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James Connolly: Roman Catholic and Irish Speaker!


Eric Cartman

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There is much speculation about James Connolly, his attitude towards religion and the Irish language. Anti-Irish language left wingers I have met have remarked that Connolly was ambivalent towards Irish, indeed he said:

You cannot teach starving men Gaelic
Although, this was said in context and he appears generally approving of the language movement:

James Connolly: The Language Movement (1898)

The issue of his faith is contentious too. The only definitive remark he made with respect to his religion was:

though I have usually posed as a Catholic, I have not done my duty for 15 years, and have not the slightest tincture of faith left…
Yet, there is ample evidence he was a man of faith:

  • Big Jim Larkin said:
    Connolly was born a Catholic, lived, and died a Catholic
  • Scott Herbert (acquaintance in the British labour movement) called him "devoutly Catholic"
  • His writtings
  • Made last Confession and received Holy Communion the 1st and 2nd of May 1916, respectively, and again Friday 12th.
  • Daniel de Leon, leader of the Socialist Labour Party USA refers to him, among other things, a "Jesuit spy"
  • Wife Lillie converts to Catholicism 15th August 1916

Concerning the first occasion, his Confessor Fr. Aloysius records this amusing and poignant exchange:

Tuesday 2nd

In the morning I gave Holy Communion to James Connolly. Later in the day I went with Father Augustine to Headquarters, Infirmary Road and met General (Sir John) Maxwell....
When I reached Kilmainham Gaol I was informed that Thomas MacDonagh also wished for my ministrations. I was taken to the prisoners' cells and spent some hours between the two. "You will be glad to know that I gave Holy Communion to James Connolly this morning," I said to Pearse when I met him. "Thank God," he replied, "it is the one thing I was anxious about."
Quite.

I thought I would add this piece of evidence: the Connolly family census returns, 1911 from 70 South Lotts Road in Ringsend:

National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911

Actual return:
http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000119513/

Connolly clearly lists himself as a Roman Catholic and declares that he can speak English and Irish.

Not usually thought of as a Gaelgóir, I wonder will this change people's perception of him??

Also, he apparently believes we Irish have certain "racial characteristics" worth salvaging.

Over to you, Clare Daly!
 


drummed

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He declares it on census form? That's your evidence? LOL.
 

APettigrew92

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....How is this relevant?
 

eoghanacht

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Mr Aphorisms

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Who cares what religion he was? He tried his best to unite the Catholic working class and Protestant working class and also, despised and loathed sectarianism with the hatred it deserves. He saw how religion was made to divide people and pointed out to Catholic zealots who were not too found of their Protestant oppressors about the nonsense of religious wars and division:


It is an impious thought and we must avoid it. Whatever we do let us keep on the safe side of the road and not quarrel with the Church – which denounced the United Irishmen and excommunicated the Fenians.

Faith and Fatherland. Oh, yes. But don’t forget that when the Englishman was a Catholic and worshipped at the same altar as the Irishman, he plundered, robbed and murdered the Irishman as relentlessly as he did when, with sword in one hand and Bible in the other, he came snuffily chanting his psalms in the train of Oliver Cromwell.

The question of religious faith has precious little bearing upon the question of freedom. Witness Catholic Spain devastating Catholic Cuba, the Catholic capitalists of Italy running down with cannon the unarmed Catholic workmen, the Irish Catholic landlord rackrenting and evicting the Catholic tenant, the wealthy Catholic feasting inside the mansion while the Catholic beggar dies of hunger on the doorstep.

And as a companion picture witness the Protestant workmen of Belfast so often out on strike against their Protestant employers and their Protestant ancestors of 100 years ago in active rebellion against the English Protestant Government.

‘Our institutions in Church and State’ is the catchword with which the wealthy Irish Unionist endeavours to arouse religious bigotry among the Protestant working-class of Ulster and so prevent them coalescing with the working-class Catholic in a united effort for their common emancipation.

