Rome and Fenianism: The Pope's Anti-Parnellite Circular

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ROME


AND


FENIANISM.



THE POPE'S ANTI-PARNELLITE

CIRCULAR.


BY

W. MAZIERE BRADY.



LONDON:
ROBERT WASHBOURNE,
18, PATERNOSTER ROW.


1883.



T. G. WESTON, PRINTER,
12, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN,
LONDON, W.C.



ROME AND FENIANISM.




IT is said that the feelings of the Irish people towards the British government are now more bitterly hostile than ever. And it is remarked as strange that this bitterness should be so intense precisely at a period when the British government shows most sympathy with Irish complaints and the greatest disposition to remedy Irish grievances. This sympathy and this disposition found expression in the disestablishment of the Irish Protestant Church and the enactment of the Land Acts. By the first of these measures it was intended to grant full religious equality in Ireland, and, by the second, it was endeavoured to protect the tenants against the alleged rapacity of landlords. In effect, the Irish tenants at will or from year to year are now secured against capricious evictions; they can no longer be compelled to pay exorbitant rents; nor can the fruits of their industry and pecuniary expenditure be any longer confiscated to the exclusive benefit of the landlords. The demands of the Irish Catholics for a University have been partially granted, and steps have been taken to transform the National system of primary education, which was stigmatized as godless, into one which will be denominational. Nor are indications wanting that these large concessions to Irish and Catholic demands will be followed at no long interval by others which will still further satisfy the popular longings. It is expected that the benefits of the Land Act will be extended to house-holders, and that to all occupiers of the soil facilities will be afforded for purchasing the fee of their holdings and becoming proprietors of their farms. The Royal University, intended for Catholics. will, it in said, he placed on a loss niggardly footing. The primary education system may be rendered still more agreeable to the feelings of the Catholic people. And it is rumoured that the British Ministry is disposed to entertain the idea of granting to Ireland. at no distant date, the privilege of governing itself in some matters not involving the integrity of the empire.

Yet, precisely at a time when enormous material benefits have been conferred upon the farming classes and further benefits were impending. when u disposition was shown to render concessions to popular demands in the matter of education, and when even a large measures of Home Rule was not beyond the hopes of the people, a spirit of disloyalty to the British Crown and of hatred to England was actively manifested among Irishman at home and alumni. Associations were formed, in Ireland secretly, in America openly, to make war upon England by means against which, it might have been supported, the hearts of Irishmen and Catholics would have revolted. Agrarian and political murders, of a character to shock the civilized world, were perpetrated. The Maamtrasna massacre and the Phœnix Park assassinations revived the worst memories of 1798, and evoked the astonishment of many, who fondly believed that Irishmen and Catholics were in the present day incapable of such atrocities. The sympathies of the people were shown towards the assassins. Dublin mobs cheered tho men arrested and tried for these horrible crimes. The judges, the jurors, tho witnesses and all concerned in bringing the guilty portion to justice were menaced with death, so that it was darned necessary to protect them, not Only in court but at their homes, and in spite of all precautions, attempts, in one instance nearly successful, were made upon their lives. The popular press gave little assistance towards the punishment of crime, but. whenever it was possible, sought to render more difficult the conviction of criminals. Much was written concerning the barbarity of Coercion Laws, the brutality of judges, the packing of juries, the exclusion of Roman Catholics from the jury box and the worthlessness of the evidence of informers, but not a word was said to uphold the majesty of justice or strengthen the moral weight of convictions and sentences, in cases where the evidence was incontrovertible and the guilt beyond doubt.

The Irish popular press is eminently a Land League pines, and therefore endeavours to minimise the effect of the agrarian and political crimes which undoubtedly are the outcome of tho agitation carried on by Mr. Parnell and his followers, an agitation which has proceeded through the gradations of "Boycotting" and “No Rent" manifestoes to the butcheries of Maamtrasna and the cold-blooded assassinations in the Phœnix Park, as well as to the attempts to destroy by dynamite the principal public buildings in Great Britain. The promoter of the Land League calmly declare murders to be unnecessary for their purpose; they say that the assassination of Mr. Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish was damaging in their cause, and that they are not to he held responsible for the dynamite doings of Irish-American Fenians. Their cold repudiation of horrible crimes seems consistent with the conduct of the Philadelphia Convention, which proclaimed its complete accord with Mr. Parnell, admitted O‘Donovan Rossa as a member, and deliberately abstained from passing a word of censure upon the assassination and dynamite party.

