Billeder på siden

Paul Cullen, who was born in April, 1803, had been a student at the Roman Catholic college of Carlow in the time of Dr. Doyle ; and his peculiar gifts had not escaped the notice of that keen observer. He had subsequently taken up his residence in the papal city, where he soon attracted attention by his zeal, acquirements, and ability. The reason why he was selected as Archbishop of Armagh did not long remain a secret. Of late the state of Ireland had awakened much anxiety at Rome; the zeal of the Protestant missionaries was there duly reported; the course pursued by a number of the Roman Catholic prelates was considered too liberal and accommodating; and it was deemed prudent to place, at the helm of the Roman Catholic Church, an ecclesiastic of strict Ultramontane principles, skilled in that subtle and mysterious diplomacy which Jesuitism so much delights to patronize. The new archbishop was consecrated in February, 1850; and, a few weeks afterwards, a papal bull was issued authorizing the convocation of a national Synod. This Synod- the only one of the kind which had been held in Ireland since before the Revolution-assembled in St. Patrick's College, Thurles, County Tipperary, towards the close of the following August; and continued for a fortnight in session. It was attended by the four archbishops, twenty bishops, and a number of other dignitaries. Archbishop Cullen presided as delegate of the Apostolic See ; and was obviously the ruling spirit in all the deliberations. His object was to invigorate discipline, and inaugurate a course of ecclesiastical policy to which all the prelates would be expected to adhere. The Synod formally adopted the creed of Pope Pius IV., made various regulations relating to the administration of the Sacraments, enacted laws to guide the deportment of the parochial clergy and the conduct of the bishops, and passed resolutions pertaining to several matters of public interest-particularly the subject of education. It sat with closed doors; and its business was conducted with the utmost secrecy. Its decrees, drawn up

1 Fitzpatrick's Doyle, i. 450; ii. 146, 489.

2 As to the adroit management by which a majority was secured, see Caimes' Political Essays, 317-321. London, 1873.

in due form, were transmitted to Italy-where they obtained the papal sanction. As it marks the commencement of something like a new era in the history of Irish Romanism, its proceedings are entitled to special notice.

Since baptism, says the Synod, is "necessary to salvation,” it may be validly conferred by anyone. The parish priests should therefore see to it that all the faithful, especially the midwives, know the mode and form of its administration, that, in case of necessity, they may administer it properly. If anyone, not a Catholic, presents his children to a Catholic priest to be baptized, and there be hope that they will be educated as Catholics, by all means let them be baptized, but let a Catholic godfather or godmother be employed. Let the holy Eucharist be kept in faithful custody under lock and key. Lest the particles spoil by being too long kept, let the parochial clergy, and other priests who should attend to it, renew them every eighth day.3 In churches in which the holy Eucharist is kept, let at least one lamp remain burning by day; and, where it can be done with safety, by night. The mass is not to be celebrated twice on the Lord's Day, or on a festival day, without due permission. Masses are not to be celebrated after noon. The parish priests may keep the holy Eucharist in their own houses that it may be carried to the sick, where that is necessary and allowed. The chalices should be of gold or silver; or the cup at least should be of silver inlaid with gold. When mass is celebrated, not less than two wax candles should be burning.' Let the clergy keep clear of public balls, horse-races, hunts, and theatres.10 Let the dress of the clergy be always of a black or dark colour, so that, by means of it, ecclesiastics may be easily distinguished from all other men.11 Let no priest reside in a private house without the previous consent of the bishop.12 If a parochial house is in existence, it must not be pulled down, or very much altered, without the consent of the bishop.13 Parish priests must let it be known that all incur the sentence of excommunication who become Freemasons. No priest, for any cause, must inveigh from the altar against anyone by name. The coadjutors to the parish priests are to be chosen by the bishop, and to be removed by him from parish to parish.3 Their rights and duties are to be defined by the bishop.4 The bishop should, if possible, hold a diocesan Synod every year, in which should be published the statutes of provincial or national Synods. Irish bishops should go to Rome once every ten years, and give an account of the state of their dioceses. The bishops, in their visitations, should inspect the chapel in all its parts, and mark whether all things in it be orderly and neat; they should also see to it that there be no want of vestments, books, chalices, and other things required for divine offices; and that they be kept clean.7

