Friday 31 December 2021

Happy Christmas to everyone!

Christmas 2021

O most Holy Night, all the earth being at peace...

Sebastiano Conca. Adoration of the Shepherds. 1720.

O Adonai,
et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Prince and Commander of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
[Great O Antiphon for 18 December, sung before the Magnificat at Vespers]

Non auferetur sceptrum de Iuda, et dux de femore eius, donec veniat qui mittendus est: et ipse erit expectatio gentium

The royal sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruling prince from his loins, until He come that is to be sent, and He shall be the expectation of the nations.
[Genesis 49:10, sung at Vespers of the Advent Office]

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room in the Inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an Angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them, and they feared with a great fear. And the Angel said to them 'Fear not; for behold I bring you tidings of great joy that shall be to all people. For this day is born to you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger'. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.' "
[Luke 2:4-14]
[The Gospel of the Nativity of Our Lord, the first Mass of Christmas at midnight]

The Eighth Day before the Calends of January, being


In the 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

the 2957th year after the flood;
the 2015th year from the birth of Abraham;
the 1510th year from Moses, and the giving forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the 1032nd year from the anointing of King David;
in the 65th week according to the prophesy of Daniel;
in the 194th Olympiad;
the 752nd year from the foundation of the City of Rome;
the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus,

all the earth being at peace,


the eternal God,
and Son of the eternal Father,
desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
nine months after His conception
was born in Bethlehem of Judaea,


[Sung at Prime on Christmas Day from the Roman Martyrology]

Puer natus est nobis,
et filius datus est nobis, cujus imperium super humerum ejus et vocabitur nomen ejus, magni consilii Angelus.

Unto us a child is born,
a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder and His name shall be called Angel of great counsel."
[Isaias 9:6]
[Introit of the third Mass of Christmas, during the daytime]

Happy Christmas to all!

Sunday 12 September 2021

REMEMBER 9/11 and THE HOLY NAME OF MARY! Remember the charge of the Polish cavalry at the Battle of Vienna 1683 and Count Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Muret 1213, the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary....

Let us remember 9/11 and, in particular, 12 September, which is the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.

It is the day that the cavalry of Poland and the Holy Roman Empire saved Christian Europe, aided by the Holy Mass and the Holy Rosary.

It is, perhaps, no accident that the 9/11 terrorists chose the first day of the Battle of Vienna, 11 September, to launch their now world-famous attacks on the World Trade Towers in New York City.

After the loss of the Holy Land, the Eastern Roman Empire and control of the Mediterranean, Christendom was in constant danger of being overwhelmed by the Muslim Ottoman Turks and the Protestant Reformation further weakened the defences.

Moreover, Catholic Christendom was fighting, now, on two fronts against both Muslim and Protestant and might, at any time, be swept away altogether.

Particular determination, tenacity and courage were now needed more than ever from the defenders of Christendom.

Fortunately, courage was not lacking.

In September 1529, after defeating the Hungarians at the Battle of Mohacs, the Ottoman Turks and their allies laid siege to Vienna – the famous Siege of Vienna of 1529.

After a tremendous struggle the Austrians, under the 70-year-old Count Nicholas von Salm, were finally victorious, although Salm himself was killed during the siege.

Statute in Vienna of Nicholas, Count of Salm,
the posthumous victor against the Turkish Siege of Vienna of 1529

On 7 October 1571, the Ottoman Turks had seized the opportunity to launch a vast fleet to conquer as much of Christendom as they could conquer.

Almost miraculously, they were defeated at the Battle of Lepanto by the combined Christian fleets under the command of Grand Admiral Don John of Austria, the illegitimate son of the Roman Emperor, Charles V.

To these were added the prayers of Christendom since the pope, Pope St Pius V, had ordered a Christendom-wide Rosary prayer campaign for victory.

Moreover, a copy of the miraculous image of our Lady of Guadalupe sat in the cabin of Don John throughout the battle. The victory of Lepanto was commemorated by a new Feast, that of our Lady of Victory (or Victories) which was later made universal and, later still, re-named the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary.

The Battle of Lepanto, 7 October 1570
was won by the Christian fleet, commanded by Grand Admiral Don John of Austria, heavily outnumbered 3 to 1 by the Turkish Muslim fleet. The Feast of our Lady of Victories, later our Lady of the Holy Rosary, was instituted as a result by the Pope to commemorate this victory which, once again, narrowly saved Christendom from Turkish conquest.

In 1716, Pope Clement XI inscribed the Feast of our Lady of the Holy Rosary on the universal calendar in gratitude for the victory gained by Prince Eugene of Savoy, commander of the Imperial forces of the Habsburg Roman Emperor, on 5 August at Peterwardein in Vojvodina, in Serbia.

Earlier, however, on 11 September 1683 – 9/11 no less – came the Battle of Vienna of 1683, when King Jan (John) III Sobieski of Poland-Lithuania, also accompanied by Christendom-wide praying of the Rosary, delivered Vienna and Christendom once again from the Muslim Ottoman Turks and protected the Holy Roman Empire of Emperor Leopold I from imminent destruction.

His Imperial Majesty, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I
The Holy Roman Empire, under this Habsburg emperor, was the main bastion of defence against the Turkish invasion which aimed to subdue the whole of Christendom. The Emperor had to face, also, revolts and rebellions from anti-Catholic, anti-Imperial, treacherous, Protestants and nationalists within his empire, whilst also trying to defend Europe from the Turkish invasion. 

After the victory of Sobieski over the Turks, Blessed Pope Innocent XI, extended the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary to the whole Church to be celebrated on 12 September in memory of the deliverance of Christendom. The feast was extended to the universal Church and assigned to the Sunday after the Nativity of Mary by a decree of 25 November 1683, or, if that was not possible, then it had to be kept on 12 September.

12 September had also been the day of the Battle of Muret 1213, when Count Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester (father of the founder of the English parliament) and 700 knights had defeated the Albigensian army of some 50,000, whilst St Dominic and several of his Friars Preachers (later Dominicans) were praying the Rosary in the church of Muret.

Count Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester
led an army of 700 knights, on 12 September 1213, from the town of Muret, to sally forth and defeat an army of 50,000 Albigensian heretics led by King Pedro de Aragon.
St Dominic
and several of his Friars Preachers were praying the Rosary in the main church of Muret as the Crusaders defeated the Albigensians. King Pedro was slain and the Albigensian army fled in disarray.

But 9/11 was the day that the battles began in each case.

The Battle of Vienna took place on 11 September and 12 September 1683, after Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months. The battle broke the advance of the Ottoman Empire into Europe, and marked the political leadership of the Habsburg dynasty and the beginning of the end of the Ottoman Muslim Empire.The battle was won by Polish-Austrian-German forces led by Emperor Leopold I and King Jan III Sobieski against the Ottoman Empire army commanded by Grand Vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha.

King Jan III Sobieski was also the grandfather of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie", who led the Jacobite uprising in Britain to restore his father, the rightful king, to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland.

King Jan III Sobieski, King of Poland-Lithuania
His arrival at the Battle of Vienna with a huge Polish army turned the tide and, leading his Polish lancer-hussars, the Husaria, in a massive charge down the Kahlenberg mountain, together with Imperial cavalry, he utterly routed the Turkish army who fled believing they had been attacked by an "army of Djinns"!

