While materially better off here in
the purported land of the free, we suffer now from a new form of
persecution, one more subtle and hard for many to grasp. Being
ignorant of the past, they fail to discern the ways history tends to
repeat itself. There are also those, of course, who say we should
simply put the past to rest and bury bad memories, but ...
Considering the insidious nature of the cover up, we disagree.
Silence has only served to aid and abet duplicity in this regard.
If historic insights can help at all to illuminate what underlies
the current situation, and possibly provide clues to a remedy, we
say it is high time they be exposed.
The facts are there for those who
care to dig, though few who do also spread the word and keep it out
there. Take the image above, which depicts the penal days of 18th
century Ireland, when the Protestant government targeted the Mass as
well as faithful Catholics. Produced for the 1932 Eucharistic
Congress that was held in Dublin, our copy is framed, with brief a
text on the back. Besides giving a bit of history, this quotes Pius
XI as saying “We must never forget the Mass Rocks.” Profound words
which ring true through the years, to be sure, but . . . How many
really listened to them at the time? Who does today, or knows about
the history? As a child in Catholic schools during the 1950’s, I
heard nothing about those bygone days of persecution in Britain and
Ireland, and how all that might affect us now. By the mid to late
‘60’s the message from the pulpit was that we must forget the past
and change with the times. Update, in other words, return to a
purified, more “primitive” liturgy. No one noted that the latter
had also been the stated goal of 16th century
Protestants. No one in the mainstream brought up such details, or
warned us that old errors could be revived.
Wasn’t all that
controversy a thing of the past?
Expanded 12 February 2010
With Vatican II, came a new era of young ideas, of ecumenism. No
need anymore to bother with dead issues, of how heretical beliefs
conflicted with ours, of how the “reformers” had turned the Mass
into a communal meal. To bring up old complaints in the here and
now was hardly apropos and could be viewed as a betrayal of goals
mandated by the Council, those calling for ongoing dialogue with
non-Catholics, as well as for updating the liturgy.
so we were told . . .
Such a shift in focus was not geared to researching the past. Why
bother with how the Church in this country came to be the way it
was? Why go against the flow? Despite the liberal front, we were
expected both to follow orders without question, be open to the
“world”, with its mass, or “pop” culture. This would inspire mushy
sermons, guitar masses and “hugs of peace”. Yuck. Updated models
of priestly behavior abounded. If the 1940’s on-screen image of a
happy-go-lucky Bing Crosby in The Bells of St. Mary’s seemed
passé, a new twist could be found in the lives of real-life clerics
like anti-war protester Daniel Berrigan. If Christian modes of
prayer seemed dull, fans of Thomas Merton who had read about his
conversion to the faith and life as a Trappist monk could now follow
his winding path from monastery to Zen sites in the Far East. There
in a Bangkok guest house, his long journey ended abruptly when,
exiting from a shower, he touched a defective fan and was
a weird way his end seemed to symbolize the fate of many other
wayward priests, whose venturing into new modes ended sadly, if not
tragically. Take Fr. Richard Ginder, prominent journalist of a
conservative bent who in the 70’s startled readers by authoring an
apologia for homosexuality. Subsequently he was defrocked –– and
convicted of sodomizing two underage boys –– but died in a car crash
before the civil lawsuit could be settled.
Another celebrated cleric was Jesuit Robert Drinan, the first priest
elected to Congress with full voting rights. A member of the ACLU
and the ADA, he voted consistently against any restrictions on
abortion. He also authored a book chastising Christians for their
long and cruel treatment of Jews, and insisting that we now back the
state of Israel. For him this was a religious duty. After his big
boss in the Vatican made him leave political office, he continued to
champion such causes as a writer and professor at Georgetown.
that he was the norm. Many Catholic politicos still ran big city
machines and rode in St. Patrick’s Day parades. It was, after all,
the heyday of the Kennedy clan, though they strove to appear more
sophisticated. The assassinations of John and Bobby only served to
hallow the image, though this would be tarnished by subsequent
revelations of the dead president’s seedier side — and of brother
Teddy’s. Undoubtedly other dark secrets concerning their fall were
buried with them. As for how this connected to any sort of
ancestral past it is hard to say. Despite the large family,
patriarch Joseph Kennedy was no saint, though he did value his Irish
roots. As U. S. ambassador to Great Britain, he became the first in
that position to make an official trip to Ireland. While in Dublin,
he received an honorary university degree from the hands of Eamon de
Valera, and later he helped finalize a treaty between England and
hard political player like his father, JFK still made a sentimental
stop in the land of his ancestors before returning home from Europe
in 1963. At New Ross, Co. Wexford, the President told an admiring
crowd how his great-grandfather had sailed from this spot for the
U.S., carrying with him a desire for liberty and a “strong religious
faith.” That immigrant’s great grandchildren have “valued that
inheritance,” he added.
