Sunday 30 November 2014

Why the Roman Catholic Church so rightly condemned the Irish Fenians...and all other terrorist fanatics and revolutionaries

A reader called "Irish Jacobite" asks me (in an earlier post on the Carmelites of Compiegne):

"Why did the Church condemn the Fenians exactly? What were the specific reasons?"

It's a perfectly good question.

Here's why: the Fenians were a parcel of revolutionaries hell-bent upon overthrowing the established order in Ireland - including the clergy - and bringing in a secular republic guided by principles based upon the anti-Catholic French Revolution and upon a form of incipient Communism.

They expressly eschewed the non-violent approach to reform of Daniel O'Connell and deliberately opted for violence and murder of the innocent, particularly police officers.

In short, they were a gang of heathen thugs and murderers.

Bishop David Moriarty of Kerry said of the Fenian leaders (and I quote) that they were:

"criminals, swindlers" and "God's heaviest curse" and "deserving damnation" adding that "eternity is not long enough, nor hell hot enough" for their kind.

I should add that Bishop Moriarty was an Irish patriot. However, he objected to swindlers and murderers.

Bishop David Moriarty, Roman Catholic Bishop of Kerry

Here is what Lawrence John McCaffrey says in his book The Irish Catholic Diaspora in America (1976), page 150:

" to the British government, the Catholic Church in Ireland was the leading foe of Fenianism. Bishops denounced the IRB as a secret, oath-bound society, and denied the sacraments to its known members...[Cardinal] Cullen [the Archbishop of Dublin] and his fellow prelates were also frightened by the violent rhetoric and strategy of the IRB, believing that the group's inspiration came from Giuseppe Garibaldi-style continental, anti-Catholic, radical nationalism and the egalitarian and violent mood of urban America...Cardinal Cullen decreed that no Catholic church in his archdiocese could be used for any religious ceremony that might be construed as an honour to revolutionary nationalism."

Here is what Oliver Rafferty says in his book Catholicism in Ulster, 1603-1983: An Interpretative History (1994) at pages 162-4:

"A more important and decisive intervention in Irish political affairs was the condemnation of Fenianism 'by name'  issued by Pius IX in January 1870...[Cardinal Cullen] called a meeting of the bishops, then all in Rome for the First Vatican Council, and persuaded them in the interests of religion to petition the Holy See for a condemnation of the Fenians. All the Ulster bishops voted in favour of the petition. Pius IX duly obliged and the decree condemning Fenianism was issued at the end of January 1870."

In fact, the decree was a clarification, ordered by Blessed Pope Pius IX to be issued in case there were any doubt that his earlier decrees, including Apostolicae Sedis Moderationi, meant to condemn the Fenians specifically. It was issued on 12 January 1870 by the Roman Inquisition on the direct order of Blessed Pope Pius IX. Here is what it says:

"As it may be doubted by many whether the society of Fenians is included and denounced among the societies condemned in the Pontifical Constitutions, our most Holy Father Pius IX, having first taken the opinions of the eminent cardinals, the inquisitors-general appointed to guard against heretical perversity in the universal Christian republic, lest the hearts of the faithful, particularly the simple, should be perverted, to the imminent danger of their souls, and adhering to the decrees of the congregation of the General Inquisition issued in like circumstances, especially the decree of 5 July 1865, has decreed and declared that the American or Irish society called Fenian is comprised among the societies forbidden and condemned in the Constitutions of the Supreme Pontiff, and in particular by that lately issued by his Holiness, dated 29 October 1869, beginning Apostolicae Sedis in paragraph 4 of which are declared liable to sentence of excommunication, to be removed only by the Pope, 'those sects called Freemasons, Carbonari, or any other kinds of sects which either openly or privately plot against the Church or legitimately constituted authorities, together with those who in any way favour the same; as also their secret heads or leaders, so long as they shall not have denounced them.' He has, therefore, commanded this answer to be given to certain bishops who have asked the question.

Notary of the Holy Roman Inquisition
12 January 1870"

Apostolicae Sedis Moderationi was a papal bull issued by Blessed Pope Pius IX on 12 October 1869 which revised the list of censures that in canon law were imposed automatically (latae sententiae) on offenders. It reduced their number and clarified those preserved. Of the total of 45 censures, one (the fourth among those for which absolution was reserved to the Pope, but not in a special manner) was directed against membership of "Freemasonry, the Carbonari and similar groups".

Some sought to excuse the Fenians from being condemned by this and earlier papal bulls and so Blessed Pope Pius IX ordered the clarification quoted above so that there could be no doubt. He did this at the invitation of the Irish bishops, led by Cardinal Cullen.