The siege itself began on 14 July 1683 with an the Ottoman Empire army of approximately 138,000 men. The decisive battle took place on 12 September, after the united relief army of 70,000 men had arrived, pitted against the Ottoman army.

The battle marked the turning point in the 300-year struggle between Roman Christendom and the Ottoman Empire.

The siege before the Battle of Vienna (1683)

The capture of the city of Vienna had long been a strategic aspiration of the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman Empire had even been providing military assistance to dissident Hungarians and to anti-Catholic minorities in Habsburg-occupied portions of Hungary. There, in the years preceding the siege, Ottoman-fomented unrest had become open rebellion upon Leopold I's pursuit of Catholic Counter-Reformation principles.

King Jan Sobieski salutes the Roman Emperor Leopold I

In 1681, Protestants and other anti-Habsburg forces, led by Imre Thököly, were reinforced with a significant force from the Ottoman Muslims, who recognized Imre as King of "Upper Hungary". This support went so far as explicitly promising the "Kingdom of Vienna" to the disloyal and treacherous Hungarians, if it fell into Ottoman hands.

In 1681 and 1682, clashes between the forces of Imre Thököly and the Habsburgs' military frontier forces intensified, which was used as a casus belli by Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha in convincing the Sultan Mehmet IV and his Divan, to allow the movement of the Ottoman Army.

Mehmet IV authorized Kara Mustafa Pasha to operate as far as Győr and Komarom castles, both in northwestern Hungary, and to besiege them. The Ottoman Army was mobilized on 21 January 1682, and war was declared on 6 August 1682.

Sultan Mehmet IV
whose Turkish army invaded Europe, murdering, raping, maiming and enslaving wherever it went, he ordered the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I, to stand outside his palace, to surrender and be decapitated.

Sultan Mehmet IV sent the following declaration to Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I which left no doubt as to his intentions. It stated thus, verbatim:

"We order You to await Us in Your residence city of Vienna so that We can decapitate you... (...) We will exterminate You and all Your followers... (...) Children and adults will be equally exposed to the most atrocious tortures before being finished off in the most ignominious way imaginable..."

There was thus no doubt as to what would be the consequences of a defeat for the Empire.

During the winter, the Habsburgs and Poland concluded a treaty in which Leopold would support Sobieski if the Turks attacked Kraków; in return, the Polish Army would come to the relief of Vienna, if attacked.

The King of Poland prepared a relief expedition to Vienna during the summer of 1683, honouring his obligations to the treaty. He went so far as to leave his own nation virtually undefended when departing from Kraków on 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption of our Lady.

Sobieski covered this with a stern warning to Imre Thököly, the rebellious Hungarian Protestant leader, whom he threatened with severity if he tried to take advantage of the situation — which, nevertheless, the treacherous Thököly did.

Imre Thököly
the treacherous Hungarian Protestant leader and rebel against his lawful Emperor,
who sided with the invading Turks against Christendom, just for the sake of his petty ambitions and those of short-sighted Hungarian Protestant nationalists.

The main Turkish army finally invested Vienna on 14 July.

Field Marshal Count Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg, leader of the remaining 11,000 troops and 5,000 citizens and volunteers, refused to capitulate.

Field Marshal Count Ernst Rudiger von Starhemberg,
commander of the Vienna garrison, loyal soldier of the Holy Empire and faithful son of the Church.

The Turks dug tunnels under the massive city walls to blow them up with explosives, using sapping mines.

The Ottoman siege cut virtually every means of food supply into Vienna, and the garrison and civilian volunteers suffered extreme casualties. Fatigue became such a problem that Count von Starhemberg ordered any soldier found asleep on watch to be shot.

Increasingly desperate, the forces holding Vienna were on their last legs when in August, Imperial forces under Charles, Duke of Lorraine, defeated, at Bisamberg, 5 km northeast of Vienna, Imre Thököly, the treacherous and disloyal Protestant leader who sided with the Turks.

On 6 September 1683, the Poles crossed the Danube 30 km north west of Vienna at Tulln, to unite with the Imperial forces and additional troops from Saxony, Bavaria, Baden, Franconia and Swabia who had answered the call for a Holy League that was supported by Pope Innocent XI.

Blessed Pope Innocent XI
who extended the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary to the universal Church
after the successful defence of Vienna and Europe from the Turkish invasion.

The devious King Louis XIV of France declined to help and instead used the opportunity to attack cities in Alsace and other parts of southern Germany for his own personal advantage.

Anyone who thinks King Louis XIV of France a good Catholic king really needs to think again. He might just as well have been an arch-enemy considering how he always betrayed his fellow Catholics, the Pope and the Holy Emperor.

During early September, the experienced 5,000 Turkish sappers repeatedly blew up large portions of the walls, the Burg bastion, the Löbel bastion and the Burg ravelin, in between creating gaps of about 12 m in width. The Austrians tried to counter by digging their own tunnels, to intercept the depositing of large amounts of gunpowder in subterranean caverns.

The Turks finally managed to occupy the Burg ravelin and the Nieder wall in that area on 8 September. Anticipating a breach in the city walls, the remaining Austrians prepared to fight in Vienna itself.

The relief army had to act quickly to save the city from the Turks and to prevent another long siege in case they would take it.

Despite the international composition of the Army and the short time of only six days in which to organise, an effective leadership structure was established.

This was largely the work of the extraordinary and holy Austrian Imperial Chaplain-General, Blessed Marco d'Aviano, Emperor Leopold's privy counsellor.

Blessed Marco d'Aviano, OFMCap, Imperial Chaplain-General,
the saintly spiritual leader of this defensive Crusade against the invading Turkish marauders.

The Holy League forces arrived on the Kahlenberg (bare hill) above Vienna, signalling their arrival with bonfires. In the early morning hours of 12 September 1683, before the battle, King Jan personally served a Solemn High Mass, celebrated, of course, in the traditional Roman rite or Usus Antiquior of the Holy Roman Church.

Whilst the Turks hastily finished their mining work and sealed the tunnel to make the explosion more effective, the Austrian "moles" detected the cavern in the afternoon and one brave man entered and defused the mines just in time.

At the same time, the Polish infantry had launched a massive assault upon the Turkish right flank.

After 12 hours of fighting, Sobieski's Polish force held the high ground on the right. At about 5pm, after watching the ongoing infantry battle from the hills for the whole day, four cavalry groups, one of them Imperial Austrian cavalry, and the other three Polish cavalry regiments, totalling 20,000 men, including the famous Husaria, the winged Polish Lancer-Hussars, charged down the hills - the largest cavalry charge in history thus far.

Blessed Marco d'Aviano OFMCap, Imperial Chaplain-General,
preaches to, and inspires, the imperial troops before the battle. In this extract from the film, The Day of the Siege (2012), actor, F Murray Abraham, raised as an Assyrian (Antiochene) Orthodox Christian in the USA, plays the part of Blessed Marco very convincingly and passionately, capturing the spirit of those desperate times when Christendom was so much under siege from the invading Muslim Turkish armies of Sultan Mehmed VI. The clip ends with King Jan III Sobieski leading his Polish cavalry into the charge down the Kahlenberg to conquer the invaders.

