Protestantism's failure in Ireland

Dame_Enda

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
53,666
Just to correct a small detail, the reformation reached Scotland before England, with the lowlands embracing the reformation early on, while the highlands were a little slower on the uptake, but eventually embraced either calvinism or episcopalianism, with the exception of a few pockets of catholic populated areas.

The Gaelic speaking, highlander Campbells were some of the first, if not the first protestants in britain, since the clan chieftan was a good friend of John Knox, he embraced the reformation in its early days as did the rest of the inhabitants in the territory he controlled.
Not true. The Scottish Reformation happened in 1560 - 25 yrs after England. The differences between the Scottish and English Reformations were:

- In England it was imposed from above and there were relatively few native reformers. In Scotland the masses of the population supported it, in part because Catholicism had become associated with French political and military domination of the country during the regency of Marie of Guise (the French widow of James V) which lasted 20 yrs.

- The Scottish Reformation was Calvinist whereas the English version largely kept Catholic ritual, though this lessened under Edward VI and Elizabeth I to some extent.

- The Anglican Church was controlled by the monarchy, while the Scottish one was controlled by the clergy in the General Assembly. Attempts by Charles I to change this with the Book of Common Prayer led to the revolt known as the Bishops Wars in Scotland.
 
Last edited:


Windowshopper

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
8,704
I'm tired of these history threads appearing on the front page. I wish the history crowd would just get out of politics.ie and back to the rural pubs where they belong.
If you don't understand history then you don't understand politics.
 

shiel

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2011
Messages
17,469
The people who are objecting to history being discussed here are brain dead.

If you do not know your history, which is the politics of former times, you are very limited in discussing the politics of the present.

Most of the people here who spew personalised abuse and think it is democratic discourse are ignorant of both history and democracy.
 

Brenny

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 8, 2008
Messages
1,193
Not true. The Scottish Reformation happened in 1560 - 25 yrs after England. The differences between the Scottish and English Reformations were:

- In England it was imposed from above and there were relatively few native reformers. In Scotland the masses of the population supported it, in part because Catholicism had become associated with French political and military domination of the country during the regency of Marie of Guise (the French widow of James V) which lasted 20 yrs.

- The Scottish Reformation was Calvinist whereas the English version largely kept Catholic ritual, though this lessened under Edward VI and Elizabeth I to some extent.

- The Anglican Church was controlled by the monarchy, while the Scottish one was controlled by the clergy in the General Assembly. Attempts by Charles I to change this with the Book of Common Prayer led to the revolt known as the Bishops Wars in Scotland.
You generally right here but I think you're wrong in suggesting that Protestantism was imposed upon the English and that there were few native reformers. I remember investigating the origins of English puritanism (it was a few years ago and the memory is hazy now) and I was a surprised at how the author was able to trace the start of the movement to the early 1500s. There were early reformers (on my lunch break now, no time to look it up) and there was one guy who got into trouble translating the bible into English. Henry VIII was upheld by the Pope as a fine Catholic monarch because he so stoutly resisted Protestantism and was called 'Defender of the Faith' and all that. He never really broke with Catholicism, just the Pope, and my old History lecturer told me that Henry considered himself a Catholic till his dying moments. During his reign the Reformation took hold amongst those below him and in the great universities where most people were going much further than him. Henry's last wife even tried to convert him to 'proper Protestantism' and they used to read religious material and debate whilst in bed at night (exciting!!). The minute old Henry died the son Edward took over and proper Protestantism was installed and then when the young fella died his sister Mary imposed Catholicism on the people. When Liz the first took over she had to go for a compromise because of the mess that had preceded her. Anglicanism was far too moderate for a large group of people in England who formed a loose grouping known as the 'Puritans' (they never called themselves that, they called themselves the 'Godly' or something like that).

If anything, the sources that I have come across suggest that the English wanted to be much more Protestant than they were generally allowed. When I was young I didn't have a clue about Protestantism and figured that their church services must involve chanting backwards and animal sacrifice and the like. When I actually found out more about Episcopalianism/Church of Ireland/Anglicanism I was shocked at how Catholic it was, and then Presbyterianism is hugely different. In the grand scheme of things Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism are similar and I find it difficult to see how Presbyterianism (and other reformed churches) and the Church of Ireland have managed to find common ground in this country for the past two hundred years.
 