The Parnellite movement never professed to be agrarian merely, but, on the contrary, Land measures were openly declared by the lender to form but an incident in the campaign, which was instituted for far other purposes than the amelioration of the condition of Irish formers. "None of us,"—so spoke Mr. Parnell at Cincinnati, on the 23rd of February, 1852—"whether we are in America or in Ireland, or wherever we may be—will be satisfied until we have destroyed the last link which keeps Ireland bound to England." American Fenians would not have contributed their dollars, nor organized their dynamite schools, to obtain relief for distressed and oppressed tenants. They subscribed their money for lead and muniments of war, and their purpose was to annoy and humiliate England, and to wreak vengeance on Great Britain for past mow than for present wrongs. The aim of the Parnellite movement now that the farmers' grievance is almost remedied, is declared, in the address from the Parnell Tribute Committee to the people of Ireland, to be the completion of "the fabric of National Unity and Independence."


And the aim of the Philadelphia Convention is the some. Separation from England is what millions of Irishman in Ireland and America are now bonded together to accomplish by means of an association which unites in one common League the various. Fenians brotherhoods in the United States and elsewhere, including the votaries of dynamite and assassinations represented by O'Donovan Rossa and his friends. The Convention, in its formal resolutions, states "that the English government in Ireland, originating in usurpation and perpetuated by force, having failed to discharge any of the duties of government, and never having acquired the consent of the governed, has no moral right whatever to exist in Ireland; and that it is the duty of the Irish race throughout the world to sustain the Irish people in the employment of all legitimate means to substitute for it national self-government," and "that we pledge our unqualified, constant support, moral and material, to our countrymen in Ireland, in their efforts to recover national self-government; and, in order the more effectually to promote this object, by the consolidation of all our resources, and the creation of one responsible authoritative body to speak for the Greater Ireland in America that all the Societies represented in this Convention, and all that may hereafter comply with the conditions of admission, be organized into the Irish National League of America, for the purpose or supporting the Irish National League of Ireland, of which Charles Stewart Parnell is the President." Thus the League in America is to support the League in Ireland "in the employment of all legitimate means" to "substitute national self-government" for that "English government in Ireland" which "has no right whenever to exist." These expressions are cautiously chosen, doubtless in compliance with a desire to enable the League in Ireland to escape immediate suppression by the laws. But in the eyes of those who think that "the English government has no moral right whatever to exist in Ireland," the "employment of all legitimate means" to remove it, will not be too scrupulously examined. In the eyes of James Carey and his brother assassins it was no crime to kill Mr. Burke. His number was, in their opinion, not murder, but a "removal." If indeed the English government has "no moral right whatever to exist in Ireland," its laws have no right to exist, and they possess no moral obligation, and those who endeavour to remove the British government by violent menu: will feel their conscience little troubled by questions of the legitimacy of such means. In Mr. Powell’s opinion the means employed by the Land League were perfectly legitimate, although they included Boycotting, intimidation, "No Rent" manifestos, etc. The British Government however thought differently, and put Mr. Parnell into prison.


