Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 4.djvu/643

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CULLEK


565


CULLEN


buildings to be appropriated for government purposes. Without a moment's delay the rector appealed to Lewis Cass, the United States minister, for the protec- tion of the citizens of the United States who were students of the college. Within an hour the American flag was floating over the Propaganda College. The mandate of the Triimivirs was withdrawn, and a de- cree was issued to the effect that the Propaganda should be maintained as an institution of world-wide fame of wliich Rome was justly proud. Thus through the Irish rector and the American flag the venerable college was saved from confiscation.

Dr. CuUen was promoted to the priniatial See of Armagh on 19 December, 1S49, and was consecrated by the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda at the church of the Irish College, Rome, 24 February, 1850. A wider field was assigned to his zeal and piety when he was transferred to the See of Dublin 1 May, 1852. He was elevated to the cardinalate as Cardinal Priest of San Pietro in Montorio in 1867, being the first Irish bishop on whom that high dignity was ever conferred.

The first great duty which as Delegate of the Apos- tolic See devolved on the newly appointed Archbishop of Armagh was to convene the Synod of Thurles (1850), the first national synod held with due public solemnity in Ireland since the beginning of the Refor- mation period. The main purpose of the synod was to restore the vigour of ecclesiastical discipline in Ire- land, and this was in the fullest measure attained. Twenty-five years later, CarcUnal Cullen, once more as Apostolic Delegate, presided at the national synod held at Maynooth in 1875. This second synod added a crowning grace to the manifold blessings that had accrued to the Irish Church from the First Plenary Synod. Throughout his episcopate it was his most an.xious care to check proselytism, to promote the beauty of the House of God, and to multiply institu- tions of enlightenment, charity, and benevolence. In all this his efforts were admirably seconded by the clergy and the various sisterhoods whose devotion to the sacred cause of religion was beyond all praise.

He was particularly intent on bringing the blessings of religious education within reach of the poorest Catholics in the land. The .system of national educa- tion adopted by the Government for Ireland in 1832 was a great improvement on the proselytising systems hitherto carried on by anti-Catholic agencies receiving govenunent aid. The working of the system, how- ever, was for many years practically left in the hands of the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin (Dr. Whately) and his Presbyterian ally. Rev. James Carlile, both of whom were imceasing in unscrupulous efforts to make it an engine of attack on the Catholic faith of the Irish people. Dr. Cullen from the beginning of his episco- pate till its closing hour never relaxed his endeavours, on the one hand to counteract those proselytising agencies and to remove all dangers to the faith of the Catholic children, and on the other to bring gradually the literature and methods of the system into harmony with the national traditions and soci.al requirements of Ireland. His evidence on the national system of edu- cation in Ireland, given before the Earl Powis' Royal Commission in 1809, has been pronounced by experts to be a most complete statement of the Catholic claims in the matter of primary education. The national system of to-day is no longer what it was in 1849, and almost all the improvements that have been made are on the lines suggested in the evidence of Cardinal Cullen.

From the first days of his episcopate Archbishop Cullen had set his heart on the erection of a Catholic university for Ireland. The project w.qs hailed with enthusiasm by the Irish race at home and abroad, and the beginnings of the institution in Dublin gave [jrom- ise of success. Countless difficulties, however, arose over which the Archbishop had no control, and hence the Catholic University of Ireland was attended with


only partial success (see Ireland). Throughout his whole episcopate he continued to extend his patronage to it. He used often to repeat: " No one can question the justice of Ireland's claim to a Catholic Univer- sity". Even when its fortunes were at the lowest ebb, he would say: "We must keep the flag flying", being assured of final triumph. Another project most dear to him was a diocesan seminary for Dublin. The great ecclesiastical College of Holy Cross which he erected at Clonliffe in the immediate suburbs of the city will long remain a conspicuous monument to his munificence and a crown of immortal glory to the holy prelate who raised it.

In political matters Cardinal Cullen was quite heed- less of popularity, and he made it a rule to support every measure from whatever political party it came that he considered conducive to the interests of Ire- land. He condemned the Young Irelanders as sowers of dissension, and a source of ruin to the Irish cause. He highly esteemed the literary merit of many of the writers for "The Nation", but he felt so convinced that some of those connected with that newspaper were in the secret pay of the British Government that he would have no comniimication with them, and he regarded them as the worst enemies of Ireland. For the same reasons he relentlessly opposed the Fenian movement. It was his constant endeavour to bring together all the friends of Ireland so as to form a united phalanx in order to redress by constitutional means the wrongs of centuries and thus lift up Ireland from her oppressed and prostrate condition. His pol- icy was attended with success. The Protestant Church in Ireland was disestablished, the condition of the poor in the workhouses was ameliorated, the Industrial Schools' Act was passed, the laws affecting land tenure were amended, and in many other matters victory after victory crowned the constitutional campaign of Ireland's friends.

One of the accusations most frequently repeated to stir up popular prejudice against the cardinal was to the effect that he was a frequent visitor at the vice- regal castle in search of favours for himself or friends. As a matter of fact the only such ^dsit he paid wjis toward the close of 1867. The Fenian leader, General Thomas F. Burke, had been sentenced to death and every effort to obtain a reprieve had been made in vain. He had fought with distinction in the Civil War of the United States, and the British Government was determined to deter other skilled military leaders from enlisting their services in aid of the Irish cause. The orders for execution from London were peremp- tory. The scaffold was already erected and the next morning General Burke was to be hanged. Through information received from the Archbishop of New York and other American friends the cardinal was convinced of the iipright character of the accu.sed who had been betrayed by false reports to engage in the Fenian enterprise, impelled by the sole motive of love of his native land. At noon on the vigU of the day fixed for the execution, the cardinal accompanied by his private secretary and Monsignor Forde, his vicar-general, set out for the viceregal castle on the forlorn errand to obtain a reprieve for the brave man. The interview with the viceroy lasted for more than an hour. The cardinal on personal grounds justified his right to be heard in the case, since none had in public or private more strenuously opposed Fenianism than him.self. He insisted that the execution of such a brave man would only add fuel to the flame, while the exercise of clemency would serve to open men's eyes to the recklessness of the whole Fenian enterprLse. The viceroy listened to the cardinal's reasoning with due respect, but at the same time was quite inexorable. He telegraphed, however, the whole matter to head- quarters in London. Late at night the response came. The reprieve was granted and the life of the brave man was spared. This was the first and last visit of Cardi-