The attack was led by the Polish King Jan III Sobieski himself in front of a spearhead of 3000 heavily wing-armoured Polish lancer-hussars.

This charge thoroughly broke the lines of the Ottoman troops. Seizing the initiative, Starhemberg led the Vienna garrison in sallying out of its defences to join the assault.

The massive charge of the Polish winged lancer-hussars which terrified the Ottoman troops and decided the Battle of Vienna. The wings made a terrifying sound as the Polish hussars came charging down the mountainside.

In less than 3 hours after this massive cavalry attack, the Christian Imperial forces had won the battle, saved Vienna from capture and Europe from conquest, and had rescued Christendom from the invading and marauding Turks.

The terrified Turks considered that they had been attacked by "an army of Djinns" or spirits!

One may recall the decisive charge of the Rohirrim from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, to get a flavour of what it must have been like, King Jan III Sobieski leading his Polish hussars just as King Theoden led his Riders of Rohan.

After the battle, Sobieski paraphrased Julius Caesar's famous quote by saying "venimus, vidimus, Deus vicit" - "We came, we saw, God conquered".

The Battle of Vienna, September 1683

The Turks lost about 15,000 men in the fighting, compared to approximately 4,000 for the Habsburg-Polish forces.

Though routed and in full retreat, the Turkish troops had found time to slaughter all their Austrian prisoners, with the exception of those few of the nobility whom they took with them for ransoming.

King Jan vividly described events in a letter to his wife a few days after the battle:

“Ours are treasures unheard of ... tents, sheep, cattle and no small number of camels ... it is victory as nobody ever knew of, the enemy now completely ruined, everything lost for them. They must run for their sheer lives ... Commander Starhemberg hugged and kissed me and called me his saviour.”

The victory at Vienna set the stage for Prince Eugene of Savoy's reconquest of Hungary and the Balkans within the following years.

Long before that, the Turkish Sultan had disposed of his defeated commander. On 25 December 1683, Kara Mustafa Pasha was executed in Belgrade by being throttled with a silken rope by the Sultan's Janissaries, his elite military force consisting of captured Christian children, enslaved and brought up Muslim.

However, it was the end for the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans fought on for another 16 years but lost control of Hungary and Transylvania and capitulated finally by the Treaty of Karlowitz.

Christendom was once again safe.

Because Sobieski had entrusted his kingdom to the protection of our Lady of Czestochowa before the battle, Blessed Pope Innocent XI commemorated his victory by extending the feast of the Holy Name of Mary to the universal Church.

Croissants signify the Turkish crescent being defeated (by being eaten!)

The Battle of Vienna was marked by culinary inventions:

1. The croissant was invented in Vienna to celebrate the defeat as a reference to the crescents on the Turkish flags.

2. The bagel was made as a gift to King Jan Sobieski to commemorate the victory, being fashioned in the form of a stirrup, to commemorate the victorious charge by the Polish cavalry.

The Bagel, symbolising the Polish stirrup of the Husaria

3. After the battle, the Austrians discovered many bags of coffee in the abandoned Turkish encampment. Using this captured stock, and enterprising Pole, Franciszek Jerzy Kulczycki, opened the third coffee house in Europe and the first in Vienna, where, Kulczycki adding milk and honey to sweeten the bitter coffee, thereby invented the cappuccino, so named after Blessed Marco d'Aviano because of the Capuchin Chaplain-General's brown hood.

The Capuccino or "Capuchin",
named after Bl Marco d'Aviano, Imperial Chaplain-General, because of the brown hood he wore as a Capuchin friar (the Italian for Capuchin is "cappuccino")

Our Lady of Czestochowa, pray for us!
Holy Name of Mary, protect us!
Blessed Pope Innocent XI, pray for us!
Blessed Marco d'Aviano, pray for us!

~~ " ~~

Friday 13 August 2021

Irish nationalist republicans are the enemy of the Pope, the Church and the Irish people...

The below is an article by Padraig Og O Ruairc on The Irish Story web site which, although written from the nationalist republican viewpoint accurately records the historical opposition to nationalist republicanism by the Irish Catholic Church.

But it draws the wrong conclusions and thus defeats itself.

It concludes that the Church is the enemy.

Thus does it prove the very problem with nationalist republicanism: it leads directly to national apostacy.

It is the low and dark road to chaos, disorder, anarchy, division and death. In short, it is the low and dark road to Hell for Ireland.

And so it is proving.

Ireland is now neo-heathen Ireland.


“The Pope is the enemy of Irish Republicanism and Irish independence” 

By Padraig Og O Ruairc


Republican women pray outside Mountjoy Gaol in 1920 before the execution of IRA prisoner Kevin Barry.

The official state commemoration marking the centenary of the Soloheadbeg Ambush and the start of the War of Independence began with a Catholic mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Cashel Kieran O’Reilly.[1]

Archbishop O’Reilly’s prominence at the commemoration was interesting given that when the ambush occurred  his predecessors including Monsignor Ryan, the Parish Priest of Tipperary, denounced Soloheadbeg as a criminal act perpetrated by a gang of murders: – “God help poor Ireland if she follows this deed of blood. But let us give her the lead in our indignant denunciation of this crime against our Catholic civilization.”[2]

It has been claimed that the role of the Catholic Church in the Irish independence struggle has been overlooked.

The day after the Soloheadbeg commemoration another state ceremony was held in Dublin’s Mansion House to mark the centenary of the inaugural meeting of Dáil Éireann. This commemoration was criticized by Gabriel Doherty, a historian who lectures at University College Cork, because Doherty claimed that the Catholic Church had played an “important role” during the 1916 Rising that the important role of the church during the War of Independence is was being overlooked because of “the reaction against the Church in recent decades.”

Doherty’s main argument was that ‘The Democratic Programme’ adopted by Dáil Éireann in 1919 contained sentiments that were “Catholic all over” but that the historians and politicians involved in the commemoration were ignorant of this.

Although Doherty acknowledged that Thomas Johnson the leader of the Irish Labor movement wrote the original draft, he claimed that “he [Johnson] wasn’t the author of the text which was endorsed by the Dáil”.  Doherty suggested that the credit for the document should go to Seán T.O’Kelly a Sinn Féin T.D. who was allowed to edit the final draft of the document.

Furthermore Doherty suggested that the imprint of Catholic social teaching was evident in the document and warned that “Ignoring the role of faith in the fight for Irish freedom misrepresents the history of the struggle.” The Irish Catholic newspaper published Doherty’s comments on the front page of its 24th January issue under the headline “Call to honour Church’s key role in the fight for independence.”[3]

David Quinn, leader of The Iona Institute and a former editor of The Irish Catholic, wrote a piece for the Sunday Times which was published on 27th January echoing Doherty’s claims that “the positive influence of the Church should not be overlooked” and stated that “Catholic clergy played a big part in 1916 and many of the rebels had a strong Catholic faith.” -However Quinn expanded on this by suggesting that there should be a stronger emphasis on “nationalism” in commemorations and that the struggle to set up an Irish Republic had a lot in common with “the impulse behind Brexit”.

