Sarah Roddy
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‘Scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd’
The pastoral responses of the Irish churches to emigration

From an Irish clergyman's point of view, by far the worst of the iniquities facing migrants was the perceived threat to their faith. Reports of nativist attacks on churches in the United States, for example, may have prompted 'gasconade, froth, foam and fury' in the Irish Catholic press, but the churches that had yet to be built were the real barriers to incoming migrants' religious participation. While the notion that mass emigration from Ireland began in the 1840s is certainly outmoded, it would seem that the formal, organised involvement of the Irish churches in the religious care of diaspora communities was largely a mid-nineteenth century phenomenon. Irish Anglicans who emigrated before 1815 were the best served as far as spiritual matters were concerned, benefitting from an organisation that was specifically dedicated to sending clergy to their destinations.

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Population, providence and empire

The churches and emigration from nineteenth-century Ireland


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