His Eminence Paul, Cardinal Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin

Any objective person considering the revolutionary violence espoused by, and practiced by, the Fenians and the IRB can be in no doubt whatsoever that they fully deserved this condemnation. The Fenians and IRB made no bones about committing plain, outright murder to try to get their way.

Since murder is a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance, as the Catechism teaches us, there can be little doubt that unrepentant Fenians and IRB members were in obvious and mortal danger of Hellfire. All Catholics needed to be told this and Blessed Pope Pius IX did not shrink from the task.

The term "Fenian" is an umbrella term used to describe both the Fenian Brotherhood, founded by American John O'Mahoney, and the Irish Republican Brotherhood (originally called the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood), founded by James Fitzjames Stephens on 17 March 1858 in Lombard Street, Dublin, together with Thomas Clarke Luby, John O'Leary and Charles Kickham.

 The odious founder of the Fenians, American rebel and murderer John O'Mahoney 
The odious founder of the IRB, Irish rebel and murderer James Stephens

Both organisations were consciously modelled on the ideas of the French Revolution and the Irish tricolour flag was even brought over to Ireland from revolutionary France by Thomas Francis Meagher for that very reason.

Be in no doubt: the tricolour is an anti-Catholic, revolutionary flag - or, more properly, rag. It deliberately eschews anything resembling the Christian cross.

Generations of Irishmen have been swindled into believing otherwise.

Thomas Francis Meagher,
rabble-rousing revolutionary and promoter of mayhem and violence,
who brought the revolutionary tricolour to Ireland

Both organisations were secret societies with secret, blood-curdling oaths, and they were dedicated to the establishment of an independent, secular Irish republic by violence, murder and mayhem.

O'Mahoney expressly claimed that Irish independence could only be obtained by armed revolution. He was, in effect, an early Communist. Stephens was, if anything, even more openly Communist in his views.

O'Mahoney even managed to help orchestrate the Fenian invasions and raids of Canada from the USA between 1866 and 1871. These raids, which were designed to take over parts of Canada and then try to pressure or blackmail the British government, all failed and ensured that Irish-Canadians ceased to have any sympathy for the Fenians, if they ever had any. It also engendered much anti-American feeling since the American government did little to stop the Fenians using US territory to mount the raids.

Both Stephens and O'Mahoney had participated in the failed 1848 "Young Ireland" rebellion which Dan O'Connell had roundly condemned. The "Young Irelanders" expressly split from O'Connell precisely because he refused to countenance any violence.

In 1867 three Fenians - William Allen, Michael O'Brien and Michael Larkin - attacked a police van trying to release captured Fenian criminals. In so doing they murdered policemen. For this they were later tried and hanged at Salford. The backlash against these violent criminals set back the cause of Irish Home rule by decades. Their murders achieved nothing but grieving widows, a growing hatred of Irish politics and a diminishing of the prospects for Home Rule.

The stark reality is that the peaceful, constitutional campaigns of Dan O'Connell which, a generation earlier, had achieved so much including land reform, Catholic emancipation throughout the British Empire and material assistance for the poor, was gravely prejudiced by the stupid and irrational violence and murders committed by the Fenians.

Daniel O'Connell,
the "Liberator" and the true friend of Ireland,
who forbade violence and used only constitutional and peaceful methods
with the result that he succeeded where the men of violence failed

Home Rule, which could have been achieved in the early to mid-19th century, was set back half a century by the rash and senseless acts of violence of these Fenian terrorists, fanatics and murderers.

The Phoenix Park murders on 6 May 1882 of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish and the Permanent Under-Secretary, Thomas Henry Burke, thoroughly scuppered Home Rule for Ireland since Gladstone's minister, Lord Hartington, was Cavendish's elder brother. He split from Gladstone's Liberal Party, and went on to help form the Liberal Unionist Party, so that the Home Rule Bills of 1886 and 1893 failed.

These atrocious murders of innocent men in Phoenix Park served only to put the cause of Home rule back decades and to cause senseless suffering to the families of the victims. Such are the cankered and hateful fruits of Fenian fanaticism, terrorism and murder.

Lord Frederick Cavendish,
Chief Secretary of Ireland,
murdered in cold blood in Phoenix Park by Fenian terrorist fanatics

Thomas Henry Burke,
Permanent Under-Secretary at the Irish Office
murdered in cold blood in Phoenix Park by Fenian terrorist fanatics.
He was an Irish Catholic in favour of Home Rule and moderate land reform who opposed the men of violence

It was only the long, hard, arduous, dedicated and, above all, peaceful and constitutional continuance, by John Redmond and John Dillon, of O'Connell's campaigns that finally resulted in the Irish Home Rule Act in 1914.