These calls to celebrate the contribution that the Catholic Church allegedly made to the cause of Irish freedom come at a crucial juncture when Irish people are starting to give serious consideration as to how to commemorate the centenaries of the War of Independence. Doherty and Quinn’s calls for a focus on Catholicism in upcoming commemorations are reminiscent of a similar call by the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmaid Martin. Archbishop Martin wrote a piece in the Irish Times published on the eve of the Centenary of the 1916 Rising which criticized the “clinically secular concept of the way 1916 will be marked” and claimed that the contribution Catholic priests made towards the Rising was being ignored.[4]

An effort is being made to re-write, or at least re-interpret the history of the Catholic Church during the 1916 Rising and War of independence to promote a more positive interpretation of the Catholic Church’s role in the struggle for Irish Independence. The purpose of this article is to examine the specific claims of Doherty, Quinn and Archbishop Martin before assessing the history of the Catholic Church’s attitude towards Irish Republicanism, and its role during the 1916 Rising and War of Independence.

The Democratic Programme


Image result for democratic programme ireland johnson
Thomas Johnson, the labour leader who drafted the Democratic Programme of 1919.

Regarding Doherty’s claim that Sean T. O’Kelly was the author of the final draft of Democratic Programme of the First Dáil, It has always been known that Johnston a Socialist wrote the initial draft of the Democratic Programme and that O’Kelly watered down some of its stronger left-wing sentiments.

However, the final draft adopted by the Dáil was still quite radical and left-wing in its ideology.

Johnston was present at the inaugural meeting of Dáil Éireann and was reported to have been so happy at witnessing the approval of the final draft that he wept tears of joy – so there can be little doubt that the core substance of Johnson’s socialism remained despite O’Kelly’s editing.

Contrary to suggestions that the Democratic Programme of 1919 was Catholic inspired, it was written by Thomas Johnson, a socialist born in Liverpool of Unitarian upbringing.

Suggestions that O’Kelly was more significant in writing the Democratic Programme than Johnson are tantamount to stating that J.K. Rowling’s editor was more responsible than she was in writing Harry Potter!

Rather than restoring O’Kelly, an Irish-Catholic, to his rightful place in history, Doherty’s interview with The Irish Catholic downplays the important role of Johnson, an English-born Protestant (Unitarian), and perpetuates an oversimplified history which associates Irish Republicanism with Catholicism. Doherty’s suggestion that modern day hostility to the Church in an increasingly secular Ireland has led to a cover-up of the Church’s “key role” in the struggle for Irish freedom is questionable.

The Catholic Church has a long record of opposing Irish Republicanism stretching back to the 1790’s and continuing throughout the 1916 Rising and War of Independence – the only “cover-up” was the one which decades later sought to gloss-over the Church’s collaboration with the British.

Concerning David Quinn’s claim that nationalism “was the dominant motive behind Irish independence” during the Irish revolution of 1913 -1923; I would suggest that the ideology of Irish Republicanism was the dominant motive behind the establishment of the Irish Republic.

There is a significant difference between the politics of ‘Catholic-Nationalism’ and ‘Irish-Republicanism’. It is remarkable that Quinn managed to write a lengthy article about the foundation of the Irish Republic without mentioning Republicanism once but he managed to cram numerous references to ‘Nationalism’ and Brexit into his article.

Quinn’s analogy between the War of Independence and Brexit is unsound. It is not a valid comparison to equate Britain’s colonial project in Ireland which the Irish were forced to fight a war to exit, with the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union which the British public chose to enter, and later leave by the simple means of a referendum.

The Catholic Church and the British connection.

A depiction of the Battle of Antrim 1798. The Church condemned the United Irishmen.

As far back as the 1798 rebellion Catholic clergy in Ireland actively supported British rule. The clergy were appalled by the secularism of the United Irishmen’s leaders like Robert Emmet whose proclamation called for the abolition of church tithes and the nationalization of all church property.[5]

John Troy, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, denounced the United Irishmen as an anti-religious conspiracy whose aim was “To destroy the salutary influence of our clergy in this kingdom.”[6]

Meanwhile the British government helped to establish the Catholic Seminary at Maynooth College in 1795. In the words of Lord Russell : “Britain has tried to govern Ireland by force and conciliation and failed No other means are now open to us except those we are now using, namely, to govern Ireland through Rome.”[7]

The Catholic Church condemned both the United Irishmen of 1790s and the Fenians of the 1860s

When the Fenians plotted an uprising in the 1860’s the church was amongst their staunchest opponents.   The Fenian Proclamation of 1867 called for “the complete separation of church and state”.[8] Cardinal Paul Cullen declared that the church would “wage an unrelenting war on the [Fenian] organization”[9], while Bishop Moriarty of Kerry invoked: “God’s heaviest withering, blithing, blasting curse on these Fenian bastards… Hell is not hot enough, nor eternity long enough for such miscreant!!”[10] Pope Pius IX issued a decree in 1870 condemning Fenianism as “… the enemy of the Church and the [British] State” effectively excommunicating all Catholic Fenians.[11]

For the Catholic Church the key to battling Irish Republicanism with its inherent sedition, secularism and anti-Clericalism was control of the education system. The Fenian’s fiercest opponent, Archbishop Cullen, declared in the aftermath of the 1867 Rising: “This ought to convince the British Government that education without religion will promote revolution.”[12]

And indeed the Catholic Church was largely granted control over the education of Irish Catholics after 1831. In that year the British Government established the National Board of Education for Ireland and the Catholic Church gained control of the new National School system which they used to indoctrinate future generations with the tenets of the Catholic faith. While it was often alleged that Church education encouraged Irish militant Irish nationalism, the education that children in Catholic run National schools received was Catholic in religion, predominantly English in culture, and was actively hostile towards the Irish language.

Cork IRA leader Tom Barry, recalled: The Jesuits taught us to rhyme off the names of the Kings of England but nothing of Wolfe Tone or 1798.”[13] Where nationalist history was taught its was given a distinctly Catholic flavour. Dublin IRA volunteer Todd Andrews, was educated by at the Christian Brothers just before the 1916 Rising:

“Contrary to an assertion often made, the Brothers did not deliberately indoctrinate their pupils with hostility to Britain. …We were taught much about the saints and scholars and … we heard rather less about Wolfe Tone and not much about the Fenians. It was a very simplistic history. … Fr Murphy had become a symbol of faith and fatherland. The fact that he was a rare almost unique example of clerical participation in the 1798 rebellion was never referred to; the general opposition of the Church to the rebellion was conveniently forgotten.”


The 1916 Rising


Tom Clarke in 1916. He refused to be reconciled with the Church before his execution.

The 1916 rising is often portrayed as an event steeped in Catholicism because its leader, Patrick Pearse, was a devout Catholic and the insurrection coincided with the Christian holiday of Easter. However the fact that many Protestant-Republicans, veteran Fenians, Suffragettes and Socialists were involved shows that the 1916 Rising was inspired more by radical political ideals than religion.