That Irish and American Fenians should sympathise with Mr. Parnell and encourage him to achieve Notional Independence for Ireland is nowise surprising. Fenians hate England so much that they would jeopardise the welfare of Ireland in the endeavour to satisfy that hate. Some of them are courageous and brave and would gladly imperil their own lives in fighting against British troops on Irish soil. But little courage or bravery is displayed by those persons who, while in safety in their American homes, send emissaries to Great Britain to try to burn down public edifices, at the risk of destroying innocent lives. Irish and American Fenians, however, are not the only persons who have joined the Parnellite movement. A large section of the Irish Catholic hierarchy and priesthood gave Adhesion from the beginning to the Parnellite programme. and subsequently, at a critical moment, when Mr. Parnell'a fortunes seemed on the wane, stepped forward to rescue him from popular ingratitude and neglect. At the beginning, Mr. Parnell. as a Protestant whose sentiments leaned in no wise towards Catholicism or Churchism of any kind, and as a stranger, was disliked by the Catholic prelates, and distrusted as one who sought, under colour of the Land agitation, to gain political power for ends not clearly defined. He concerted with men who depended on lay rather than clerical support, some of whom bed gained seats in Parliament in defiance of episcopal and priestly opposition. Many of the prelates, and notably Dr. Mac Cube, the worthy successor of Cardinal Cullen in the Sec of Dublin, exerted themselves against Mr. Parnell, and strongly disapproved of his policy as one which tended to injure the Catholic religion as well as to excite disaffection and disloyalty. The Pope approved the action of Archbishop Mac Cube, and testified his approbation by creating him a Cardinal. Nevertheless, Archbishop Croke and some of the Irish bishops continued to give their support to Mr. Parnell in various ways. When Cardinal Mac Cube condemned the Ladies’ Lend League, Archbishop Croke published a letter in approval of it. Mr. O’Brien, the editor of "United Ireland," a newspaper devoted to Mr. Parnell and the Land Leaguers, and one which contained articles in which the Pope and the Propaganda were treated with glaring disrespect, become a candidate for Mallow and was successful, having been warmly recommended by a letter published in the newspapers by Archbishop Croke. Mr. Mayan who shewed his dislike to the doctrine of Cardinal Mac Cube by leaving the Marlboro-street Cathedral while his Eminence was preaching, and who published letters to vindicate this unseemly demonstration of his hostility to the Cardinal, was commended to the Tipperary electors by Archbishop Cram, and ostentatiously attributed his return to the influence of that prelate. A month or two ago a subscription was commenced in Ireland to present Mr. Parnell with a testimonial. For weeks the sums subscribed were small. The Farmers were apathetic. No Catholic bishop came forward either with his name or his purse. At last a vigorous letter appeared from the Archbishop. of Cashel, rebuking the people for their ingratitude and asserting that the subscription list would be a test of patriotism for all persons whether in high or low station, in Church or in State. The result of this stirring appeal was the adherence of eight bishops to the Parnell Testimonial Committee, and a general collection by the parish priest's throughout almost all Ireland The subscriptions which, before Dr. Croke’s letter were about £300, rose rapidly to thousands. The Archbishop of Cashel gave fifty pounds, and his Vicar-general forwarded from the dioceses of Cashel and Emly more than £2,500. The collections were made mostly by the parish priests, after previous notice in sermons on Sundays. The episcopal and priestly commendation of Mr. Parnell betrayed in many instances s most bitter spirit of animosity towards the British government. In one episcopal letter, Mr. Parnell, combatting in the House of Commons was compared to "a Mac Mahon in intrepidity, a Sursfield in dash and a Godfrey of Tyrconnel in unflagging perseverance to the end of the battle," The parish priest of Killala joyously proclaimed "that since 1798, when the French General Humbert with his troops landed in the boy of Killala, no man was ever so welcome as Mr. Parnell." "All honour," added the writer, "to His Grace Dr. Croke, truly noble and renowned Archbishop of the sunny South, who has so opportunely sent forth that fiat which, riding on the billow and careering on the blast, shall infallibly be taken up by millions of the Irish race at home and abroad." Another priest, an admirer of Dr. Croke, calls on the "rebels of Cork" to contribute. And another enthusiastic clergyman assures the Parnell Committee that Irishman "are ready to fight under Mr. Parnell's banner, confident of victory, as were the French soldiers under the great Napoleon."

