John Privilege
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Land and politics
in Michael Logue and the Catholic Church in Ireland, 1879–1925
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The upsurge in political violence after 1879 posed a series of complex problems for the Catholic Church in Ireland. The nature of violence, its scope and scale, and its origin presented challenges, which were new in many ways. The violent protest associated with the land question after 1879 heralded, or was symptomatic of, sweeping political change. Logue played only a minor role in the great events, which constituted the Land War. Publicly, Logue cultivated a studiously neutral attitude to the new political movement and land agitation in general. The Land League had its origin in the disastrous economic decline in Irish agriculture after 1876. As the economic crisis deepened, the League stepped up its activities and the leadership embarked on a radical and aggressive strategy. The disturbances in Ireland and the growing clerical involvement in the land agitation drew the attention of the authorities in Rome. On the issues of the Land League and the land campaign, in public at least, Logue remained neutral. It is, perhaps, an irony of history that one who did not seek high station was convinced of his unworthiness for the role and lacked the confidence and the inclination to undertake public responsibility should become the spiritual leader of Catholic Ireland.

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