Peter's Pence: official Catholic discourse and Irish nationalism in the nineteenth century
Taylor, Lawrence J. (1993) Peter's Pence: official Catholic discourse and Irish nationalism in the nineteenth century. History of European ideas, 16 (1-3). pp. 103-107. ISSN 0191-6599
The intimate relationship between Catholicism and nationalism in nineteenth century Ireland is generally recognised. So well acknowledged, in fact, that the loyalty of a peasantry, the great majority of whom were oppressed and impoverished, to a Church that was growing visibly more rich and comfortable is taken for granted. The clergy managed to portray the Church as friend of the oppressed – indeed as the oppressed itself – even as their public buildings trumpeted their growing wealth and power. There was a further irony. The very same church that was – through the nineteenth century – asserting itself to be emblematic of Irish culture and identity was increasingly antipathetic to actual peasant culture and, devotionally, more ‘Roman’ than ever before. In addition to ‘civilising’ the ‘wild Irish’ through social control (see Connolly 1982, Inglis 1987), throughout Ireland the clergy were doing what they could to eradicate distinctively Irish religious practices, and introduce – especially after the 1840s – the devotions of the Roman Church (Larkin 1972).
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