Yet in order to win the votes of non-Catholics, he himself had
compromised that legacy, stating publicly that the division between
Church and state was “absolute,” so his religion would in no way
influence his decisions as president. In this respect he was truly
a liberal, typical or not. Neither of my parents voted for him,
though Dad did seem to admire his large family. In retrospect I can
see some similarities. JFK and my father were the same age, with
the same sort of light eyes, wavy brown hair, and Irish ancestry.
Like Kennedy, Dad had served as a naval officer during World War II.
He and my grandfather Kelly were also natives of Boston, though Dad
grew up in the Midwest. After graduating from what is now MIT, my
grandfather had moved away –– and up a ways in the corporate world.
He also did well in the stock market, until the crash. Unlike
Joseph Kennedy, he lost a lot of money, leaving his son wary of any
future investing. It took an “in” to make it in that game, Dad
grandfather voted but once for FDR, whom Dad continued to despise.
Though an isolationist (like Joseph Kennedy), when war seemed
inevitable he had let his father maneuver him into officer training.
At the time it had seemed the patriotic American thing to do.
While I was growing up, he seldom alluded to those years spent in
the engine room of naval vessels during the war, except to say he
was glad when it ended. Nor did he say much about his family, least
of all his grandfather Kelly and where he came from. Not until
after his death did I finally ask the question of a visiting aunt
who, to my surprise, had an answer: it was somewhere in County Mayo,
an area in the far west of the island that was especially hard hit
by famine both in the 1840s and later in the 1870’s. A sense of
desperation seemed to echo in the words my aunt repeated to me:
“County Mayo, God save us!”
Later I would read how the village of Knock in that same county was
the site of an apparition in August of 1879. A group of locals,
varying in age, saw an outside wall of their parish Church light up
with a heavenly scene: a live lamb on an altar from which rose a
cross, while angels circled overhead. To the left stood Our Lady,
St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist, the latter holding a book
that was open, one witness said, to the Apocalypse. He also held up
a hand with two fingers raised, though no words were spoken. In an
article for “The Fatima Network,” Irish writer Deirdre Manifold
interprets his gesture as being an apocalyptic sign, a reference to
“that which looks like a lamb and speaks like a dragon.” If this is
so, we have to wonder: was the vision meant to be prophetic? Was it
warning those people that the great cornerstone of their faith, the
Mass, would be taken away by deceptive means?
this prophecy actually come true in our day?
Through the years, the reality of it all has hit us in various ways,
some of these less obvious than others. In retrospect I realize
that my father, who had attended a Jesuit high school, saw much of
it long before I did. Unfortunately his insights coincided with a
post-war crisis of faith — and a growing sense of frustration.
Attending a religion course for adults, for instance, he was amazed
to find that some of the leading lights in our parish did not
believe the devil really existed. While an admirer of Thomas
Merton’s early writing, he seemed indifferent to a later book by the
monk that I brought home in the early 60’s. Appropriately entitled
Disputed Questions, it abounded in its errors which I
unfortunately imbibed temporarily. During this time of liturgical
changes, Dad seldom went to Mass, though he said the Rosary. Once I
also caught him sneaking into the cathedral downtown for a visit
over his lunch hour. Another day, while touring the interior of a
new church devoid of old-style statues, he spoke some revealing
words; “This isn’t the same Church,” he told me. “They’ve taken out
the Blessed Mother.” He added that whereas he had some problems
with the old ways, he had no respect whatsoever for this “New
Church? What was that?
words struck me as absurd. I knew of no “New Church.” I still
believed that the changes going on were under the control of a valid
hierarchy headed by a true pope. How could we lowly lay people even
begin to question them? Determined to help my father see the light,
I continued to bring home some of the latest works by Catholic
writers, including the shocking one by Fr. Richard Ginder, who had,
after all, been featured as a columnist in our Catholic newspaper.
While Dad did glance at the book, he refused to comment. Of others
I showed him, the only one he read avidly, in a matter of hours, was
Hostage to the Devil, a chronicle of exorcisms by former
Jesuit Malachi Martin.