And ‘Faith and Fatherland’ by linking the national demands with a specific religious belief serves the same purpose in the mouth of the Home Rule trickster.

For what other purpose than that herein specified are either rallying cries used?

To keep the people of Ireland, and especially the workers, divided is the great object of all our politicians, Home Ruler or Unionist.
James Connolly: Fighting Race (1898)

James Connolly's religious beliefs should not be used to score points over the current Irish left.
 

Mr Aphorisms

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Also, he was in a bitter fued with DeLeon and that particular claim by DeLeon was baseless and completely bizarre, typical of his jealous and dictatorial nature.
 

cathalbrugha

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Connolly clearly lists himself as a Roman Catholic and declares that he can speak English and Irish.

Over to you, Clare Daly!
Joe Higgins would probably be a better person than Clare Daly, when it comes to the language question, as Jocy came from the Gaeltacht.. Kerry, iinm..

Was Connolly a Catholic? Connolly split from Daniel De Leon coz De Leon was known as The Pope of Socialism, and because De Leon was an intolerant Marxist.. Connolly saw no contradiction in having a faith, and being a Socialist.. They clashed over Reiligon* and Connolly split from the Wobblies..

* Cé gur ghlacadar araon le teagasc Karl Marx níorbh ionann dearcadh dóibh i dtaobh an reiligiúin.. Ní admhaíonn an fíor-Mharxach go bhfuil anam an duine neamhbhásmhar; ní admhaíonn sé go bhfuil anam ar bith aige.. Bíodh gur ghlac Ó Conghaile go teoiriciúil le teagasc Marx níor thuig sé go raibh aon bhaint ó cheart aige le cúrsaí creidimh. - Seamas Ó Duibhir - An Phoblacht.

* Although they both agreed with Marxist theory they clashed over reiligon.. The true Marxist doesn't believe that there's an afterlife for the soul; they don't believe that man has a soul at all.. Although Connolly agreed with Marxism, he didn't believe that it reiligion was relevent.

Before he was executed Connolly also said that he'd say a prayer for his executioner as the man was merely doing his duty..

Therefore Christians have every right to piss the commies off by claiming Conolly as their own:)
 

cathalbrugha

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Who cares what religion he was? He tried his best to unite the Catholic working class and Protestant working class and also, despised and loathed sectarianism with the hatred it deserves. He saw how religion was made to divide people and pointed out to Catholic zealots who were not too found of their Protestant oppressors about the nonsense of religious wars and division:

James Connolly: Fighting Race (1898)

James Connolly's religious beliefs should not be used to score points over the current Irish left.
I think Connolly also regretted that he had any dealings with the Irish Working Class.. Maybe he realized too late.. What was it he said about the guttess? Did Christ actually die for this people? One can just imagine those guttees who Ernie O'Malley spoke so elegantly of, and who O'Casey then ridiculed to bits in his writings.. Up the Republic - Minnie.. Although I also think O'Casey had a a bit of a Behan streak, in that he sung for his supper, by playing to the gallery.. An interesting fact about 1916 is that a lot of the Citizen Army lads from the inner-city who'd been active for years, didn't bother to turn up on the big day.. IINM I think it was the Gardner Street section on the northside who had the bulk of absentees..
 

Cruimh

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Who cares what religion he was? He tried his best to unite the Catholic working class and Protestant working class and also, despised and loathed sectarianism with the hatred it deserves. He saw how religion was made to divide people and pointed out to Catholic zealots who were not too found of their Protestant oppressors about the nonsense of religious wars and division:




James Connolly: Fighting Race (1898)

James Connolly's religious beliefs should not be used to score points over the current Irish left.
The Connolly who died after Easter 1916 was a very different man to the Connolly who wrote Fighting Race.
 

cathalbrugha

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The Connolly who died after Easter 1916 was a very different man to the Connolly who wrote Fighting Race.
I've heard you mention this before, that Connolly was somehow OK up until January 1916, but that he was in your mind, a whackjob after that.. Howcome?
 

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