The Address of the National Committee for the Parnell Tribute, the majority of the members of that committee being Catholic ecclesiastics, represents Mr. Parnell as the enemy of that political party "which threatens foreign ascendancy in every department of its power"; and the address appeals for subscriptions in order to "cheer and strengthen him for those further achievements which will complete the fabric of National Unity and Independence." From these allusions to the heroes of Irish insurrections, item the fraternising of Mr. Parnell with MM. Clémenceau and Rochefort, and the French leaders of the Communist and Socialist party, and from the resolutions of the Philadelphia Convention, it is clear that the Parnellite movement has now entered on a now departure, with a programme in which land reforms and other remedial measures are regarded with comparative indifference, and .in which the declared aim is to remove the British government in Ireland, which "has no moral right to exist." That Irish Catholic prelates and priests should have openly joined, or rather created, this new movement is a circumstance which in many quarters excites not only regret but astonishment. The new agitation. strange to say, was almost wholly sacerdotal. The members of the Irish Parliamentary party which owns Mr. Parnell as head, have of course joined it. Many farmers reluctantly contributed, under the stimulus of priestly admonitions. Some live or six Mayors, a few Aldermen, Town Councillors, and Chairmen of Town Commissioners and many publicans and shopkeepers, whose interest lies in not opposing popular agitation, gave their names to the committee. The lay element, however, in this committee, was in a minority. From the list of members were absent the names of almost all the well-known Catholic capitalists, property holders, wealthy traders and manufacturers, and professional men of note. The Cardinal Arch. bishop of Dublin, the Catholic Primate, the Archbishop of Tuam, and two thirds of the Catholic bishops Withheld their names. 'Many of the priests, in defiance of "Boycotting," kept aloof.


Over the rock of Cashel hangs the rock of Peter, and Rome, through the Propaganda and through the lips of Leo XIII, has emphatically condemned the action of those ecclesiastics who appear to have encouraged a movement which, while aiming at visionary schemes of Irish independence, threatens to involve Ireland in rebellion, to paralyse the industry of the inhabitants, to bring persecution upon the Irish and Catholics in Great Britain and her Colonies, to draw the Catholic clergy away from their proper functions into scenes of strife and agitation, to demoralise the Irish people and tempt them to crime, and to destroy the legitimate influence of the priests, and injure the Catholic religion itself by degrading it into a more handmaid of revolution, communism and socialism.


This action of the present Pope in Irish politics is not different from that of his predecessor. As Leo XIII speaks now through Cardinal MacCabe, so Pius spoke through Cardinal Cullen. Dr. Cullen was Irish of the Irish. Educated at the Propaganda for the priesthood. he left that College, in 1829, to be vice-rector, and subsequently rector, of the Irish College in Rome, where he remained until 1849. He watched attentively the O'Connell agitation and the events which led to the abortive rebellion of Mr. Smith O'Brien. He was appointed by Pius IX, in 1849, to the primacy of Armagh, being at the same time made Apostolic Delegate; and shortly afterwards, on the death of Dr. Murray, was translated to Dublin. In 1866 he was created:1 Cardinal. As an Irishman his patriotism was never called in question, and he soon gained the confidence of the Irish bishops, while one Roman priest, he knew, as few others did, the mind of the Roman Curia. His official utterances may therefore be taken as representing, in a special degree, the sentiments of Rome and of the Irish episcopate. Before he left Rome he wrote a pastoral to "the clergy and unity of Armagh," in which he denounces those who [1]"invade the rights of property and by preaching up socialism or communism, endeavour to annul the commandments of God, by which we are forbidden, not only to take away unjustly. but even to covet the possessions of others. What shall I say" he adds——"of those who, pretending to promote the interests of society, preach up sedition and licentiousness, under the sacred name of liberty, and impugn that subordination and respect to established authority that ore prescribed in the Gospel and are necessary for the welfare of every State?" In l850 he presided at the National Council of Thurles, and delivered the Synodical address, which was unamimously adopted by the bishops, and in which occur those words:—"We caution you also against those publications in which loyalty in treated as a crime, a spirit of sedition is insinuated, and efforts are made to induce you to make common cause—to sympathise with, those apostles of socialism and infidelity, who, in other countries, under the pretence of promoting civil liberty, not only undermined the foundations of every government, but artfully assailed the rights of the Apostolic See and sought for the destruction of the Holy Catholic Church." The address condemned "secret and illegal combinations" and concluded with Scripture quotations, including St. Paul's injunction,—"Let every soul be subject to higher powers; for there is no power but from God; and those that are, are ordained of God," etc. The address of the Catholic University Committee signed, in the same year, by the four Archbishops, breathes a similar spirit of loyalty, and says : "Should the Sovereign of these Realms ever have to invoke the loyalty of the well disposed against the designs of turbulent men, tho youth brought up in a Catholic University would be found in the front rank of the defenders of order; and hence, the British statesman who would surround the throne with devoted subjects, and give to society good citizens, must, on the grounds at least of a wise State policy, sincerely desire to see the youth of Ireland brought up according to the strict principles of the Catholic Faith." When all the Irish Bishops drew up an address to their flocks on the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, they urge as the surest means of defeating that penal measure “ the fulfilment of all your duties, loyalty to the Crown and obedience to the constituted authorities." In 1853, when the Convents were threatened with penal legislation, Archbishop Cullen and the Bishops of the Dublin province exhorted their flocks “to use all legitimate means of petition and remonstrances, which the Constitution places at your disposal," but to avoid betrayal "into an open and violent resistance to authority." Persecution—they observe—"has been oftentimes our lot; its vestiges are indelibly engraved on the surface of our country; but no provocation, no trials could eradicate the spirit of submission, obedience and loyalty, with which our forefathers were animated. Let the post he the guide for the future, and whether in good or ill fame, whether protected or persecuted, let us he always good and faithful subjects of the realm." Addressing, in 1860, a similar meeting in Marlboro-street Cathedral, Archbishop Cullen said that "our principles, as Catholics, render us hostile to all seditious practices," and that "we repudiate and condemn resistance to lawful authority, and denounce treason and rebellion wherever they may spring up.”