1 Decreta Synodi Plenaria Episcoporum Hibernia apud Thurles, p. 18. Dublin, 1851.

4 Ibid. p. 22. 3 Ibid. p. 21. 2 lbid. p. 19.

7 Ibid. p. 23. 6 lbid. p. 24 5 Ibid. p. 25.

10 Ibid. pp. 30-31. 9 Ibid. p. 24. 8 Ibid. p. 24.

13 Ibid. p. 38. 1. Ibid. p. 33 11 Ibid. p. 32.

These rules are a specimen of the legislation of the Synod of Thurles in relation to matters of discipline and worship; but the subject of education seems to have chiefly occupied the minds of the assembled prelates. They were not satisfied with the national schools; and they recorded their judgment that a separate system of instruction for young Romanists would, in every way, be preferable ;8 but they were not prepared for the extreme measure of withdrawing the children from these seminaries. The schools had now been long in operation; and some of themselves had, in the most public manner, expressed their approval of them. Many of the national teachers, as well as the pupils, were of their own communion; and they doubtless felt that, by now attempting to cut the connection, they might overstrain their authority. They therefore adopted the more cautious policy of advancing certain claims which, if conceded, would give them almost absolute control over the national education. They agreed to insist that all books which contained anything adverse to Catholic doctrine must be removed from the schools ;' they expressed their conviction that, in ordinary school-hours, the teachers should not inculcate those fundamental truths of religion respecting which all sects are agreed;2 they protested against Romanists making over school-houses to the National Board, or permitting their children to attend schools taught by Protestant masters ;they required that the books employed to teach the ordinary branches of instruction must receive the sanction of the bishop of the diocese; and they urged most strenuously that a Protestant must not be suffered to teach history to Romanists.5

1 Decreta Synodi Plenaria Episcoporum Hibernia apud Thurles, p. 39. Dublin, 1851.

3 Ibid. p. 40.
3 Ibid. p. 42.

These coadjutors are assistants to the parish priests. See before, p. 396.

6 Ibid. p. 45. 3 Ibid, p. 45. 4 Ibid. p. 42.

8 Ibid. p. 55. 7 Ibid. p. 46.

The Queen's Colleges were founded on exactly the same principles as the national schools; but they were yet in their infancy; and the hierarchy assembled at Thurles believed that, with respect to them, they might safely venture on a more decided policy. The Synod passed on all these colleges a sweeping sentence of condemnation. We declare, said the prelates, that no Irish bishop should take any part in their management or administration. We prohibit priests and all other ecclesiastics from taking or retaining any offices in connection with them, whether as Professors or Deans of Residences. We declare that, on account of the dangers to faith and morals to which youths are exposed in them, they should be rejected and avoided. To provide for the sound education of Catholic youth, and to carry out the repeated advice of the Apostolic See, we deem it our duty to endeavour,

1 Decreta, p. 55.

? Ibid. p. 56. “Tutius multo esse ut literarum tantummodo humanarum magisterium fiat in scholis promiscuis, quam ut fundamentales, ut ajunt, et communes religionis Christianæ articuli restricte tradantur, reservata singulis sectis peculiari seorsum eruditione. Ita enim cum pueris agere periculosum valde videtur.”

4 Ibid. p. 57

5 Ibid. p. 58.

3 Ibid. p. 57 6 Ibid. p. 59.

? Ibid. p. 53. It would appear that the appointment of Deans of Residences was originally made “in compliance with the unanimous request of the Roman Catholic prelates.Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners. Minutes of Evidence, p. 248. Quest. 3,699.

8 Decreta, p. 53.

with all our might, to have erected, as soon as possible, a Catholic university in Ireland.

The decrees of Thurles were not adopted unanimously. Though the business of the Synod was conducted with great privacy, it soon oozed out that there had been considerable diversity of sentiment. Primate Cullen had contrived to secure a majority in favour of his views ; but he had met with firm and influential opposition. Dr. Murray, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, now upwards of eighty years of age, had, for nearly twenty years, acted as one of the Government Commissioners; and had often given his testimony unequivocally in favour of the national system ; other members of the Romish hierarchy had been almost as strongly pledged to its support; and it was not to be expected that these prelates would all at once give up their convictions, and concur in the policy of their Ultramontane president. Immediately after the rising of the Synod,4 the Dublin Archbishop and his adherents addressed a letter to the Pope, in which they fully expressed their sentiments. Dr. Murray assured Pius IX. that a number of his brethren with whom he had conferred on the subject, and whom he deemed most eminent for piety and wisdom, had, along with himself, arrived at the firm persuasion that it would be safer to tolerate the Queen's Colleges than to repudiate them utterly. The reply of the Pontiff was long delayed; but meanwhile the court of Rome formally condemned the Royal seminaries. When Pius at

1 Decreta, p. 54.

2 Professor O'Leary, himself a Roman Catholic, and Vice-President of Galway College, states in his evidence before her Majesty's Commissioners in March, 1857, that “the decree of the Synod of Thurles, by which Roman Catholic clergymen are prohibited from interfering in the administration of these colleges, was carried by a small majority.—Minutes of Evidence, p. 248. Q. 3,690. It has been alleged that there was only one of a majority.

3 He was born at Arklow, in County Wicklow, in 1768. Notices of his Life and Character, p. 53. In 1831, under his auspicet, the Sisters of Mercy made their first appearance in Ireland. Ibid. p. 119. He became coadjutor to Archbishop Troy in 1809.

4 The letter was dated September 11th, 1850.

6 Professor O'Leary states that “Dr. Murray was under the impression that the Pope would not ratify the decrees.” See Minutes of Evidence, p. 249. Q. 3,702.

6 Notices of his Life and Character, p. 202.

« ForrigeFortsæt »