harbours, that even if your Majesty were to make use of all your power, you would not overcome them. I mention this, because I have been informed that the English are making great preparations, and are endeavouring to take possession of the whole country, and to keep it in such subjection that the natives shall no longer be able to make any resistance as they have hitherto done in some places. If the English succeed in their plans (which God forbid), your Majesty will have the worst enemies whom you have ever known. All this your Majesty can prevent now, with the assistance of a few men, by being the first to take possession of the ports and fortresses. The whole success depends on celerity, for your Majesty will be able to do with 10,000 men, and a little expense, what you will not afterwards be able to accomplish with 100,000 men and all available power. If perchance your Majesty is not satisfied with my embassy, or doubts lest perhaps those who sent me should not keep their word, let your Majesty send some one with me to my country, and I shall make those chieftains place their fortunes and estates under your Majesty’s jurisdiction by oath, or give any security required by your Majesty until they fulfil what they have promised. If it does not please your Majesty to send prompt assistance, as I was promised by the Cardinal and other noblemen in your Majesty’s name, I request your Majesty to grant me the favour of allowing me to return to my native land, that thus I may discharge my conscience of the great weight I have from the Church, and apologise to my brethren for my delay, by testifying my willingness to die for the Catholic faith, and for the liberty of my country, as much as each of them does. My remaining here would only serve to increase the expenses of your Majesty, without any benefit to myself or my country.
The humble servant and chaplain of your Majesty,
by Brendan Clifford,
Labour & Trade Union Review, No. 11
If Britain had, like the United States, citizenship tests for immigrants, the basic test as to whether an immigrant had caught the British spirit should be the answer to the question: Do you accept that the right to blaspheme is an inalienable human right?
Societies flourish in connection with their communal piety. Britain is the first society which has flourished through impiety.
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Below is the introductory foreword in the inaugural issue of The Furrow from 1950. The author is the editor and founder of The Furrow, Canon J.G. McGarry, then Professor of Sacred Eloquence and Pastoral Theology at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Accompanying this foreword was an article warmly commending the editor’s programme by the Most Rev. John D’Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, along with a message of fraternal support from The Catholic Standard.
The Furrow is something new. It is new in the ground it opens. Many branches of pastoral work to which our times have given a special importance demand a fuller treatment — preaching, pastoral organisations, the liturgy, the Church, its art and architecture. And it is in such matters especially that theory needs to be confirmed and corrected by practice. The pooling of experiences in varying conditions of work and the exchange of views on new pastoral methods are means hitherto little used, yet they can give valuable help to all who are charged by God to keep His field.
A new opportunity is offered in The Furrow for the sharing of such experience. Moreover, recent years have given evidence of an increasing interest in writing on the part of our younger priests. Life in the priesthood and Christian culture offer to such young writers rich and fertile themes, opening to them a new way of serving the Church, its faith and civilisation. The Furrow will consider it a point of duty to support and encourage such writers.
In pursuing these aims The Furrow will be guided by the mind and spirit of the Church. Obedience to the Vicar of Christ and to His bishops, whom the Holy Ghost has appointed to govern His flock, will be the corner-stone of its policy. But besides this higher allegiance there is place, too, for a special, domestic loyalty. Reverence for the traditions of the Irish Church and pride in its distinctive way of life must be an influence upon the policy of any Irish Catholic review. For us this reverence is more than an influence. Our past is our special glory: Kells and Cashel, Cong and Glendalough are a rich inheritance, challenging their heirs to high endeavour, to call forth new treasures from old.
How frequently Christ speaks of His Kingdom as the field — the field that is sown with good seed and bad, field of the hidden treasure, the field challenging the ploughman’s courage and persistence! Only the tiller of His field does not work alone; the sower needs the weeder’s help, the ploughman is nothing without the reaper. To all who work in that field the call is to come and share with their fellow-workers the labours of the harvest, to be men of His meitheal.
Yet co-operation alone is not enough. “We are God’s workmen; you are His field,” St. Paul writes to his Corinthians. But the workman counted for nothing, neither Paul who sowed, nor Apollo who watered. The harvest was the gift of God alone.
May He who gives the harvest prosper this sowing.
Interesting article in the Irish Independent by David Quinn (h/t jaykay):
If you were to ask a member of the public about the Magdalene Laundries they would probably tell you one or other of these three things.