The Owl

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2011
Messages
2,901
The post from Brenny, above is really good. The poor people in England couldn't do anything right during the period of Henry Vlll. He kept changing and so many reformers who took to preaching in the streets would be in royal favour one day and liable to be hauled off and burnt at the stake the next. And the monasteries had grown very powerful, rich and greedy, and a lot of them were as religious as me, zilch, and generally withdrew from helping the local people. So the peasantry were quite pleased to see them plundered, only to find that Lord Richard Rich and Thomas Cromwell et al were making a fortune for themselves out of reformation. Not to mention funding the 3 wars Henry started with France, bankrupting the country, and even the Mint created a very cheap coin which was refused by traders at face value so the peasants starved, again.

We were to a large extent left alone for a long period of time and the priests used Ireland as a backdoor to get into Britain. But I still maintain that the Irish people, who have a love of discussing, life, death and the after-life especially, and were also very superstitious, (the fairy folklore which survived forever it seems), were never going to change for the English, the enemy. On the surface, maybe, but beneath, never.
 

Brenny

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 8, 2008
Messages
1,193
Patrick Corish and Colm Lennon each examined recusancy amongst the Old English in cities like Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, and Kilkenny and determined that these people chose to remain Catholic out of conscience, often to their utter financial ruin. The landed Old English, however, either willingly conformed in order to hold their lands or they casuistically conformed externally while internally/privately they behaved as Catholics, as Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote about the family of Edmund Burke. But there were even exceptions to this-- Edmund Spenser's family, for example, by the late 17th c. had converted to Catholicism.
It always seemed to me that the Old English/Norman/Cambro-Norman/Anglo-Irish population were the ones who led counter-reformation charge in Ireland and that the Gaelic Irish just took a back seat. I remember reading about how a small few Gaelic lords agreed to become Protestant during the reign of Edward and more would have agreed if the more missionaries would have got off their arses and maybe tried to learn the odd cupla focal. The way I read it the Gaelic lords in question treated it very casually, kind of like changing a mobile network provider today and when Mary came in and everything went Catholic again they just shrugged their shoulders and decided to try stay out of it all. The guys who led the counter reformation in my own area (Limerick) were Jesuits with names like 'Wolfe.' No Macs or Os were involved.

I think the overwhelming number of landed families, Gaelic or Old English, converted and that was the main point of the Penal Laws. There was one landed family in Limerick County named O'Grady who converted in the 1700s but the first generation or so were just sham Protestants but by the second generation the O'Grady in question had to marry a proper Protestant woman to ensure that he kept the land and all that (legislation had caught up with the fake Protestants and local government was encircling them at this stage). He went to Mass himself but the wife made sure that the kids were brought up in the Protestant faith, it was said of him at the time,

He goes to church for fear of his wife and he goes to Mass for fear of the devil.
Pretty common scenario amongst the landed class in the 1700s.
 

GDPR

1
Joined
Jul 5, 2008
Messages
217,782
It is hard not to come to the conclusion that the successful, powerful and dominant English never got over their contempt for the Irish.

The Irish reaction to this contempt was, inevitably, equally extreme.

How could the English expect to convert Irish people to their point of view when they regarded them as sub-human? Why bother anyway? They do not count.

The plantations, the penal laws and even the reaction of the English to the famine epitomise this.

Whatever it was it was not Christian. Is it surprising, therefore, that their brand of religion was not a great success?
You are right the native Irish did not count. If you look at the 1659 Census of Ireland each Brit person was noted in some detail, while the Irish natives were numbered collectively and generally unnamed. For example "O'Reyly and several relations". This isn't the exact quote but it is similar. The joke is on the Brits because they never really knew just how many irish there were.
 

Campion

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 4, 2011
Messages
593
It always seemed to me that the Old English/Norman/Cambro-Norman/Anglo-Irish population were the ones who led counter-reformation charge in Ireland and that the Gaelic Irish just took a back seat. I remember reading about how a small few Gaelic lords agreed to become Protestant during the reign of Edward and more would have agreed if the more missionaries would have got off their arses and maybe tried to learn the odd cupla focal. The way I read it the Gaelic lords in question treated it very casually, kind of like changing a mobile network provider today and when Mary came in and everything went Catholic again they just shrugged their shoulders and decided to try stay out of it all. The guys who led the counter reformation in my own area (Limerick) were Jesuits with names like 'Wolfe.' No Macs or Os were involved.

