Bryan Fanning
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Paul Cullen’s devotional revolution
in Irish adventures in nation-building
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Paul Cullen was perhaps as important a maker of modern Ireland as Daniel O'Connell, and in the decades after O'Connell's death, when parliamentary nationalism languished in the doldrums, he was Ireland's most important Catholic leader. Cullen's great accomplishment, Oliver Rafferty emphasises (in 'The Ultramontaine Spirituality of Paul Cullen'), a devotional revolution in Ireland. Cullen as an institutional builder presided over the building of many churches, schools and religious communities. But he also redefined, as Rafferty and a number of other contributors emphasise, Irish public spirituality. Cullen's closeness to Rome helped in various turf wars and also in achieving dominance over other bishops in Ireland. Cullen for his part believed that Catholic emancipation had created the political structures that would enable not just the redress of Catholic grievances but the creation of a theocratic state.

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