This book provides a review and consideration of the role of the Catholic Church in Ireland in the intense political and social changes after 1879 through a major figure in Irish history, Michael Logue. Despite being a figure of pivotal historical importance in Ireland, no substantial study of Michael Logue (1840–1924) has previously been undertaken. Exploring previously under-researched areas, such as the clash between science and faith, university education and state-building, the book contributes to our understanding of the relationship between the Church and the state in modern Ireland. It also sets out to redress any historical misunderstanding of Michael Logue and provides a fresh perspective on existing interpretations of the role of the Church and on areas of historical debate in this period.
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.
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.
This chapter highlights Logue's journey through the university campaign. The issue of university education in Ireland was a constant source of grievance for the bishops. The university system in Ireland was at the center of a network of proselytism and indifferentism which the hierarchy had come to regard as characteristic of the Protestant constitution in Ireland. The Roman Catholic Church demanded the same rights and recognition that the state extended to Protestants in terms of state funded, denominational university education. The demand for national justice, however, masked other concerns and preoccupations. The challenges to traditional faith thrown up by the intellectual revolution and the advent of Darwinism made a truly Catholic university not only desirable, but also essential. Furthermore, Logue's determination to have a university acceptable to Rome ultimately ensured the success of the campaign. Logue trusted Walsh to deliver an institution that would not only meet the requirements of Rome but also be of sufficient prestige to redress Catholic grievances on the status of Trinity College. This cooperation eased whatever early tension existed in the relationship between the two men, though the partnership between Armagh and Dublin sometimes dismayed others within the episcopate.
The nineteenth century was theologically fraught not just for Catholicism but for Christianity in general. As the Church struggled to face the challenges thrown up by modern science, Logue maintained a simple faith. This chapter explains the evolution and docility of the mind. The Catholic Church has not often been associated with scientific endeavour and engagement with modern thought. In Ireland and across the Catholic world, however, a passionate debate on science developed among the clergy. Certain priests embraced the discoveries of modern science and actively sought to reconcile their faith with evolution theory to defend the Church from accusations of medievalism. Ireland lagged behind in terms of the debate on science in the wider Catholic world. Compared with England, conditions in Ireland were not conducive to a wide-ranging debate. By the 1860s half of the British population lived in cities, there was an affluent middle class and a printed media with large circulations fed a general hunger for scientific debate.
This chapter discusses home rule politics during Logue's time. Logue was a nationalist. He retained a fundamental conviction that the Irish had the right to govern themselves and only self-government could effectively redress Catholic grievances. His doubts over land agitation were balanced by outrage at the actions of the British government. However, there has been a tendency among historians to question Logue's nationalist credentials and dismiss his contribution to the politics of the period. Logue was much enamored with the clerical-nationalist alliance. He supported fully the bargain of mutual support struck in 1884 between the national movement and sections of the hierarchy. The chapter also discusses in brief party politics; in addition the Irish Party split into three factions whose differences remained slight on the surface but were for the time being insurmountable. All three factions had elements with which Logue and several of his colleagues might have found common cause. Logue's anxieties persisted, even when Home Rule was enacted in September 1914. Amid the euphoria and gratitude in Nationalist Ireland, he remained cautious.
This chapter examines England's extremity. It is a mistake to view Ireland's response to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 in pro- or anti-British terms. With the enactment of Home Rule, John Dillon felt justified in talking of the ‘union of two democracies’ of Britain and Ireland in the coming struggle in Europe despite the postponement of the Home Rule Act for the duration of the war. Along with this, the continued regardless of political events in Ireland and the shifting direction of public opinion and his impassioned pleas for chaplains reflected a deep concern for their spiritual welfare. In his statements to the press, Logue painted a picture of Catholic souls either in imminent and mortal peril or a state of ‘spiritual destitution’. He did not pronounce on the morality of enlistment but was convinced that Catholic chaplains were performing a service of absolute good.
This chapter explains that historians have long since divined the signs and portents encompassed in the events of April and May 1916. It has often been chronicled how the seizure of buildings in Dublin by elements of the Irish Volunteers, the proclamation of an Irish republic, the short war of attrition followed by surrender and execution, led to a seismic shift in Irish political aspirations. Logue's speech was a delicate balancing act. His attempt to be critical of the government yet refrain from inflammatory language had produced a rather tortuous affair, which was riddled with inconsistencies. Logue's politics did not mean he was automatically predisposed to reject the republican movement. His disaffection with the Irish Party had been exacerbated to an extreme by the encroachment of partition. He believed that Home Rule would not provide the necessary framework to enact real change and, therefore, favoured dominion status. If Logue's intervention in the general election in Ulster indicated his acceptance of Sinn Féin as a party to do business with, other bishops were more forthright in their support.
This chapter looks at the revolution and the collapse of the republicans. Logue had lost none of his anxieties regarding republicans, but by 1919 his essential political pragmatism was very much in evidence. In his Lenten pastoral published in February, he made reference to the new states emerging in Europe from the ruins of the Russian, German and Austrian empires. By 1919, the bishops were increasingly adopting the language of separation. Their pastorals were filled with the notions currently in vogue across Europe: democracy, self-determination and freedom. A major factor in this reticence was the promise of violence, which surrounded the establishment of Dáil Éireann. The bishops were aware that the Irish Volunteers had been conducting raids for weapons since the days of the Irish Convention. In addition, by the summer of 1920 the war in Ireland had entered a new phase. Republican attacks upon the police had escalated and the response of Crown forces had become more robust. This chapter comprises all the revolutionary dates of Logue's time period.
This chapter discusses Logue's death as a watershed in some respects. The hierarchy had already begun the process of necessary adaptation to life in the two Irelands. Before his death, Logue acknowledged the depth of division within the Irish Free State. His support for the government had remained constant after the end of the civil war and on the eve of the general election, at the end of 1923, he told the electors of Dundalk to ‘go forward as a body in support of the Ministry’. The politicization of the sacraments during the civil war had separated a large section of the population from the Church. In some respects, Logue's death marked a turning point in the relationship between nationalists and the state of Northern Ireland. With his passing, the policy of non-recognition lost one of its most distinguished and consistent proponents. The commission sat in 1925 amid a general election on the border issue. There was a dawning realisation among nationalists, however, that the commissions merely confirm the boundaries of Northern Ireland and not redraw them.