Did an overbearing clergy effectively murder gaeilge in the 20th century ?

Spirit Of Newgrange

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 4, 2010
Messages
4,602
I should really open this discussion...in aim an athair Agus an....etc. except of course my own fluency is almost non existent.

And so getting to the meat of the question : doesn't it seem odd that the Catholic Church, a transnational multi ethnic global organisation was so keen to bang the nationalist drum in Ireland ? Strange that where places like France have seen the French revolution unleash nationalistic fervour upon church as the hounds upon a fox.

Having attended one of gaeltachts of yore , one glaring anomaly was that gaeilge = rampant catholicism....or at least it did for much of the twentieth century. An atheist was not really welcome to attend.

For many in Ireland, the only time they hear Irish , apart from on rte , is for mumbled prayers.

Even among gaelgoirs...swearing , profanity and blasphemy is rare in this Republic. Much more colourful insults seem to exist in all the other living languages on these shores.

Before 1916 and the drive for independence , Irish language was seen as exciting , rebellious , edgey and dare I say cool. Why did we lose that ? Why did the signatories of the 1921 treaty in downing Street sign their names as gaeilge whereas I cannot imagine such a gesture from today'so crop of politicians. Did the clergy and their grip of the education system sanitise and ultimately sterilise Irish ?
 


Dame_Enda

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
53,610
In the 1800s it was a different story. As part of the cosy deal leading to the Stanley Education Act in the 1830s, the Church was allowed to run schools in return for not teaching the Irish language. So the Church became an accomplice in the eradication of the Irish language.

But so too did the Irish Free State, which commissioned a report into Irish which recommended restoring Irish as a language usable in the courts. The govt - some of them such as WT Cosgrave members of the legal profession - refused.

I dont think the Church was particularly attached to Nationalism in the 19th century and this is part of the reason, as is the Vaticans traditional fear of Republicanism and its tradition of upholding the 'Divine Right of Kings' (something notable even after the Reformation when the Vatican rejected appeals to revoke Laudibiliter which granted Ireland to Henry II of England). There was a shift to support for Home Rule after the Famine - but originally the party was supported by Protestant landlords because with the Secret Ballot not passed until 1874, they thought they could dominate the Irish government. When the Secret Ballot Act 1874 became law, there was an exodus of the Protestant landlord class from the movement (Parnell being an important exception). In fact in 1800 the majority of the Catholic hierarchy supported the Act of Union because Pitt was promising Catholic Emancipation (which ironically led the Orange Order to oppose it at the time) (Page 6 of link). George III then broke Pitts promise, arguing it violated his Coronation Oath.

The RCCs attitude to 1916 reflected their traditional distrust of Republicanism. So there were bishops who condemned the Rising and IRA while others were more equivocal
. (Page 10).

I think CnG was influenced by the Church's hostility to the Irish language when it refused to accept the recommendations of its commission to restore Irish as a language of the courts. Its also important to recognise the Free State was a Dominion, not a republic. I think the Irish language was increasingly associated with Republicanism in the eyes of the Church.

So I am puzzled that the OP suggests the RCC rammed Irish down generations of pupil's throats.
 
Last edited:

Cruimh

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Messages
83,467
Well, The RCC has realised, belatedly that nationalism is an evil.

The Catholic Church started to take notice of the Irish Language when the Protestant Churches started using it to proselytise.

However, more importantly -

The Irish language, then, turned out to have many non-cultural uses. As argued earlier, its principal purpose was to cement an unlikely alliance between priests and separatists. Because clerical ideology contained such a strong element of siege mentality, the language appeared to offer a barrier against secularism. Hyde had himself understood this and had appealed for clerical support along these lines. In 1902, for example, he urged Athlone schoolchildren to be like that marvellous people the Jews who had their own language for family and community life, while relegating English to the role of language of commerce. He urged them to study Irish language and literature and to read Irish-language weeklies rather than 'penny dreadfuls, shilling shockers, police intelligence, garbage and snippets ...' .32 In 1891 a young catholic law clerk from rural Antrim, John (Eoin) MacNeill, had urged in the pages of the Irish Ecclesiastical Record that the priests take up the language on the grounds that it would preserve an Irish identity and bolster Irish Catholicism.33
Page 74, Priests and Patriots: Irish Separatism and Fear of the Modern, 1890-1914
Tom Garvin Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 25, No. 97 (May, 1986), pp. 67-81
 

RasherHash

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2013
Messages
24,521
I should really open this discussion...in aim an athair Agus an....etc. except of course my own fluency is almost non existent.