John Redmond MP,
leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons,
a decent and patriotic man who eschewed violence and opposed the men of violence.
He succeeded in getting the Home Rule Bill passed in 1914.

The Phoenix Park murderers, Joe Brady, Michael Fagan, Thomas Caffrey, Dan Curley and Tim Kelly, were all convicted and hanged. They belonged to an obscure off-shoot of the Fenians called the "Irish National Invincibles".

Thus did the Fenians and their allies hopelessly set back the cause of Irish Home Rule by their murders, violence and acts of hatred.

The Fenians and the IRB eventually turned into Sinn Fein and the IRA, both murderous organisations which have continued to massacre the innocent right up until the present day.

In case anyone is in any doubt that the modern IRA has not been openly in favour of murder, here is a reminder from Martin McGuiness, who, although a Cabinet minister in Northern Ireland, has been an openly defiant apologist for killing the innocent. Such a man should automatically be excluded from the government of any civilised nation. 

In this video he says that the IRA punishment for those they consider "informers" is, as McGuinness put is, "death, certainly" meaning they will be murdered by the IRA [LATER NOTE: this video has now been removed by Youtube almost certainly because it shows how utterly dishonest, murdering and appalling, Martin McGuinness truly was.]

Here is an interview with IRA leader, Sean Mac Stiofain, who boasts about murdering the innocent. Ironically, Mac Stiofain was in reality English-born, with an Irish mother, and  was baptised John Stephenson.

Here is an even more disgusting individual, Dan Breen.

An IRA member who was one of those who started the 1919 rebellion, this scoundrel openly boasts of murdering innocent people even to saying that he "makes no apology for killing...and murder" and deceitfully pretends that "all killing is murder". He is a particularly nasty example of the moral poison that was, and still is, Fenianism:


Notice how this ghastly old heathen says he is "not a bit sorry for any man, or God"!

He is not sorry for the murders he committed and, even though he is, as he puts it, in the "winter of his life" he is "not one bit any man or God".

Note that: he is not sorry even to God for the murders he committed. He remains an unrepentant murderer, boasting of his murders.

But he even tells us who his real "gods" were, namely his fellow terrorists like Michael Collins. And his earlier heroes, Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet, were both revolutionary Protestants. Wolfe Tone was a suicide who cut his own throat in prison with a razor blade rather than face the gallows.

This man, Dan Breen, was very far from being a Catholic. He was a terrorist murderer and a hate-filled killer.

He was not even remotely Christian. He was a deep heathen and a violent, murderous revolutionary. He was the very worst sort of person to claim to represent Ireland, a land of Christian saints and scholars. He was the very enemy of true Irishmen and the real Ireland - a shocking criminal, God help him, but a typical representative of the evil genius of Fenianism.

He is also an example of how many of the Fenians were sympathisers with Nazism.

Breen published an account of his guerrilla days, My Fight for Irish Freedom, in 1924. He represented the Tipperary constituency from the fourth Dáil (the Irish Parliament) in 1923 as a "Republican", along with Éamon de Valera and Frank Aiken. He became the first anti-Treaty TD actually to take his seat in 1927 but was defeated in the June 1927 general election and decided to travel to the United States. He returned to Ireland and regained his seat as a member of Fianna Fáil in the Dáil at the 1932 general election.

During World War II he was known to hold largely pro-Axis (i.e. Nazi) views.

According to some, in 1948 an Irish-American visited Breen and was shocked to see two pictures of Adolf Hitler on the wall of Breen's study.

After hearing these appalling villains, it must be clear to any sane human being that the whole Fenian, IRB, Sinn Fein and IRA movement is disgraceful, criminal and immoral and thoroughly deserving of the highest possible condemnation by all men, whether religious or not, whether Irish or not.

It is a movement inspired by Hell itself, as Roman Catholic Bishop David Moriarty rightly stated.
Blessed Pope Pius IX was clearly entirely right to condemn this horrible, murderous movement and all decent people should be grateful to him for doing so.
Blessed Pope Pius IX
who roundly and openly (and rightly) condemned
the Fenians and their fanatical terrorist allies


Eammon Kruger said...