That one he really liked, as did my younger brother.
a spring day in the mid 70’s when Archbishop Fulton Sheen came to
town, Dad offered to drive me downtown for the event; he obviously
hoped the renowned prelate would clue us in as to what was going on
in the Church. But this was not to be. To my dismay, the first
half of the program consisted of performances by local Catholic
school choirs, introduced by their smiling bishop. When Sheen
finally emerged, he did little more than swirl around stage in his
cape and crack dumb jokes. One, for instance, took aim at modern
nuns whose short skirts revealed their varicose veins. I didn’t
laugh — not once. Afterwards I reported this to Dad, and as I did,
saw his expression turn sour. Sounding irked, he called it
“typical” of the way Catholics handled things . . .
That was that. He spoke no more of the matter. Maybe he thought it
was hopeless. Back in the 50’s my mother and he had cheered on Joe
McCarthy, but when he died so did their interest in exposing
conspiracies, communist or otherwise. Mine did not, however. I
continued to read books like that by Whittaker Chambers concerning
Alger Hiss and other spies. For a government class in public high
school I wrote a research paper about the former Wisconsin senator,
using a variety of sources. After typing into the wee hours of the
morning it was due, I walked into class late to turn in my paper.
Seeing the title, “Witch Hunt in Washington,” the young teacher,
who had just earned a master’s degree, broke into a huge grin. This
did not last, though. Soon he would read how in the end I had made
McCarthy not the subject but the object of a witch hunt. When I got
back my paper, it was full of huge red marks and expressions like,
“HOW CAN YOU SAY THIS?”
grade was a “B-plus.”
it happened, the boy across the aisle from me, the son of a liberal
Presbyterian minister, had written his paper on the same topic. Of
course we compared our results. He had got an A minus, even though
he had used only one source, the Bill Buckley book McCarthy and
His Enemies. I had also used this –– plus one or two other
books, and a string of magazine articles, some of which quoted
transcripts from actual hearings. Being honest, Chip said my paper
looked good, and admitted he had done all his reading and writing
hastily in one evening. I had spent weeks on my paper. Because he
was one of only two in our large senior class with straight A’s,
however, no teacher would dare give him a B. Furthermore, he was a
star basketball player, headed for Harvard on a scholarship, and
would eventually end up a Rhodes Scholar.
this politics or what?
Considering how I fared on my “witch hunt” paper, it’s undoubtedly a
good thing my teacher did not know, as I would only decades later
that my mother’s father was descended from prominent Puritans of
Salem, Mass., who for a time really were involved in hunting
witches! Yet another eerie coincidence is that one of my Dad’s
great-great grandmothers on his mother’s side was a McCarthy. At
the time I did not know this either, though Dad should have, since
she was buried in the Pennsylvania city he visited regularly during
his youth. Nor did I know then that Joe McCarthy had been a friend
of the Kennedys, and that JFK was one of a very few senators who had
not voted to censure their Wisconsin colleague. Nor that Kennedy,
unlike his predecessors, had expressed publicly his opposition to
secret societies and secret oaths.
recorded excerpts from a speech that he gave to the American
Newspaper Publishers Associations in 1961, now available online, he
warns against a “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” that relies on
“covert means,” on infiltration, subversion and intimidation for
expanding its sphere of influence around the world. This is an
obvious reference not just to Communism, but also to the underlying
threat of oath-bound societies associated with Freemasonry.
Considering the number of former U.S. presidents who were Masons, it
is interesting that he should put such a sinister spin on the
brotherhood — and that in November of 1963, only months after his
salute to the old sod, he would be fatally shot while riding by
Dealey Plaza, the former site of the first Masonic Hall in Dallas.
this all merely coincidental?
Such signs of intrigue go way back. In his monumental book
Philip II, William Thomas Walsh traces the occult symbolism
associated with Masonry to high-stakes players in Elizabethan
England who met in lodges and wrote messages coded with intersecting
triangles and all-seeing eyes. The Queen herself was involved with
a far-flung spy network that even managed to infiltrate the Catholic
seminary of Douay in France. Agent provocateurs hatched
anti-government plots to implicate vulnerable papists like Mary
Queen of Scots, and in her case they succeeded. She, of course, was
beheaded. In contrast, her cousin Elizabeth, who authorized the
execution, is still being portrayed as a victim, never a villain, on
stage and screen today.
