Catholic Nationalism in the Irish Revival: A Study of Canon by R. Fleischmann

By R. Fleischmann

Canon Sheehan's writings supply invaluable perception into Ireland's tough strategy of cultural reconstruction after independence. This astute observer of Irish society used to be pessimistic concerning the way forward for faith. notwithstanding himself a guy of eu tradition, he made a case for isolationism to develop into fact below the unfastened nation. it's a case which this present day is well scorned - yet his paintings permits us to appreciate why it could possibly command such help, and to understand its relative old justification.

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But he had that spirit, and his novel brought him an admirer who opened up new literary prospects. The editor of the American Ecclesiastical Review, Herman Heuser, an American Jesuit, came across the book when he was travelling in Europe, and immediately invited the author to write for his journal. 53 Canon Sheehan had been working on just such a book. The result was My New Curate, which was published in serial form in 1898 and 1899 by the American Ecclesiastical Review. It was a resounding success, and Heuser arranged for Longmans to publish it in book form in 1900.

Canon Sheehan notes that the ruin now belonged to 'the Celto-Catholic Barrys' and that the secretary of the Land League inhabited a cottage under the walls. The panorama closes with explanations of three place names going back to pagan times: Bally-na-dree, the town of the druids, Croagh na Cree, famous in ancient Ireland for its sulphur cures, and Satlron Hill, so called because of the acres of crocuses that used to grow there, from which the people got the saffron dye for their garments. Canon Sheehan's interest in his parish was also of a very practical nature, and decisive reforms were undertaken there on his initiative during the first decade of the century.

Horace Plunkett, however, advocated it as an intrinsic element of genuine toleration of the religion of the majority: The Roman Catholic Hierarchy claim the right to exercise such supervision and control over the education of their flock as will enable them to safeguard faith and morals preached and practised by their Church .... If we profess to tolerate the faith and religious system of the majority of our countrymen we must at least concede the conditions essential to the maintenance of both the one and the other, unless our tolerance is to be a sham.

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