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Bright as an angel
in Michael Logue and the Catholic Church in Ireland, 1879–1925
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This chapter considers the roles of Michael Logue, who was the spiritual leader of a generation of Irish men and women, and that of the Catholic Church in the political and social changes in Ireland in the late nineteenth century. Logue had been ordained at a time of great crisis for the Papacy and the European Church. Since the middle of the nineteenth century the shifting political landscape of Europe had diminished the temporal authority of the Pope. In Catholic countries across Europe ecclesiastical appointments were handed out as court patronage, while the hierarchies in Protestant countries, including Ireland, were very much left to their own devices. Logue was a proficient Irish speaker and he was appointed to the post. In addition he was also given the deanship of a seminary and the pressure of both posts weighed heavily on him. Furthermore, Logue inherited a diocese with a Catholic population of 110,000. In his diocesan report to Rome in 1881, he revealed some of his concerns over education, poverty and issues such as the abuse of alcohol and gambling.

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