Secret societies and illegal combinations ware denounced by all the Archbishops and Bishops assembled in Dublin, in 1861, and by a pastoral letter from Archbishop Cullen, who describes them as hostile to the Church. "It cannot be. denied," he says, "that wherever secret societies and a revolutionary spirit prevail, religion is soon destroyed, and tho worst principles of error and indifferentism introduced."

In the same year, in another pastoral, the Archbishop warned the people "against secret and other unlawful associations," some "bound by oath. and others professing to do nothing secretly but to carry out their projects under the eyes of the public." In one of these associations "inventives have been uttered against the Catholic. clergy. because they would not. ailment to applaud wild and reckless projects of revolution or open resistance to authority; and it has been suggested that Ireland should renounce her obedience to the Church, in order to assert her independence." The Archbishop says: "Associations promoting the revolutionary spirit, or preaching doctrines contrary to the obedience taught us in the Scripture, cannot produce good effects."

In 1884, Archbishop Cullen, in terms which seem applicable. mutatis mutandis, to the Philadelphia Convention of 1883, denounced "the smiled Fenians or Brothers of St. Patrick." He says:—"Such societies are only calculated to sow discord in the country, and to weaken it, turning away the people's minds from every useful undertaking, and directing them to schemes of armed resistance and violence, and to utopian projects, which never can be realized. The promoters of such societies, and those who recommended them in the public press, are {also friends, agents of evil, who come among you in sheep's clothing, under the pretence of being children of St. Patrick." He exposes the weakness of the excuse that "the societies referred to are not secret, as they are publicly known to exist, and hold their meet. ings under the eyes of the world." He adds that "the late Archbishop of Baltimore, a great ornament of Church, expressed his disapprobation of the Fenian organization in the strongest terms, and the Bishops of Chicago and Philadelphia, and other prelates, have admonished their flocks in the most solemn manner against the dangers of these brotherhoods." "I need scarcely remind you," continues Archbishop Cullen, "that the Archbishop: and Bishops of Ireland also reprobated and condemned all such associations, in their meeting of last August." He urgently exhorts the faithful of his diocese of Dublin "to avoid all connexion with the aforesaid societies and brotherhoods, and not to frequent their meetings or to read their newspapers, and he calls on those who have had the misfortune to join them, to abandon them immediately, to make reparation to those whom they may have scandalized or led away by their example, to do penance for the past and be reconciled to the Church of God."