Pope Pius XII blessed and approved of the first Irish Constitution

The Church strongly supported Free State republicanism. The Church was never hostile to republicanism just the methods of the early Fenian movement. In reality the Church praised the Irish republican Blueshirt movement which was an anti-Communist. Indeed, the great republican Eoin O'Duffy (who was a comrade of Michael Collins) led a seven hundred strong Irish Brigade to fight for Franco in Spain's Civil War, this effort was vigorously supported by the Catholic Church. The Dean of Cashel endorsed it stating that:

"The Irish Brigade have gone to fight the battle of Christianity against Communism. There are tremendous difficulties facing the men under O'Duffy and only heroes can fight such a battle"
Cardinal Macrory Archbishop of Armagh and primate of all-Ireland, while addressing seven thousand pilgrims in Drogheda at the shrine of blessed Oliver Plunket expressed his support too...

"There is no room any longer for any doubt as to the issues at stake in the Spanish conflict. It is not a question of the Army against the people, nor the Army plus the aristocracy and the Church against Labour. Not at all. It is a question of whether Spain will remain as she has been for so long, a Christian and Catholic land or a Bolshevist and anti-God one"

Tribunus said...

If you are suggesting that this alters a word of my post or, worse, that the Church supported Fenianism, then you are simply being dishonest - a characteristic all too common amongst Fenians.

In that respect the Fenians copy their true inspiration, the Father of Lies, Satan himself.

Of course Pope Pius XII approved the Irish Constitution since, on paper, it is fine. It makes a point of putting the Catholic religion at its head.

But that in no way excuses the way in which the revolutionaries sought to bring about a republic in Ireland. And it is entirely dishonest to pretend that the Church supported that. It didn't.

Moreover, the close alliance of Archbishop John McQuaid with de Valera has, in the end, done a great deal of harm to the Church in Ireland. McQuaid was, like you, far too uncritical of de Valera and his murderous terrorist methods.

As a matter of fact, the Church certainly did NOT support republicanism. As is pre-eminently clear from the many times the Church praised and supported monarchy, that monarchy is the Church's preferred form of government.

Pope Pius VI described monarchy, in Pourquoi Notre Foix, as "the best of all governments".

Faced with only 2 options, the Church naturally preferred the lesser of two evils i.e. the Free State to the crazy republican revolution of de Valera and his murderous Fenian terrorists and fanatics.

The Church did not praise the Fascism of O'Duffy and his Blueshirts but only their willingness to fight Communism in Spain which was destroying the Church in the country.

Indeed, Pope Pius XI expressly condemned Fascism in Non Abbiamo Bisogno.

Your references to the Dean of Cashel and Cardinal Macrory are characteristically incomplete and thus far from honest.

They praised the decision to go to Spain to fight Communism (as do I). But that does not mean that these prelates were praising the Fenian roots of O'Duffy's Blueshirts.

On the contrary, they hoped that the struggle against Communism would turn them away from their revolutionary roots.

But you mischievously leave that out.

Shame on you.

It is an undeniable truth that the Pope, Holy Office and Bishops of Ireland condemned the Fenians roundly and thoroughly.

There is no getting round it. Fenianism is, and always was, an appallingly black, ugly evil and an insult to all that is truly Irish and Catholic.

Fact. Get used to it.

Its adherents cannot escape Hellfire unless they repent of their attachment to this appalling evil.

God grant that they shall all do so.

Bremen Bod Blog said...

"the Church praised and supported monarchy, that monarchy is the Church's preferred form of government"

I think that's only true if the Monarch is Catholic and not persecuting and even killing Catholics in Tsarist Russia, the Bismark's Prussia or even Britain. What of European Christian Democracy, surely this is the ultimate expression of the very best form of Catholic politics in Government? Adenauer in Germany? De Gaulle in France?

Anonymous said...

Sir, you entire reasoning for our urch's opposition to Republicanism rest on the use of violence as the reason for invalidation. This type of selective theology takes no account of the use of equally unchristian violence used by various monarchs and royal families to spread empire and supress democracy. Mother Church also condemns such behaviour from Kings also.

Tribunus said...

No, Zuckerbecker. Incorrect.

The Church supports all legitimately constituted governments and always opposes revolution.

The Church will, however, oppose any usurper and support his replacement by the legitimate government, with arms if necessary, but only where it is proportionate under the rules of just war.

This is because no subject or inferior has the right to overthrow a properly constituted superior power - under ANY circumstances.

The inferior cannot judge the superior. That is the Church's teaching.

However, a legitimate government-in-exile IS superior and hence can authorise any attempted restoration (if it be proportionate).

That is not revolution but restoration.