The Catholic hierarchy certainly did not view the Rising as a Catholic rebellion. Michael Kelly, the Irish-born Archbishop of Sidney denounced the 1916 Rising as “anti-Patriotic, irrational and wickedly irreligious.”[14] Seven other Catholic bishops based in Ireland emphatically condemned the 1916 Rising.[15]

Throughout Ireland Catholic priests condemned the insurrection and, at the British inquiry into the rebellion, Inspector Gelstone of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) testified “Any of the priests who had Sinn Féin tendencies were young. The older priests and the parish priests spoke against the movement.” [16] The Vatican continually telegraphed the Irish bishops during the Rising urging them to use their influence to get the Republicans to surrender.[17]

That the leader of the Rising Patrick Pearse had a deep Catholic faith is not in doubt – but as the son of a Catholic-Irish mother and a Unitarian-English father who espoused Freethinking, Pearse’s own views on religion and its role in society were complex and nuanced.[18]

James Connolly espoused secularism in politics and stated that “Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Freethinker, Buddhist and Muslim will cooperate together … to abolish the capitalist system

Pearse’s play “The Singer” set in Galway during the 1798 Rising was critical of the Church’s role in political matters. The character Maolseachlainn tells the audience: “Some [priests] said there was irreligion in them [the rebels] and blasphemy against God. But I never saw it and I don’t believe it, but there are some [Catholic bishops] who would have us believe that God is on the side of the foreign oppressor.”[19]

Interestingly Pearse himself was later accused of blasphemy by a Jesuit for having declared that the grave of the Protestant-Republican Wolfe Tone, was “the holiest place in Ireland, Holier even than where Saint Patrick sleeps in Down.”[20] Pearse understood the views of others and joked that: “The prospect of the children of [Belfast Protestant district] Sandy Row being taught to curse the Pope in Irish with a Belfast accent is rich and soul satisfying”[21]

Another of the 1916 leaders James Connolly espoused secularism in politics and stated that “Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Freethinker, Buddhist and Muslim will cooperate together … to abolish the capitalist system [and build a Socialist-Republic]”.[22] Connolly had continually condemned the interference of the Catholic Church in Irish politics and stated “the Church has always accepted the establishment … and denounced every revolutionary movement … yet allowed its priests to deliver speeches in eulogy of those movements a generation afterwards.”[23]

At least one of the republican leaders, Thomas Clarke, a Fenian veteran, went to his death without spiritual aid and in conflict with the Catholic Church. Hours before his execution a Catholic priest refused Clarke the sacraments of absolution and Communion unless he would first accept the church’s teaching that the rebellion had been wrong and sinful. Clarke’s wife who met both him and the priest immediately before the execution recalled Clarke telling her: “I told him [the priest] to clear out of my cell quickly… To say I was sorry would be a lie and I was not going to face my God with a lie on my tongue.”[24]

There is no doubt that the leaders of the Rising were Catholics who had a deep personal religious faith, but equally all of them were Irish Republicans who were opposed to the Catholic Church’s interference in political matters. All of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, with the sole exception of James Connolly, were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood whose constitution (Article 18) supported the separation of Church and State – “In the Irish Republic there shall be no state religion but every citizen shall be free to worship God according to his conscience, and perfect freedom of worship shall be guaranteed as a right and not granted as a privilege.”[25]

The pluralism of the leaders of the 1916 Rising is also reflected in the 1916 Proclamation, which stated: “The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally”.[26]

Following the 1916 Rising the IRB’s constitution was updated in 1918 with the insertion of another clause that guaranteed class equality: “There shall be no privileged persons, or classes, in the Irish Republic. All citizens shall equally enjoy equal rights therein.”[27]

When the War of Independence began in January 1919 many of the Sinn Féin TD’s elected to the First Dáil and several members of the IRA ambush party at Soloheadbeg were also members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood – their concept of a republic was one which embraced religious freedom and would not give the church a privileged status in a free Ireland. 

The Catholic Church’s condemnation of Sinn Féin.


Eamon de Valera celebrates his election victory in East Clare.

Throughout 1917 and early 1918 the Irish republican struggle was more political than military in nature as the newly reformed Sinn Féin party stood candidates in several by elections in 1917 before winning a landslide political victory in the 1918 General Election in Ireland [Note: No, Sinn Fein secured less than 50% of the vote. But - thanks to some fancy gerrymandering - they did win a large majority of seats].

The East Clare By-Election of July 1917 was one of the first electoral contests facing Sinn Féin and their candidate, the 1916 Rising veteran Eamon de Valera, faced stern opposition from many of the local Catholic priests.

One of the leading anti-Republican Clerics in the county was Fr Michael Hayes, The Parish Priest of Feackle, who denounced Sinn Féin as having “a policy of socialism, bloodshed and anarchy which struck at the root of authority, peace and Christianity” and he condemned Sinn Féin for posing “a great danger to our country and our religion”.[28]

Many clerics were hostile to the rise of Sinn Féin in 1917-18, though the Church as a whole did not condemn the party.

A few of the younger priests in Clare did support de Valera, but the more senior Parish Priests were solidly behind de Valera’s opponent. The Catholic Bishop of Killaloe Dr. Fogarty steadfastly refused to comment on which candidate should be supported until after the result was announced when Bishop Fogarty swiftly broke his silence to announce he had voted for the winning candidate – de Valera!

In the Kilkenny City by-election of August 1917 Sinn Féin faced opposition from the Bishop Brownrigg of Ossary, who wrote to the press attacking Sinn Féin. The people ignored the Bishop, and the Sinn Féin candidate won by a landslide.

Following the series of Sinn Féin victories in the 1917 by-elections it was obvious that there was a groundswell of support for Sinn Féin and that many senior clergy were out of touch with their flock. In early 1918 the “Conscription Crisis” forced Sinn Féin into a temporary political alliance with the Catholic Church and the Irish Parliamentary Party who all had a common platform in opposition to the extension of British military conscription to Ireland.

By December 1918 the Irish Parliamentary Party were a spent force throughout most of southern Ireland and it seemed likely that Sinn Féin were destined to sweep the electoral boards. It was a different story in Ulster however where the Irish Parliamentary Party still had a great deal of support and the Catholic Church in the north brokered an electoral pact between the two parties in an attempt to prevent conflict and guarantee their candidates did not split the Republican-Nationalist vote to the advantage of the unionists.

By the time of Sinn Féin’s [gerrymandered] landslide [no, they got less than 50% of the popular vote] victory in the 1918 General Election in Ireland Catholic criticism of the party had become more muted but even after this there were still occasional outbursts of criticism from the clergy.

In April 1919 Bishop Kelly of Ross condemned [Countess but - hypocritically - republicanConstance Markievicz, Richard Corish and other Sinn Féin TD’s for expressing support for the Russian Revolution and declared that Irish Republicanism would lead to “devastation and destruction”. Bishop Kelly had a few weeks earlier, banned the saying of prayers in churches in his diocese for the Sinn Féin T.D. Pierce McCann who had died [from the flu' epidemicin an English prison.[29]


The Catholic clergy’s condemnation of the IRA during the War of Independence.


An IRA ‘Squad’ from South Tipperary. (Courtesy of the Irish Volunteer website).

Whatever ambivalence the Catholic clergy showed towards the rise of Sinn Féin, they were unequivocal in their condemnation of political violence in pursuit of the Irish Republic in the years afterwards.