First, the Magdalene homes were a Catholic invention. Secondly, they were an invention specifically of Catholic Ireland. Third, they were established to punish unmarried mothers for having had sex outside marriage.
None of these three ‘facts’ are true. Instead they belong to something called ‘Myth-History’, that is, a version of history that has been concocted out of parts of the truth and that suits a particular ideological point of view, in this case that Catholic Ireland was a uniquely cruel and awful place.
President Éamon de Valera gave the following address to Bl. Pope John XXIII when presenting the Holy Father with a replica of St. Patrick’s Bell and Shrine, on the occasion of the President’s visit to the Vatican for the closing of the Patrician Year:
Primam, quod sciamus, Sancti Patricii Campanae mentionem reddit commentarius pro anno 552 in veteribus illis fastis Hibernicis qui Annales intitulantur Ulidiae. Gadelice quidem scriptus Latine incipit ‘sic in libro Cuanach inveni,’ et hoc sensu vertitur — ‘Annis sexaginta post obitum Sancti Patricii reliquias scrinio imposuit Colum Cille. Splendidi thesauri tumulo inventi sunt tres, scilicet calix, Evangelium Angeli, et Campana Testamenti. Quae singula pro Colum Cille in hunc modum Angelus distribuit: calicem Duno, Campanam Testamenti Ard Macha, Evangelium Angeli ipsi Colum Cille. Angeli vero hac de causa nuncupatur Evangelium quia recepit Colum Cille de manu Angeli.’
Parum quidem compertum quomodo inventa sit campana, quidve Clocc in Aidhechta vel Campana Testamenti nominata; quin tamen revera sit antiqua ac genuina nemo dubitat.
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The Most Rev. Thomas Morris, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, issued the following pastoral letter on dancing on the 2nd September, 1960, and requested the organisers and promoters of dances in his archdiocese to observe the stated principles:
As my office imposes on me a special solicitude for the moral welfare of my flock, I consider that action is necessary with a view to introducing the following principles for the regulation of public dancing in the Archdiocese:
(a) that all dances should end not later than 1 a.m. Summer Time, while Summer Time is in force, and not later than 12 midnight during the remainder of the year;
The Cardinal Legate greeted by the Taoiseach and the Abp. of Dublin
The papal legate for the Patrician Congress, Cardinal Grégoire-Pierre Agagianian, was given a spectacular reception when he arrived in Dublin on Saturday, 17th June, 1961. Travelling in the Aer Lingus Boeing Jet Padraig he landed in Dublin Airport (profusely decorated in papal and Irish flags and emblems) at approximately 12.45 p.m.
In the Padraig’s Golden Shamrock compartment, which was reserved for the Legate’s suite and the Dublin escorting party, a special Decal of the Papal Arms was fitted to honour the Legate. After boarding the plane in Rome, he was greeted by Arthur Walls, General Sales Manager of the airline, with an illuminated welcome scroll in a polished oak case, bearing the inscription “CÉAD MÍLE FÁILTE”. Upon arriving off the Irish coast his plane was escorted by four Vampire Jets under the command of Commandant G. O’Connor. After the plane had been joined by the escorts, a special message of welcome from the Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, was flashed from Dublin Airport. As soon as the Cardinal alighted from the plane, the jet escort flew over the airport and dipped wings twice in salute. The papal anthem was played by the Number One Army Band and a 21-gun salute was thundered out by the 10th Battery of the 2nd Field Artillery Regiment from McKee Barracks under Captain Hugh McGrillen.
Upon his descent from the plane, the Legate was met at the bottom of the steps by the Archbishop of Dublin, who introduced him to prominent dignitaries, including the Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Seán Lemass, the Tánaiste [Deputy Prime Minister] Seán MacEntee, the Papal Nuncio, and the Minister for External Affairs, Frank Aiken.
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The Irish hierarchy issued the following statement in 1960 at their October meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth:
The Hierarchy propose to celebrate in 1961 the fifteenth centenary of the death of Saint Patrick, the most commonly accepted date for the death of the Saint being 461 A.D. The opening ceremony is planned for St. Patrick’s Day in the Primatial City of Armagh, so closely associated in Irish tradition with the life and work of our National Apostle. The ceremony will be followed, it is hoped, by other celebrations arranged by direction of the local Ordinaries, in places particularly associated with St. Patrick, such as the holy mount of Croagh Patrick, or noted as centres of especial devotion to the Saint, such as St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg.
