Who says pre-conciliar Irish Catholicism lacked a vibrant intellectual life?

David Lindsay actually, an English Catholic and staunch unionist (in respect of ‘Northern Ireland’, though seemingly not Scotland). He also charges Irish Catholicism with having been peasant-led and denies that Ireland was ever ‘really’ Catholic.

But what about this?

And that is just the tip of the iceberg…


Posted on February 8, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. David Lindsay is an English convert and quite eccentric. He seems like a nice chap, but I don’t think he means most of what he writes to be taken very seriously.

  2. Edmund, thanks. I wasn’t aware that he is a convert. He is indeed very eccentric and contrarian.

  3. Well done Shane in your exchange of views with David Lindsay. He sounds like the type of English Catholic who would have preferred Catholicism to have remained the preserve of an elite of aristocratic, recusant families, untainted by embarrassing Irish peasants. His dismissal of northern nationalists was typical and showed a complete unawareness of the realities of life here. The Northern minority has been up close and personal with visceral anti-Catholicism in ways that Mr Lindsay couldn’t even begin to imagine. His thesis that Ireland is just like England, except in matters of politics is full of holes, one of the biggest being that it was not like England in matters of religion either. It was also full of the type of simplistic thinking that he accused the Irish of indulging in, no Queen Victoria did not poison the potatoes, but if the famine had happened in the west of England would a million people have been allowed to die? In the great United Kingdom, all animals are equal but some are more equal than others. Sorry Mr Lindsay but ’twas ever thus.

  4. Thanks Brigid. Reading his posts on Ireland is a bit like reading The Tablet circa 1920, only he has a marked tendency to repeat himself (by recurrently copying and pasting from his previous posts!).

  5. For readers interested in my exchanges with David:


    I really look forward to him furnishing me the source for his quote of John Paul II condemning “the use of force by Irishmen, overwhelmingly Catholic Irishmen, against the continuing British presence”.

    As also his claim that “as a proportion of the Catholic population, there are now far more weekly Mass-goers in England than in the Irish Republic.” The Thirsty Gargoyle noted to me on Twitter: “@LOcculta @rareauldfool On Maynooth, he thinks it was great that the crown allowed it, while ignoring how it had previously banned such. On the famine he wholly ignores economic reality. And his point on survivors, while containing truth, is flawed. We’re descendants of survivors *and* victims. Oh dear. He’s even wrong on Mass attendance. Regular British mass attendance is about 25% among those self-identifying as Catholic, whereas in Ireland, iirc, it’s about 45%. Who’s publishing him. Vanity press?”

  6. As neither Irish nor English, I am constantly uneasy with such comment as “typical English Catholic” or “the famine”. Get over it and read my post of several weeks ago. I have met more prejudice here in Ireland in the press and in conversation than I ever have living in the South of America. One has to have rational discussions and not dissolve into old hatreds in order to forge new commonality. And, if Catholics cannot do this, there is no hope for the world. Do not answer this unless you read this. http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com/2012/01/land-under-fog-of-hatred.html

  7. Supertradmum, nobody castigated David as a “typical English Catholic” or made comments that could in any way be reasonably construed as anti-English. Indeed if I received any anti-English comments I would simply delete them. I do not tolerate racial or ethnic bigotry of any sort. (Unfortunately the same cannot be said for many English Catholic blogs — which are typically saturated in anti-Irish prejudice and venom.)

    The points about the Famine were in response to an earlier comment on it by David Lindsay, who introduced it out of the blue. I’m sorry you have encountered prejudice in your part of Co. Meath, though having lived in Ireland all my life, I can assure you that it is not typical – either of Irish Republicans, Irish Catholics or any other community in Ireland. Indeed to paint with such a broad brush surely runs the risk of succumbing to the same mentality of prejudice which you rightly excoriate in others.

  8. Its a part of the sorry history of these islands. After all most of brian borus descendants ended up on the british throne showing up the igorance of groups like the IRA,AOH,UVF and Orange Order that history of the british isles over the last thousand years has been a continuous civil war. Hearing stories about catholics supporting ulster unionism/loyalism due to the marxist/communist nature of the IRA, INLA, and the failure of a cohesive irish nationalism has stifled any chances of a united ireland in our lifetime.

    • Interesting comment but I don’t think it’s helpful to approach Irish history solely from British Isles parameters; I think we need a broader European perspective, if not a global one. Not sure how Brian Boru’s lineage impinges on Irish nationalism or Ulster Unionism.

      • no doubt irish secularists must wet themselves at english catholics supporting ulster loyalists because it gives them the excuse to say “catholic church is anti irish” diatribes in spite of the fact maynooth being set up by the british before not after the 1798 rebellion as is commonly believed

  9. I meant to say “before and not after the 1798 rebellion as commonly believed”

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