The Sunday after the Soloheadbeg Ambush Cannon Ryan, the Parish priest of Tipperary, condemned the IRA as “murderers with blackened faces and blackened hearts who gave their victims no chance .[30]

Fr Slattery of Soloheadbeg condemned the ambush as “a shocking criminal affair” whilst his colleague Fr Keogh condemned the attack as “ a frightful outrage … worse than the crimes of Bolshevik Russia”.[31]

The Catholic clergy were unequivocal in their condemnation of political violence in pursuit of the Irish Republic.

Another priest Fr Condon declared: No good cause would be served by such crimes which would bring on their country disgrace and on themselves the curse of God.’ One of the participants in the ambush, [unrepentant IRA murderer, terrorist and heathen] Dan Breen later stated “It’s a terrible pity that we didn’t shoot a few bishops!”[32]

Condemnation of the IRA’s military campaign by the clergy did not end with Soloheadbeg, it continued week after week for the next two years.  Bishop Gaughran of Meath condemned the IRA as “criminals … as savage as the bushmen of the forest.”

Fr John Burke of Menlough, Galway ridiculed the IRA as “tin-pike soldiers who think they can beat England”. Fr Enright of Miltown Malbay, Clare denounced the IRA’s struggle as “absolute insanity” and proclaimed that “It is folly to make an attempt to overthrow the power of the British Government”. Bishop MacRory of Down and Connor stated that the IRA were “atheists and nihilists”.

Fr Gleeson of Lohrra placed a “curse” on the IRA: “May the curse of Cain, the curse of the priest and the curse of God fall on these [IRA] murderers!”[33] Archbishop Gilmartin of Tuam also denounced the IRA as “murderers” and cursed men “…who must answer before the bar of divine justice”.[34]


Excommunication –  denying IRA Volunteers the Sacraments and Christian burial.


The ruins of Cork, December 12, 1920. Bishop Conlohan of Cork excommunicated IRA members after the city centre was burned by the Auxiliaries.

The clergy also used their spiritual authority to try and break the IRA’s resistance to British rule. On 11th December 1920 the IRA killed an RIC Auxiliary Cadet during an ambush in Cork City. That night members of the British forces retaliated by assassinating two IRA members and burning the centre of Cork.

The following morning the Bishop Colahan of Cork, issued a pastoral decree, directed not at the British Forces, but against the I.R.A.. It declared that anyone taking part in an ambush was guilty of murder and would be excommunicated.

Given that the overwhelming majority of the IRA’s Volunteers were [heathens and notCatholics the bishop’s decree sparked outrage amongst republicans. A Sinn Féin member Cork City Corporation Councillor Ó Cuill attacked the Bishop saying; He stands now only where his people [the clergy] always stood – in the wrong.”

After the burning of Cork in December 1920, Bishop Colohan declared that anyone taking part in an IRA ambush was guilty of murder and would be excommunicated

The threat of excommunication and the refusal of sacraments were also widely used by priests in an attempt to break the will of IRA prisoners in British custody. Todd Andrews remembered Catholic priests visiting the republican prisoners on hunger in Mountjoy using their religious and social position to try and force them to end a hunger strike: “I had a visit from the prison chaplain.  … he warned me that I was wilfully endangering my life which was an immoral act totally forbidden by the Commandments. … The chaplain was doing the dirty work required by his British employers.”[35]

Not content with merely demoralizing republican prisoners in British custody the Catholic Church were also involved in incarcerating some of those involved in the Republican movement – For example; Maria Bowles a thirteen year old girl whose older brother Mick Bowles was the IRA Quartermaster of the Colgheen Company of the IRA in Cork was captured by the British Forces whilst trying to hide arms in January 1921.

Bowles’ punishment for her assistance to the IRA was imprisonment in a Magdalene Laundry run by the Catholic Church [36]. Fortunately, Bowles' comrades managed to secure her transfer and eventual release. Given the Catholic Church’s record in the War of Independence and Civil War it is unsurprising that the republican newspaper An Phoblacht was the only Irish newspaper in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s which openly condemned the exploitation of children in the Catholic Church’s institutions [37] [It did no such thing! Indeed, this would have been the supreme hypocrisy coming from an IRA newspaper that supported the IRA and its campaign of brutal murder and torture of children].

Another method used by the Catholic clergy in an attempt to undermine the republican struggle was the refusal to hold funeral services for IRA Volunteers killed by the British forces.

Fr Andrew Nestor, the Parish Priest of Ennistymon in Clare, refused to allow the funeral of IRA Volunteer Michael Conway, who had been shot dead by the British Army, to enter his church[38]. Likewise the Parish Priest of Murroe, a Fr Dwane, had initially refused to allow the burial in the local graveyard of two IRA Volunteers who had been killed by the British Army in May 1921 [39]. Throughout Ireland it was a common for the funerals of  IRA Volunteers to be barred from entering Catholic churches on the orders of the clergy.

The month of December 1920 was key in the clergy’s attitude toward the IRA – that month two Catholic priests were killed by the British forces [in fact they had been murdered by the IRA and then blamed upon British forcesand in the aftermath of these shocking murders condemnation of the IRA by the Church hierarchy either tailed off or became more nuanced in the final months of the war.

For example on 20th March 1921 Bishop Finegan in Cavan called for prayers for the IRA volunteers, IRA killed at Selton Hill in Leitrim and executed by the British in Dublin, whilst issuing a call condemning violence by both the British and IRA: ‘To be “shot while getting away” [the killing of IRA prisoners in British custody] and ambushing is murder. Ireland is not at war. Shooting of police and soldiers [by the IRA] is murder.’[40]


Spies, Informers & Priests – The Catholic Clergy and British Intelligence.


RIC Auxiliaries, 1921.

One of the most important military aspects of the War of Independence was the ‘Intelligence War’ waged between the IRA and the British forces. During the conflict the British Forces regarded Catholic priests as a valuable asset and source of intelligence information:

“The informer is throughout Ireland held in abhorrence. This feeling made it very difficult to obtain information during 1920 – 21, … the bulk of the people were our enemies … [however one] class which could be tapped [for intelligence information] were, the clergy who generally are safe in Ireland whatever their religion.”[41]

Several priests acted as informers for British forces.

One of the most notorious Catholic priests to become an informer during the conflict was  Fr Hayes, the Parish Priest of Feakle in Clare. Thomas Tuohy a local IRA Volunteer recalled: “Fr. Hayes, a violent imperialist, strongly denounced the I.R.A. from the pulpit. He referred to us as a murder gang [which, indeed, they were!], and declared that any information which he could get would be readily passed on to the British authorities and that he would not desist until the last of the IRA murderers was strung up by the neck.  … for some time afterwards services at which he officiated were boycotted by his congregation.” [42]

The Parish Priest of Newmarket-On-Fergus, Cannon O’Dea gathered information for the British Army and had it communicated directly to Captain Kelly the Intelligence Officer for the British Army’s 6th Division. Fr Flatley the Parish Priest of Aughagower, Mayo also spied for the British [meaning he reported criminal activity to the authorities as was his dutybut the local IRA leader Thomas Heavey was refused permission to execute him by IRA Headquarters [for which, no doubt, he was much chagrined being a bloodthirsty terrorist and would-be priest-murderer].[43]

Fr Collins, a Dominican priest in Tralee, wrote letters to the local RIC Inspector identifying a woman who attended mass at his church as a republican sympathizer. Her home was subsequently burned by the Black and Tans [the Tans were often as bad as the IRA and no real soldiers].[44]

Tim Kennedy the IRA Volunteer charged with executing the Dominican for spying refused to do so even though he had previously executed [for which read "murdered"] two other spies. Kennedy’s comment in refusing was “I would submit myself to be put against the wall myself before I would do my ‘duty’ on a priest, no matter how bad he was”.[45] The likelihood is, as the British suggested, many priests throughout Ireland were informers but very few of them were ever exposed by the IRA [not exposed - just murdered by shooting!].