Eminent dignitaries from abroad, especially from dioceses or institutions under the patronage of St. Patrick, will be invited to participate in the national celebrations. Invitations will be extended also to representatives of continental centres of Patrician devotion, and to representatives of countries evangelised by Irish missionaries.
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The Irish hierarchy issued the following statement in 1936 at their October meeting in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth:
We, the Bishops of Ireland, avail ourselves of the opportunity of expressing our profound distress at the sufferings inflicted on the Catholics of unhappy Spain.
We know how shocked and horrified our people have been by the brutal outrages on religion and humanity perpetrated by the Communistic faction there and how deeply they sympathise with that great nation in the tragedy of ruin and shame it has been made to endure at the hands of an infamous minority under foreign direction.
Spain at this moment is fighting the battle of Christendom against the subversive powers of Communism. In that fateful struggle it has, we believe, the prayers and good wishes of the great body of Christians throughout the world, and nowhere more than in Ireland, which is not unmindful of Spain’s kindness to our ancestors.
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The following sermon (posted below) was given by the Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, at thanksgiving devotions in the Dublin Pro-Cathedral on the 9th December, 1965. Following the devotions — which had been organized in response to the specific requests of Pope Paul VI — the Archbishop imparted Benediction, at which the Te Deum was sung.
The sentence quoted in the title is often represented by Establishment commenters (whether media, academic, or ecclesiastical) as epitomical of Archbishop McQuaid’s reactionary attitude towards change in the Church.
During the first session of the Second Vatican Council, Archbishop McQuaid distinguished himself as the only member of the Irish hierarchy to make a contribution — and did so from a predictably conservative standpoint. As a lover of Latin language and culture, he viewed proposals for an all-vernacular liturgy as tantamount to vandalism. He also expressed his opposition towards suggestions that competence over the local liturgy be transferred from individual bishops to national episcopal conferences. Xavier Rynne (the chronicler of the Council) records that “Archbishop McQuaid of Dublin came out once more against any thought of change”. Sensing the progressive trajectory of the Council (as well as the lack of receptivity towards his conservative positions) he remained aloof from the next three sessions.
Archbishop McQuaid took a low view of ‘aggiornamento’ and found it very hard to adapt to the rapidly changing Church of the 1960s. Indeed, he has been demonized ever since as an obscurantist authoritarian. His implementation of the liturgical reforms was very conservative, and frustrated more radical, younger clergy (some of whom would later defend his legacy against lazy liberal caricatures).
For five long years the bishops of the world have been sustained by your constant prayers. In the very laborious session of the Council we have felt the power of your prayers, and if the Council was concluded in a spirit of peace and unanimity we owe that grace to God the Holy Ghost and to the intercessions of Our Blessed Lady.
On Wednesday, 2,300 fathers parted. It was a sad moment, for we shall never again see one another in this life. Drawn from every corner of the world, the Bishops had prayed and worked together for a long time.
Now is our work completed: in union with the Pope, our decrees were drafted, voted on and preached. One could not but feel that God the Holy Ghost had guided our deliberations and gently brought them to a firm conclusion. You may, in the last four years, have been disturbed by reports about the Council. May I, who have assisted at every meeting of the Council, assure you that the Council was a wondrous example of dignity, seriousness and courtesy.
You may have been worried by talk of changes to come. Allow me to reassure you. No change will worry the tranquility of your Christian lives. For, time after time, Pope John XXIII and our present Holy Father have insisted — but the point has been sadly missed — that our deliberations in the Council had only one purpose: to search the deposit of the Faith, to look more deeply into the teaching of the Church.
The Council has one meaning only for us — in all its constitutions and decrees: how can each one of us in his personal and family and social life be faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, as the Church makes known that teaching in the Vatican Council.
As the months will pass, the Holy Father will instruct us gradually how to put into effect the enactments of the Council. With complete loyalty, as children of the one, true Church, we fully accept each and every decree of the Vatican Council.
(h/t Spirit of Vatican II: In Newman’s Wake: Ernesto Buonaiuti and the Development of Doctrine)
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 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 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:
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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