To this pastoral of Dr. Cullen were added, in an appendix, a letter of the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Dr. Wood, and a copy of the Fenian declaration. In the letter of Archbishop Wood is the following passage:—"To say nothing of the 'Masons,’ 'Odd Fellows,' 'Sons of Temperance,' etc., about whose condemnation no doubt can exist, these societies are known by various other appellations; such, for example, as the 'National Brotherhood,' lately condemned by the Bishop of Ireland; the 'Fenian Brotherhood,' whose efforts to aggregate members to their association in this country are unscrupulous and unceasing, and, in addition to these, the ‘Molly Maguires,' ‘'Buckshots,’ and others, whose spirit is equally objectionable, and whose name seems to be selected rather to conceal than to indicate the object of their association." The Fenian declaration, to be taken by every member, was given "in the authentic account of the proceedings of the first National Convention of the Fenian Brotherhood, held in Chicago, in November, 1863, and published by J amss Gibbons, printer, Philadelphia." and is as follows: "I, N. N. solemnly pledge my word of honour as a truthful and honest man, that I will labour with earnest zeal for the liberation of Ireland from the yoke of England, and for the establishment of a free and independent government on Irish soil. That I, N. N. will implicitly obey the commands of my superior officers in the Fenian Brotherhood, etc., etc., and that I will foster, defend, and propagate the aforesaid Fenian Brotherhood to the utmost of my power."

"The sixth rule, page 35, of the Brotherhood, is a protest against episcopal and papal authority—against those who may claim to represent, or to receive instructions from any foreign potentate or foreign official whatever. The words of this rule appear to be copied from the Protestant oath of allegiance, formerly introduced for the purpose of preventing the exercise of the power of Christ‘s Vicar in England. To illustrate the character of the Fenians we"—so writes Archbishop Cullen—"give the following extract from the Liberator, an organ of the party published in London:—

"But we may be sure there is a very explicit understanding between the courts of St. James and of Rome, and that ample rewards and promises have been held out by the former, in order to squash the Irish nationalists, Human nature is human nature all the world over, and money can work wonders; and it is no wonder if the Pope and Cardinals would be willing to sacrifice a few millions of penniless Irishman for the sake of catching a score or two of English nobles, whose revenues are greater than that of half Italy. This is a simple state of the case. We have been bought by British gold, and those who were formerly our best friends, have been turned into our deadliest enemies. One English aristocrat is worth more than a million of us; nay, the whole Irish people are but as dust in the balance, when the Catholic hierarchy weigh them against a score of British nobles, and the enormous wealth of the British Government. We him: done now. The matter is settled. All has been made plain. Our eyes are opened." Archbishop Cullen's comment on this language of tho Liberator is:—“Such are the principles laid down for the instruction and guidance of our people."

Let us now quote, in illustration of the Parnellites of to day some passages from a Dublin Newspaper, "failed Ireland," in its number of Ike-ember, 30th, 1882. It gives an "address from the Gympie Branch of the Irish National League to the Queens- land Irish and their countrymen at large." It mentions that the President, the Rev. M. Horan, had resigned his ofiicein consequence of the action of the Propaganda, and that the league was "indignant at the officious intermeddling of Propaganda between the priests and the Irish people, and at the condemnation of the Ladies’ Land League." The address asserts that the Propaganda is not "a purely disinterested body, and does not exercise its powerful influence on behalf of a government outside the Catholic pale gratuitously." It says: "There is no disguising the {not that a World-wide conspiracy, largely the product of English intrigue at Rome, has been inaugurated against the Irish race at home and abroad. The factors of that conspiracy are Gladstone, co-operating through Propaganda; the Propaganda in Ireland operating through the Irish hierarchy to sever the clergy. especially the comma, from the people. …… And this work of denatonalization, he (Mr. Gladstone) hopes to bring about by the oo-operation of his ready tool and stipendiary. the Propaganda." "Gladstone has obtained n large sum from the British Parliament to be employed in expatriating the evicted Irish to Australia." "The Propaganda undertakes, for some consideration which time will disclose, the Work of denationalizing the Australian-Irish, and, us a first step towards that end, is appointing English and Anglo-foreign bishop: who will carry out Propaganda's aim by means of English nuns in our schools," etc. The children are to be divested "of every vestige of national sentiment." The address denounces the Propaganda rule that Irish priests "must not take part in the discussions of the prevailing mobs," and talks of "gagging the curators." "Hence," it says, "Propaganda, Gladstone's ready agent, at his instance, gets them gagged by the bishops." And "the reward anticipated, or promised, for this subserviency is the establishment of a Catholic University on a footing acceptable to the Irish hierarchy and Irish Catholics generally." Within a few months of the publication of the foregoing atrocious calumny upon the Propaganda, a body whose acts are always ratified by the Pope himself, the proprietor of United Ireland was enabled to become Parnellite Member of Parliament for Mallow, by virtue of a commendatory letter from the Catholic Archbishop of Cashel.