Father Michael O’Flanagan and Republican priests.


Fr Michael O’Flanagan.

A very small minority of [renegade, diabolicalpriests actively supported the IRA, most notably Fr Michael Griffin who was murdered [not so and never proven but note how murders by the IRA are called "executions" but "murders" if the security forces were suspected - yet more IRA/Sinn Fein rank hypocrisyby members of the RIC Auxiliary Division in 1920, and also two Capuchin Friars – Fr Albert Bibby and Fr Dominic O’Connor who were both transferred out of Ireland as a punishment for their political activities.

The most prominent priest who supported the Republican struggle during the War of Independence was [apostate and apologist for murder and terror] Fr Michael O’Flanagan from Roscommon.

O’Flanagan, who was appointed Vice-President of Sinn Féin in 1917, was suspended from his priestly duties in 1918 because he canvassed for Sinn Féin in Cavan East by-election during which the local Bishop had called for the Irish Parliamentary Party to be elected unopposed.

O’Flanagan saw his political activity as a strictly secular civic duty stating “It is true that I am a priest, but I was an Irishman for twenty-four years before I became a priest … and the duties [how about your Christian duty to obey the laws and respect lawful authority, eh? Oh, somehow that doesn't matter any more. What rank hypocrisy!that the law of nature placed on me the law of no religious institution … can take away from me”.[46]

Father Michael O’Flanagan defied his bishops and served as vice President of Sinn Fein.

Throughout his life O’Flanagan was withering and unstinting in his criticism of the interference of Catholic bishops, priests and even the Pope in secular and political matters [hardly surprising! Flanagan had long since ceased to be a true Catholic but had become an apostate supporters of murder, terror and destruction]. “The judgement of Irish bishops may be excellent in religious matters but they are usually wrong when it comes to politics” O’Flanagan declared that the Catholic Church as an institution was being used as a weapon “to bludgeon the Irish People into submission.” [more lies - the people "bludgeoning" the Irish people was the IRA].

He denounced “Maynooth Rule” in Ireland and declared that

“The Pope is the enemy of Irish republicanism and Irish Independence … England rules Ireland with the help of the Pope!”[47] “[Catholics] are not bound to follow the political leadership of the Pope and any Catholic who slavishly did so was unworthy of Irish citizenship and of the citizenship of any country save the Vatican State.[48]

O’Flanagan [who was more Marxist Communist than Catholiccontinually espoused Irish Republicanism and throughout the 1930s he remained in conflict with the Catholic hierarchy because he condemned Blueshirt-Fascism in Ireland, Francoism in Spain and Nazism in Europe whilst his superiors in the Catholic Church gave open support and active encouragement to all of these movements. [Flanagan later wrote "I've been thinking recently where the Catholic Church has failed. It seems to me we have omitted the whole of Christ's teaching". He openly admits his hostility to the Catholic Church that had ordained him, fed him, housed him, clothed him and cared for him. Truly, he was a rank hypocrite and a true scoundrel.]



National Army troops pray during the Civil War.

Although many lay-Catholics and a handful of younger Catholic clerics contributed to the Republican struggle during the Irish War of Independence there is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of the Catholic priests and especially the more senior ranks of the Catholic clergy were staunchly opposed to Irish Republicanism [and rightly so!].

Any suggestion that the Church as an institution played a leading role in the fight for Irish freedom and that a modern secular society has conspired to cover up this ‘hidden history’  is farcical [even more farcical is the claim that the Fenian bomb-throwers gained Irish freedom....on the contrary they held up Home rule for the whole 19th century!]. Any suggestion that the centenary commemorations of the War of Independence should place emphasis on Catholicism or afford the Catholic Church a special status are absurd [and the IRA must take the blame for the far more bloody Civil War when Irishman killed Irishman in large numbers].

In past generations, the Catholic Church’s propagandists largely succeeded in creating the impression that Irish Republicanism was equivalent to Catholic-Nationalism [yes! Too true! The reality is that Irish republicanism is a creature of murdering, terrorist revolution orchestrated by Marxist Communists].

Although many lay-Catholics and a handful of younger Catholic clerics contributed to the Republican struggle, the overwhelming majority of the Catholic clergy were staunchly opposed to Irish Republicanism.

By contrast many Irish-people remain unaware of the history of secularism, pluralism and support for the separation of Church and State within Irish Republicanism [indeed so!]. During the Centenary of the 1916 Rising the Irish Times journalist Ronan McGreevy in his analysis and critique of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic linked the leaders of the 1916 Rising with the distinctly Catholic state that emerged in southern Ireland after 1922.

McGreevy stated “Survivors of the Easter Rising dominated the governance of independent Ireland … [which] developed a distinctly Catholic ethos … [that] contributed to a sense of alienation amongst Protestants”.[49] The fact is that whilst many of the politicians who were in government in the Irish Free State in the 1920s and 1930s  had participated in the 1916 Rising or War of Independence they had abandoned the fundamental ideology and secular ideals of Irish Republicanism by the time that they set about building a Catholic-Nationalist state in southern Ireland [but it was not truly a Catholic state - it was a secularist state with a ritual nod toward Catholicism].

The ideological foundations and roots of the [not even remotely] conservative right-wing Catholic state that emerged in southern Ireland are not to be found in the ideology espoused by those who fought for a secular Republic in 1798, 1867 or between the years 1919 to 1923.

The foundations of the Catholic state that emerged in the 1920s were laid by the counter-revolutionaries on the pro-Treaty side of the Civil War who, with the support of the Catholic Church, took power in the Irish Free State in 1922. Indeed the Church was openly partisan in the Civil War, denying the sacraments to all anti-Treaty fighters and activists [and rightly so!].

The leader of the Free State Government W.T. Cosgrave suggested that a “Theological Board” should be added as an addition to the upper house of the Dáil to ensure that  the Irish government would not pass any legislation “contrary to the faith and morals [of the Catholic Church]”.[50] [wich proposal was roundly rejected because the Free Staters were more Fascist than Catholic. Fascism is just the Right Wing version of Communism]. Likewise Kevin O’Higgins the Free State Minister for Justice proudly boasted that he and his fellow pro-Treaty politicians in the Cumann na Gaedheal Party and the Free State Government “were the most conservative minded revolutionaries that ever put through a successful revolution.”[51] [which is not saying much since revolution is, by definition, anti-conservative].

More than a century ago the socialist historian and Irish language activist William Patrick Ryan wrote; “The most brilliant thing ever done by Irish Catholic priests was the invention of the legend that they had always been on the side of the people.[52] [Much more sinister was the IRA claim that it was on the side of the people!].