Revolutions are ALWAYS wrong.

As a matter of fact, the Church supported the Tsar's regime in Russia as the legitimate government of Russia and refused to give any support whatever to Tadeusz Kosciusko's Polish revolutionaries who were seeking to "liberate" Poland from Russian rule.

You may "think" what you like but your "think" is not in accordance with either historical fact or Catholic doctrine.

The Church's relationship with Bismarck was more strained because the German Empire was a false usurpation, by force of arms and aggression, of the old Catholic German Empire under the Habsburgs.

That was inevitably condemned by the Church (as all usurpers are)together with the Bismarckian campaign of imprisoning bishops over the mixed marriage laws.

The bogus German Empire led on to WWI and was replaced by Nazism, both grave evils.

Nevertheless, the Church did not support overthrowing it by force, not least because that would have been disproportionate.

And, so far as I am aware, the German Empire did not murder Catholics.

Likewise, the Church supported the British government as the legitimate government of the British Isles, Ireland included, and strongly opposed revolution in Ireland.

The Church supports legitimate government, not just Catholic government, wherever it may be.

European Christian Democracy has been a failure and has become corrupt, anti-Christian and inept.

It is very far from good government, let alone the fatuously rose-tinted view that you suggest i.e. the "ultimate expression of the very best form of Catholic politics in Government". Are you joking? You must be. The CD parties have been a dismal failure and are now as secularist as any government.

Konrad Adenauer in Germany did the best he could with what was available and is to be saluted for it. However, he was always a monarchist.

Likewise Alcide de Gasperi in Italy.

Charles de Gaulle in France was a different matter. He allowed the advance of secularisation of France in the name of "nationalism" and allowed many evils that he should have restrained.

As I said, Pope Pius VI described monarchy as "the best of all governments" in Pourquoi Notre Foix.

You will not find any papal statement saying the same about modern republicanism which is, in any case, a creature of the immoral and grotesque French Revolution with its diabolical hatred of religion and Catholicism.

So - as I said: "the Church praised and supported monarchy... monarchy is the Church's preferred form of government".


Tribunus said...

Dear Anonymouse,

You are using neither your eyes nor your brain - both God-given in order to be used, not misused, abused or ignored.

No, my "entire reasoning", if you bothered to read the article, is not so based.

The Church opposed Fenianism because it was thoroughly evil all round, inspired by the twin evils of secularist Nationalism and Communism, not Catholicism.

It is, in fact, you republicans who try to use theology selectively and, worse, dishonestly.

The Church's position (set out well by Pope Pius VI and St Thomas, as I said) is clearly in favour of monarchy.

The Church, moreover, has been bitterly and strenuously opposed to the kind of secularist nationalism that arose in the 19th century, following the French Revolution, of which Fenianism is a classic example.

It did so because such secularist Nationalism is, and was, thoroughly, inescapably and inexcusably evil.

You need only read a few from the long list of papal encyclicals written at the time of each of the many secularist nationalist revolutions in Europe to see the depth of feeling with which successive popes sternly and gravely censured such revolutions.

Selective theology?

Come now.

Next you'll be telling us that your anonymous posts are more authoritative than the succession of papal encyclicals!

Give yourself a break and come back from fantasyland.

As for the "unchristian violence used by various monarchs and royal families to spread empire and supress democracy" as per usual with you republican fantasists, you give not a single example.

Holy Mother Church certainly condemns, and has condemned unlawful violence from Kings, whether Catholic or not, but the simple historical fact is that monarchies, with few exceptions, have a far, far better record than modern republics.

And you will certainly not find Holy Mother Church condemning the lack of democracy, which is no sin, in anything like the same terms as unlawful violence, which is a grave sin.

Your attempt to equate and elide the two is yet another example of republican nationalist duplicity.

I suggest you do some serious and deep reading instead of wishful thinking.

Tribunus said...

Dear Republicans,

Is it too much to ask you to come up with some well-reasoned and well-argued defence of your position, instead of the half-baked stuff we've been getting from you so far?


Anonymous said...

The Irish Republican movement and its terrorist action backed by the silences and equivocations of priests and bishops has done more damage to the Catholic cause in Ireland and England than anything else. I speak as someone who was born and lived there until I moved to England in 1976. Many English people who might have been drawn to the faith were and are disgusted by the anti-English and violent actions of these people.

Tribunus said...

Hear, hear!

Well said, sir.

I totally agree.

Most of my relations (who are not Catholic) have been precisely put off the faith by the fanatic Irish republican terrorist murderers.

They have a lot to answer for!