And so getting to the meat of the question : doesn't it seem odd that the Catholic Church, a transnational multi ethnic global organisation was so keen to bang the nationalist drum in Ireland ? Strange that where places like France have seen the French revolution unleash nationalistic fervour upon church as the hounds upon a fox.

Having attended one of gaeltachts of yore , one glaring anomaly was that gaeilge = rampant catholicism....or at least it did for much of the twentieth century. An atheist was not really welcome to attend.

For many in Ireland, the only time they hear Irish , apart from on rte , is for mumbled prayers.

Even among gaelgoirs...swearing , profanity and blasphemy is rare in this Republic. Much more colourful insults seem to exist in all the other living languages on these shores.

Before 1916 and the drive for independence , Irish language was seen as exciting , rebellious , edgey and dare I say cool. Why did we lose that ? Why did the signatories of the 1921 treaty in downing Street sign their names as gaeilge whereas I cannot imagine such a gesture from today'so crop of politicians. Did the clergy and their grip of the education system sanitise and ultimately sterilise Irish ?
The people then believed in something, todays wasters in the Dáil believe in lining their own pockets with as much loot as they can.
 

RasherHash

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2013
Messages
24,521
Well, The RCC has realised, belatedly that nationalism is an evil.

The Catholic Church started to take notice of the Irish Language when the Protestant Churches started using it to proselytise.

However, more importantly -





The Irish language, then, turned out to have many non-cultural uses. As argued earlier, its principal purpose was to cement an unlikely alliance between priests and separatists. Because clerical ideology contained such a strong element of siege mentality, the language appeared to offer a barrier against secularism. Hyde had himself understood this and had appealed for clerical support along these lines. In 1902, for example, he urged Athlone schoolchildren to be like that marvellous people the Jews who had their own language for family and community life, while relegating English to the role of language of commerce. He urged them to study Irish language and literature and to read Irish-language weeklies rather than 'penny dreadfuls, shilling shockers, police intelligence, garbage and snippets ...' .32 In 1891 a young catholic law clerk from rural Antrim, John (Eoin) MacNeill, had urged in the pages of the Irish Ecclesiastical Record that the priests take up the language on the grounds that it would preserve an Irish identity and bolster Irish Catholicism.33 Page 74, Priests and Patriots: Irish Separatism and Fear of the Modern, 1890-1914
Tom Garvin Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 25, No. 97 (May, 1986), pp. 67-81
The brits are the most nationalitic crowd around, including the unionists :rolleyes:
 

RasherHash

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2013
Messages
24,521
Well, The RCC has realised, belatedly that nationalism is an evil.

The Catholic Church started to take notice of the Irish Language when the Protestant Churches started using it to proselytise.

However, more importantly -





The Irish language, then, turned out to have many non-cultural uses. As argued earlier, its principal purpose was to cement an unlikely alliance between priests and separatists. Because clerical ideology contained such a strong element of siege mentality, the language appeared to offer a barrier against secularism. Hyde had himself understood this and had appealed for clerical support along these lines. In 1902, for example, he urged Athlone schoolchildren to be like that marvellous people the Jews who had their own language for family and community life, while relegating English to the role of language of commerce. He urged them to study Irish language and literature and to read Irish-language weeklies rather than 'penny dreadfuls, shilling shockers, police intelligence, garbage and snippets ...' .32 In 1891 a young catholic law clerk from rural Antrim, John (Eoin) MacNeill, had urged in the pages of the Irish Ecclesiastical Record that the priests take up the language on the grounds that it would preserve an Irish identity and bolster Irish Catholicism.33 Page 74, Priests and Patriots: Irish Separatism and Fear of the Modern, 1890-1914
Tom Garvin Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 25, No. 97 (May, 1986), pp. 67-81
The brits are the most nationalistic crowd around, including the unionist mob :)
 

wombat

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 16, 2007
Messages
32,989
Really silly theory, the language declined during the 19th century while most of the 20th was spent trying to revive it. Catholic services were mostly in Latin so its a stretch to link them to the decline or revival.
 

StarryPlough01

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 13, 2010
Messages
14,676
OMG,

That evoked childhood memories of my mother singing rebel songs around the fireside.
 

O'Quisling

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Messages
738
One point worth making is related to the language change arising from Vat 2. History will place a lot of blame on the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy (i.e. the bishops or the “bosses of the Church”, they meet in Maynooth.