A century later there appears to be a renewed effort by an ailing Catholic Church to perpetuate this myth and rejuvenate itself through a revisionist project which is attempting to whitewash the Church’s pro-British past and draft an alternative narrative which would allow them to exploit the popularity of the 1916 centenary celebrations and the commemoration of the War of Independence.  Anyone who misrepresents our history should be challenged at every opportunity regardless of whether their revisionism has a political or religious purpose [particularly the greatest liars of all - Sinn Fein and the IRA!]. 


[1]               Irish Examiner, 20th January 2019.

[2]               Heffernan, Brian, Freedom and the Fifth Commandment – Catholic Priests and Political Violence in Ireland 1919 -1921. (Manchester, 2014), pp. 19

[3]               The Irish Catholic, 24th January 2019.

[4]               Irish Times, 23rd December 2015

[5]               Maguire, W.A., Up In Arms – The 1798 Rebellion in Ireland, (Belfast, 1998), p.75, Robert Emmett, Proclamation of the Irish Republic, (Dublin 1803).

[6]               Rafferty, Oliver J., Violence, Politics and Catholicism in Ireland, (Dublin, 2016), p. 18

[7]               Rafferty, Oliver J., Violence, Politics and Catholicism in Ireland, (Dublin, 2016), p. 19

[8]               Fenian Proclomation of the Irish Republic, 1867.

[9]               Kenna, Shane, Conspirators, (Cork, 2015) p. 18

[10]             Norman, E.R., The Catholic Church and Ireland in the Age of Rebellion 1859– 73, (Dublin, 1965),p.117.

[11]             Rafferty, Oliver J., Violence, Politics and Catholicism in Ireland, (Dublin, 2016), p. 89.

[12]             Norman, E.R., The Catholic Church and Ireland in the Age of Rebellion 1859 – 73, (Dublin, 1965),p. 96.

[13]             Ryan, Meda, Tom Barry – IRA Freedom Fighter

[14]             Carroll, Denis, They Have Fooled You Again:  Michael O’Flanagan – Priest, Republican, Social Critic, (Dublin, 2016), p.157.

[15]             Rafferty, Oliver J., Violence, Politics and Catholicism in Ireland, (Dublin, 2016), p. 29.

[16]             The Times, Sinn Féin Rebellion Handbook, 1916.

[17]             Rafferty, Oliver J., Violence, Politics and Catholicism in Ireland, (Dublin, 2016), p. 30.

[18]             O’Donnell, Ruan, 16 Lives – Patrick Pearse, (Dublin 2016), p. 18.

[19]             Pearse, Patrick, ‘The Singer’ in The Best of Pearse, (Cork, 1967), p. 113.

[20]             Rafferty, Oliver J., Violence, Politics and Catholicism in Ireland, (Dublin, 2016), p. 40.

[21]             Augusteen, Joost, Patrick Pearse – The Making of a Revolutionary” (London, 2010),p. 233.

[22]             James  Connolly-Heron, The Words of James Connolly (Dublin 1986), p. 56.

[23]             James  Connolly-Heron, The Words of James Connolly (Dublin 1986), p. 51.

[24]             Clarke, Kathleen, Revolutionary Woman – My Fight for Ireland’s Freedom, (Dublin 1997) p. 93.

[25]             Constitution of the Irish Republican Brotherhood – 1910 edition. Bureau of Military History, CD8/3 p.3

[26]          It is important to note that in this instance all the children of the nation is a direct reference to children but an allegorical reference to different social and religious groupings in Ireland. Likewise when French Republicans sing La Marseilles – “enfants de la Patrie” does not refer literally to children but all French citizens.

[27]             Constitution of the Irish Republican Brotherhood – 1918 edition. Bureau Military History, CD178/3/6 p.

[28]             Ó Ruairc, Pádraig, Blood On The Banner – The Republican Struggle in Clare, (Cork, 2009).

[29]             Heffernan, Brian, Freedom and the Fifth Commandment – Catholic Priests and Political Violence in Ireland 1919 -1921. (Manchester, 2014), pp. 19 – 20.

[30]             Marnane, Denis G. The 3rd Tipperary Brigade – A History of the Volunteers/IRA in South Tipperary 1913 -21, (Tipperary, 2018), p. 181.

[31]             Heffernan, Brian, Freedom and the Fifth Commandment – Catholic Priests and Political Violence in Ireland 1919 -1921. (Manchester, 2014), pp.44.

[32]             Marnane, Denis G. The 3rd Tipperary Brigade – A History of the Volunteers/IRA in South Tipperary 1913 -21, (Tipperary, 2018), p. 167.

[33]             Heffernan, Brian, Freedom and the Fifth Commandment – Catholic Priests and Political Violence in Ireland 1919 -1921. (Manchester, 2014), pp. 26, 30, 47, 56, 58.

[34]             P. Murray, Oracles of God, The Roman Catholic Church and Irish Politics, 1922–37 (Dublin 2000), p. 409.

[35]             Andrews, C.S., Dublin Made Me, (Dublin, 2001), p. 152

[36]             NAUK, Colonial Office Papers, 904 / 168.

[37]             Hanley, Brian, The IRA 1926 – 1936, (Dublin, 2002), p. 70.

[38]             Heffernan, Brian, Freedom and the Fifth Commandment – Catholic Priests and Political Violence in Ireland 1919 -1921. (Manchester, 2014), p. 70.

[39]             Toomey, Tom, The War of Independence in Limerick, (Limerick, 2011), p. 589. It was only when the local Protestant landowner Sir Charles Barrington offered to have the two republicans buried in his own family plot in a Protestant graveyard that Fr Dwane relented.

[40] Anglo Celt March 26 1921.

[41]             Record of the Rebellion in Ireland

[42]             Thomas Tuohy, BMH Statement, Irish Military Archives.

[43]             Heffernan, Brian, Freedom and the Fifth Commandment – Catholic Priests and Political Violence in Ireland 1919 -1921. (Manchester, 2014), p. 72

[44]             Heffernan, Brian, Freedom and the Fifth Commandment – Catholic Priests and Political Violence in Ireland 1919 -1921. (Manchester, 2014), p. 72.

[45] T Ryle Dwyer, Tans Terror and Troubles, Kerry’s Real Fighting Story 1912-1923, pp289, 299, 305-307

[46]             Carroll, Denis, They Have Fooled You Again:  Michael O’Flanagan – Priest, Republican, Social Critic, (Dublin, 2016), p. 187.

[47]             Carroll, Denis, They Have Fooled You Again:  Michael O’Flanagan – Priest, Republican, Social Critic, (Dublin, 2016), pp 201 -3.

[48]             Carroll, Denis, They Have Fooled You Again:  Michael O’Flanagan – Priest, Republican, Social Critic, (Dublin, 2016), pp 244 -5.

[49]             The Revolution Papers – Issue 1.

[50]             Laffan, Michael, Judging W.T. Cosgrave, (Dublin, 2014), p. 71. W.T. Cosgrave obviously passed on this subservient ideological view to his son Liam Cosgrave who as Taoiseach in 1974 voted to help defeat his own government’s bill to legalise contraception on the grounds that “I am an Irishman second, I am a Catholic first and I accept without qualification in all respects the teachings of the Catholic Church”

[51]             Terence de Vere White, “Kevin O’Higgins” (London 1948),

[52]             Ryan, W.P., The Pope’s Green Island, (London, 1912)