I think the overwhelming number of landed families, Gaelic or Old English, converted and that was the main point of the Penal Laws. There was one landed family in Limerick County named O'Grady who converted in the 1700s but the first generation or so were just sham Protestants but by the second generation the O'Grady in question had to marry a proper Protestant woman to ensure that he kept the land and all that (legislation had caught up with the fake Protestants and local government was encircling them at this stage). He went to Mass himself but the wife made sure that the kids were brought up in the Protestant faith, it was said of him at the time,



Pretty common scenario amongst the landed class in the 1700s.
I still maintain that we underestimate the role played by the Observant friars in Gaelic Ireland because there aren't archival materials available. The Old English may have tried, under duress, to create a religious culture like that of the rest of Catholic Europe in the 17th-18th centuries, but the Gaelic Irish still made their way to Lough Derg and they made their stations at the well and celebrated their patterns every year and were preached to by the rural friars. It just didn't look like the vision of a Charles Borromeo.
 

Brenny

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 8, 2008
Messages
1,193
I still maintain that we underestimate the role played by the Observant friars in Gaelic Ireland because there aren't archival materials available. The Old English may have tried, under duress, to create a religious culture like that of the rest of Catholic Europe in the 17th-18th centuries, but the Gaelic Irish still made their way to Lough Derg and they made their stations at the well and celebrated their patterns every year and were preached to by the rural friars. It just didn't look like the vision of a Charles Borromeo.
Yes, and I also think that the relative poverty of the Church in Ireland at the time meant that the arguments which were relevant in Britain and mainland Europe (fat rich churchmen pocketing money for themselves) would not have worked. Surveys of Catholic Ireland before the reformation described most churchmen as having, 'One set of vestments, one wooden chalice......ect.' I always got the impression that the religious orders had a good relationship with the people in Ireland during this time and served the people well with hospitals and so forth.
 

Lempo

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2012
Messages
6,240
Yes, and I also think that the relative poverty of the Church in Ireland at the time meant that the arguments which were relevant in Britain and mainland Europe (fat rich churchmen pocketing money for themselves) would not have worked. Surveys of Catholic Ireland before the reformation described most churchmen as having, 'One set of vestments, one wooden chalice......ect.' I always got the impression that the religious orders had a good relationship with the people in Ireland during this time and served the people well with hospitals and so forth.
Can I read that so that in Ireland there neither was those problems they cooked up in the continental Europe between the Pope and different kings concerning who's right it was to appoint the bishops? Investiture controversy, sale of church offices and so on, all the fun that probably hadn't completely indifferent role later on when the crown-heads started to rift away from Vatican.
 

Riadach

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2007
Messages
12,817
Can I read that so that in Ireland there neither was those problems they cooked up in the continental Europe between the Pope and different kings concerning who's right it was to appoint the bishops? Investiture controversy, sale of church offices and so on, all the fun that probably hadn't completely indifferent role later on when the crown-heads started to rift away from Vatican.
I wouldn't say that now at all. Pastoral care in Ireland seem to have been dominated by the observantines and the mendicant. The regular secular clergy were dominated by erenagh and comharb families. who focussed more on learning than the well-being of their parishoners, and bishoprics tended to be dominated by the strongest dynastic groups. What the observantines probably ensured was that none of this would have effected the ordinary parishoner, so church abuse probably concerned them little especially giving how unsettled Ireland was during the period.
 

McTell

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
6,602
Twitter
No
The evidence is that Henry 8th wanted us to reform top-down, at the time, given that many of our clan chiefs reformed in the late 1530s. Henry swung back towards Rome in 1536, then away again. Edward was Calvinist, Mary was Catholic, Elizabeth had no children and her heir until 1587 was Catholic.

So while the Protestant version would say that we had every chance to reform from the 1530s, and many did so at the time, the following 50 years left everything to chance.
 

Maranatha

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
776
The mass slaughter of protestants (an estimated 150,000 killed) from 1641-1649 led by the counter-reformation Jesuit priests would account for the "failure" of the reformation in Ireland. You can't preach the gospel if you're dead! See Index - 1641 Depositions Project - Department of History - School Of Histories And Humanities - Trinity College Dublin for more information and eye witness testimonies.

The Jesuits were also largely responsible for the bloodshed of the American Civil War... Abraham Lincoln is quoted as follows in 50 YEARS IN THE 'CHURCH' OF ROME by Charles Chiniquy: "This war would never have been possible without the sinister influence of the Jesuits. We owe it to popery that we now see our land reddened with the blood of her noblest sons. Though there were great differences of opinion between the South and the North on the question of slavery, neither Jeff Davis nor anyone of the leading men of the Confederacy would have dared to attack the North, had they not relied on the promises of the Jesuits, that, under the mask of Democracy, the money and the arms of the Roman Catholic, even the arms of France were at their disposal, if they would attack us".
 