To return to Archbishop Cullen. In May, 1864, he exhorts the young men who might be tempted into evil Societies, "to avoid dangerous reading, and to be on their guard against publications which, under the pretence of being the organs of the Irish People, insult our religion, promote revolutionary doctrines, and endeavour to drive the country into a foolish warfare, in which everything would he lost that has been gained within the present century, and deprive us of the blessing of heaven." In October, 1865, he says:—“As to what is called Fenianism, you are aware that, looking on it as a compound of folly and wickedness, wearing the mask of patriotism to make dupes of the unwary, and as the work of a few {maths or knaves, wicked enough to jeopardise others in order to promote their own sordid views, I have repeatedly raised my voice against it."

Those invited to join Fenianism ought, said the Archbishop, to raise the following questions; “Who are its leaders? What public service have they rendered to the country ? What claim have they to demand our confidence? Would they sacrifice others to promote their own sordid views? Are they men of religion ? Are they men remarkable for their sobriety, their good conduct and attention to their own affairs? Have they been successful in business? Are they men to whom we would lend money or trust the management of our property? Were they to succeed, would they be good rulers and good magistrates? Would they better the condition of the country? or rather, as needy and desperate adventurers are always disposed to do, would they not introduce despotism and a system of confiscation, and the spoliation of all property, public and private? In the case of the leaders of the Fenians, if these questions had been seriously considered, no men of sense would have joined their ranks. Nay more, if the charges lately made against the originators of the movement had been known, every one would have boon filled with alarm at their introduction into the country; for they are said to have proposed nothing less than to destroy the faith of the people by circulating works like those of the impious Voltaire, to preach up socialism, to seize on the property of those who have any, and to exterminate both the gentry of the country and the Catholic clergy. What- ever is to he said of such fearful nominations, which we hope are only founded on vague report, it is too certain that the managers of the Fenian paper called the host People, made it a vehicle of slander, and circulated in its columns most pernicious and poisonous maxims. Fortunately they had not the wit nor the talents of Voltaire, but according to appearances they did not yield to him in anxiety to do mischief and in malice. And hence it. must be admitted, that for suppressing that paper, the public authorities deserve the thanks and gratitude of all those who love Ireland, its peace and religion."

"Fenianism made us ridiculous by its boastings, its menaces, and its promises, pretending to overthrow the British government, and to establish an Irish Republic, This was all idle boasting, calculated to deceive the unreflecting. Fenianism had no power and no means to accomplish such a revolution; its hopes of obtaining assistance from America were quite delusive; the American government is hostile toil." …… "Fenianism, however, though powerless to obtain what it proposed, had great influence in bringing about mischief; it succeeded in inducing its dupes to engage in breaches of the law, to disturb the minds of others, and to bring public vengeance on themselves." ……

"It is our duty, as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which inculcates humility and obedience, to encourage a love of peace, to inculcate patience and forbearance in the time of trials and sufferings, and to prevent the spread of secret societies, and to check everything revolutionary. The experience of the past shows us that revolutions and rebellions tend to inflict the greatest calamities on the human race, by uprooting all religion, and that they almost invariably terminate in massacres, anarchy and despotism.”