Mayby the fault lies with the Catholic clergy in its entirety for a general lack of enthusiasm towards the language when the replacement was being decided.

Either way the language of the Mass should have been changed to Irish instead of English. That to me is clear that the Clergy and maybe even the Middle Class in general gave up on the attempts to revive the native language.

The Second Vatican Council, which convened between the 11th October 1962 and the 8th December 1965, produced a range of changes to the Roman Catholic Church. Among the many changes was the replacement of the language of the Mass from Latin to the vernacular language, i.e. French in France, English in England, Italian in Italy, and so on. In the parts of south America where the predominant language spoken is the Quechua languages, Catholic rituals are held in such (in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Colombia).

In the Gaeltacht, Mass today is through Irish; in fact from talking to someone who is from a part of Galway that lost its Gaeltacht status in the 70’s (?) they acknowledged that everyone pointed out how sad they all felt when the last vestige of the Irish language disappeared when the priest switched from Irish to English as the language of the Mass. This occurred long after the district lost its status and long after Irish was spoken as the functioning everyday tongue of the people who lived there.

When the language switch happened in the Mass in the 60’s, this was a time to make the Irish language meaningful to the vast overwhelming majority of people in the RoI. That didn’t occur. And the Irish language is so much more in a poor shape as a result.
 

Old Mr Grouser

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 29, 2009
Messages
6,341
One point worth making is related to the language change arising from Vat 2. History will place a lot of blame on the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy (i.e. the bishops or the “bosses of the Church”, they meet in Maynooth.

Mayby the fault lies with the Catholic clergy in its entirety for a general lack of enthusiasm towards the language when the replacement was being decided.

Either way the language of the Mass should have been changed to Irish instead of English.

The Second Vatican Council ... the replacement of the language of the Mass from Latin to the vernacular language,
...




But the vernacular language across almost all of Irelend is English.

:roll:
 

Mushroom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
15,474
The people then believed in something, todays wasters in the Dáil believe in lining their own pockets with as much loot as they can.
Perhaps.

But the "wasters in the Dáil" have provided supportive legislation and extra funding for the Irish language. So in this case, it's the "wasters" outside the Dáil who are to blame for the slow death of Irish.
 

razorblade

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Messages
8,081
The language was already in rapid decline since famine times, and diring the time of British rule, little or none of which was to do with the rcc.
 

users

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 3, 2017
Messages
1,072
Curry me youghurt?
 

parentheses

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
13,966
The language was already in rapid decline since famine times, and diring the time of British rule, little or none of which was to do with the rcc.

It's been estimated close to 20% of the population died in the famine. Theres your reason for the decline of the language
 

The Field Marshal

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
43,645

RasherHash

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2013
Messages
24,521
Whataboutery?

The British Union - England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - is hardly nationalist ....

Noted that you run away from addressing the points I made about Ireland, the RCC and the Irish Language(s) ;)
It's what is sometimes called a supra-nationalism, but nevertheless it is nationalism.

When a nation is fighting for it's very survival nationalism is a very good thing; when a powerful nation expresses it's nationalism at the expense of its smaller neighbours it is imperialism.

Imperialism is the negative manifestation of nationalism.
 

GDPR

1
Joined
Jul 5, 2008
Messages
217,846
The language was already in rapid decline since famine times, and diring the time of British rule, little or none of which was to do with the rcc.
The CC failing to use Irish as a teaching language in Maynooth was a terrible blow to the Irish language. The CC is a multinational corporation, it couldn't give a damn about particular nations like Ireland or their cultures or languages. Of course there were very patriotic priests and bishops, but they were more the exception than the rule. Irish Catholic priests were useful for the British empire and North America, so English was the language of Maynooth. Cold calculation - Mafia style.
 

The Field Marshal

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
43,645
The CC failing to use Irish as a teaching language in Maynooth was a terrible blow to the Irish language. The CC is a multinational corporation, it couldn't give a damn about particular nations like Ireland or their cultures or languages. Of course there were very patriotic priests and bishops, but they were more the exception than the rule. Irish Catholic priests were useful for the British empire and North America, so English was the language of Maynooth. Cold calculation - Mafia style.
Catholic Ireland was seen not unreasonbly as an English protestant conversion tool by the Vatican.
If the Irish could not speak english then their influence on England would be diminished.

Also the clerical condemnations of Fenianism and nationalist separationism formed part of this Vatican strategy.

All very sensible actually whether or not you agree with it..
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top