Joseph Emmet

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
311
As I remember the reformation began in the German areas of the continent and spread from there. The movement was slow to spread into England as Henry had a firm control over the Isles. Yet headway was made through Scotland and never had a chance to spread to Ireland. Finally Henry could not get the annulment he wanted from the pope so he declared his own church controlled by him alone.
In the 350 years prior too many other attempts we made to suppress, change or alter Irish culture by the various kings of England that had had no real effect, that the native Irish as well as the anglo-irish who had become Irish must have believed that this too would be short term. And then in subsequent years when Henry's church was attempted to be forced upon the Irish the most natural outcome occurred.
This may be too simplistic for some of you deep thinkers, but to this simple mathematician it is logical.
 

Joseph Emmet

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
311
The mass slaughter of protestants (an estimated 150,000 killed) from 1641-1649 led by the counter-reformation Jesuit priests would account for the "failure" of the reformation in Ireland. You can't preach the gospel if you're dead! See Index - 1641 Depositions Project - Department of History - School Of Histories And Humanities - Trinity College Dublin for more information and eye witness testimonies.

The Jesuits were also largely responsible for the bloodshed of the American Civil War... Abraham Lincoln is quoted as follows in 50 YEARS IN THE 'CHURCH' OF ROME by Charles Chiniquy: "This war would never have been possible without the sinister influence of the Jesuits. We owe it to popery that we now see our land reddened with the blood of her noblest sons. Though there were great differences of opinion between the South and the North on the question of slavery, neither Jeff Davis nor anyone of the leading men of the Confederacy would have dared to attack the North, had they not relied on the promises of the Jesuits, that, under the mask of Democracy, the money and the arms of the Roman Catholic, even the arms of France were at their disposal, if they would attack us".
I did not see any redresses to the fact their their lands had recently been stolen and these foreigners were brought in to inhabit their lands.
 

Joseph Emmet

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
311
The mass slaughter of protestants (an estimated 150,000 killed) from 1641-1649 led by the counter-reformation Jesuit priests would account for the "failure" of the reformation in Ireland. You can't preach the gospel if you're dead! See Index - 1641 Depositions Project - Department of History - School Of Histories And Humanities - Trinity College Dublin for more information and eye witness testimonies.

The Jesuits were also largely responsible for the bloodshed of the American Civil War... Abraham Lincoln is quoted as follows in 50 YEARS IN THE 'CHURCH' OF ROME by Charles Chiniquy: "This war would never have been possible without the sinister influence of the Jesuits. We owe it to popery that we now see our land reddened with the blood of her noblest sons. Though there were great differences of opinion between the South and the North on the question of slavery, neither Jeff Davis nor anyone of the leading men of the Confederacy would have dared to attack the North, had they not relied on the promises of the Jesuits, that, under the mask of Democracy, the money and the arms of the Roman Catholic, even the arms of France were at their disposal, if they would attack us".
I did not see any redresses to the fact their their lands had recently been stolen and these foreigners were brought in to inhabit their lands.

However I do see your hate filled post towards the Jesuits.
 
Last edited:

Campion

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 4, 2011
Messages
593
The mass slaughter of protestants (an estimated 150,000 killed) from 1641-1649 led by the counter-reformation Jesuit priests would account for the "failure" of the reformation in Ireland. You can't preach the gospel if you're dead! See Index - 1641 Depositions Project - Department of History - School Of Histories And Humanities - Trinity College Dublin for more information and eye witness testimonies.

The Jesuits were also largely responsible for the bloodshed of the American Civil War... Abraham Lincoln is quoted as follows in 50 YEARS IN THE 'CHURCH' OF ROME by Charles Chiniquy: "This war would never have been possible without the sinister influence of the Jesuits. We owe it to popery that we now see our land reddened with the blood of her noblest sons. Though there were great differences of opinion between the South and the North on the question of slavery, neither Jeff Davis nor anyone of the leading men of the Confederacy would have dared to attack the North, had they not relied on the promises of the Jesuits, that, under the mask of Democracy, the money and the arms of the Roman Catholic, even the arms of France were at their disposal, if they would attack us".
Chiniquy is as rabid an anti papist as one is ever to find. There's nothing to the myth that Lincoln believed the pope was intriguing in America-- Lincoln never said any of those things. There were members of the Republican coalition who had been Know Nothings in the 1850s, but Lincoln wasn't one of them.
 

Riadach

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2007
Messages
12,817
Chiniquy is as rabid an anti papist as one is ever to find. There's nothing to the myth that Lincoln believed the pope was intriguing in America-- Lincoln never said any of those things. There were members of the Republican coalition who had been Know Nothings in the 1850s, but Lincoln wasn't one of them.
Maranatha's figures for the massacre in Ireland might be a little off too!
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top