In 1866, Archbishop, then Cardinal, Cullen, warned hi people to "keep aloof from all those who advocate violence or revolution, or seek to bring on a collision with the established authorities." In 1867, he repeated his warnings, and observed that the experience of the past showed that "many of those engaged," during the last century, "in secret and revolutionary movements in Ireland, and who were most noisy in their hostility to government, Were, at the same tins, traitors in the pay of the Castle, and in daily communication with the famous Secretary of that time." In 1870, he declared the "it is not by such unlawful organizations that the interests of Ireland can be promoted and prosperity and happiness assured," and in relation to the Fenians and their enterprise at Tallaght, says:—"They have displayed neither Wisdom nor courage; so far from rendering services to their country and promoting its prosperity and its liberties, they have obstructed every useful improvement; they have turned the minds of their followers to foolish pursuits ; and they have brought on the country, and on its peaceful inhabitants, the evils of coercive and exceptional legislation. Of course there was not a shadow of hope for the success of this party; but, had it prevailed, or had the of the people joined in its undertakings, we should have had nothing but confusion, anarchy and despotism, and our poor country Would have been overwhelmed with unheard of calamities." The Cardinal condemns revolutionary newspapers, whose "editors do not hesitate to spread poison on every side, and to undermine the good faith and the religion of the people." "Writers inspired will: true patriotism respect justice and truth, they inculcate the performance of good works and habits of industry, they love the true religion and they glory in the pious deeds of their forefathers; but they never indulge in revolutionary dreams, and they would lay down their lives rather than abandon their faith to become maligners of the priests of God, and preachers of error and infidelity."

In December. 1877, Cardinal Cullen thus exhorts his clergy:—"I beg of you to caution the good and peaceful people of your districts against. secret societies, which some designing and mischievous men are said to he attempting to organize in the country and in the towns. Caution them especially against any connexion with the Fenians and what is called the Skirmishing Society and the Clan-na-gael Associations, all of which organizations are said to have been lately set on foot in America, and which wicked men sometimes encourage in Ireland for the vile purpose of making money by selling those whom they have seduced, thus bringing ruin on their victims. The Church condemns all such dangerous societies as hostile to the Church or to the State, and subjects them to excommunication; and this alone ought to be a sufficient reason to all Catholics for avoiding them."

In the year 1877, Cardinal Cullen, in consequence of failing health, became unequal to the burden of governing his important diocese, and obtained the assistance of an auxiliary Bishop, Dr. Edward Mac Cube. Cardinal Cullen died in October, 1878, and was succeeded in 1879, by Dr. Mac Cube, who in May, 1882, was created a Cardinal by Leo XIII.

Cardinal Mac Cube was as energetic as his predecessor in the condemnation of Fenianism and revolutionary societies, secret or open. He courageously opposed the Parnellite movement and the Land Leaguers. His exertions, unfortunately, were not seconded by all his episcopal brethren, and he was exposed to the bitter hostility of the Land Leaguers. Attacks were threatened against his life, and for some time he was guarded by police. His incessant anxieties and labours brought on a serious illness, which it was feared would prove fatal, and from which he is slowly recovering. The policy of Cardinal Mac Cabe, which was that of Cardinal Cullen, was warmly commended by Leo XIII. That policy, it need not be said. was not the policy of Mr. Parnell and the National League, as laid down in the addresses of the Parnell Tribute. Committee and the Philadelphia Convention.


  1. This and the following quotations are taken from The Pastoral Letters and other Writings of Cardinal Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin. etc, etc, edited by the Right Reverend Patrick Moran, D.D., Bishop of Ossory. In three volumes—Dublin: Browne and Nolan, Nassau Street, 1882. See also Ireland and the Holy See; A Retrospective 1866 v. 1883. Illegal and Seditious Movements in Ireland, contrasted with the principles of the Catholic Church, as shown in the Writings of Cardinal Cullen Rome: Printed at the Propaganda Press, May 1883.


This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.