be sure an anti-Catholic bias still prevails. While “bloody Mary”
is an academic – and barroom – epithet, who bothers to count all
those Good Queen Bess put to death? Not that she did it all
herself. During the reformation period as a whole, however, it
seems “England judicially murdered more Roman Catholics than any
other country in Europe, which puts English pride in national
tolerance in an interesting perspective.” So writes Diarmaid
MacCullough in his book The Reformation. And if readers
wonder about his background, let us note that, while “not
dogmatically Christian,” MacCullough is an Oxford professor who
comes from a “long line of Scottish Episcopalian clergy.”
how many know such history? What percentage of the public, for
instance, has heard the gruesome details regarding Edmund Campion’s
fate? Despite Evelyn Waugh’s informative book about the young
Jesuit martyr, he is yet to be celebrated on screen. The only film
about Tudor times I know of that shows the Catholic side of the
issues is A Man for All Seasons, and this mostly consists of
beautiful scenes and music accompanying lively dialogue. At the end
we see the axe coming down on Thomas More, but no blood, no gore,
none of the other martyrs of his day. Thus, it’s fairly
inoffensive. While the bad guy is indeed a Tudor, in this case it’s
Henry VIII, and everybody knows what a louse he was to his wives.
story abounds in intrigue. According to William Thomas Walsh,
efforts to have his first marriage annulled were exploited by
“secret and powerful forces” who sought to rid the Church of her
property. Apparently Queen Catherine sensed this. In his book
Walsh quotes a letter from her to the Pope in which she warns
against certain “inventors and abettors” who sought to “rob and
plunder” whatever they could. And they did. Walsh also says in
reference to Catherine’s death early in 1536 that her doctor
insisted she had been poisoned. Though as a Spaniard, how could he
be trusted, even if his patient had served as an annoying reminder
of broken vows?
fact remains that after his break from Rome, Henry claimed the
spiritual authority of a pope for himself. Such a concentration of
power allowed him to seize the moment, to send in henchmen like
Thomas Cromwell to confiscate the wealth of monasteries, to evict
monks and nuns, to destroy libraries, schools, hospitals — and other
provisions for the sick and needy. Thus began a process that would
continue under the young King Edward, when the coffers of parish
benefices and craft guilds were stolen, including the life savings
of members. So much for their patrimony! To be sure, some of
the loot passed on to the new state Church, a subsidiary of the
Crown, which also profited, but most served to enrich the class of
ruffians who had emerged to run the show.
Before the split with Rome, a pope had dubbed Henry “Defender of the
Faith,” and afterwards the king retained the title, even while
disposing of those like Bishop John Fisher who refused to deny such
papal prerogatives! Moreover, the title would continue to be passed
down through the non-Catholic centuries to the present day as part
of a multi-faceted legacy, a prime contributor to which was Thomas
Cranmer. After backing his king during the long annulment crisis,
this man of the cloth was awarded the coveted See of Canterbury,
formerly that of the revered Thomas Becket, a true saint, which
Cranmer was not. To be sure, the two Thomases are a study in
contrast. While both confronted the problem of Church versus state,
Becket defended one, Cranmer the other. Indeed the latter Thomas
encouraged the usurpation of the one institution by the other: a
worldly wise move on his part. For by standing up to Henry II,
Becket was martyred in his cathedral, while Cranmer gave his King
Henry what he wanted and survived.
times Cranmer resorted to subterfuge. Take the problem he faced in
assuming the coveted See of Canterbury: it seems Henry, who retained
most of his Catholic beliefs, insisted his clerics be celibate, and
Thomas, a secret Protestant, had married during a trip to the
continent. But not to worry! Our aspiring bishop simply stashed
his wife away — at times literally, in a holey chest. While kept
alive and breathing, if not also in the best of spirits, for the
record she did not exist. Whenever necessary she would return to
this receptacle — and it worked. Nobody said a thing, even if some
surely suspected. William Cobbett, non-Catholic author of
History of the Protestant Reformation, thinks the king must have
known. Regardless, after Henry died and celibacy for clerics was
passé, Cranmer came out of the closet as a married man.
wife, in turn, emerged from her chest.
Also during this Henry’s reign, his agent Thomas Cromwell arranged
for Thomas Becket’s shrine at Canterbury to be pillaged, and here it
was a matter of principle, as well as plunder. In defending the
Church, had the 12th century martyr not defied his king?
Was this not treason? With the new consolidation of Church and
State under Henry VIII, sympathy for Chaucer’s “holy, blissful
martyr” could no longer be tolerated. Becket was declared a
non-saint, his cult abolished, his remains desecrated.
Cranmer’s legacy has survived intact. After Henry died he
maintained his position as Archbishop of Canterbury under young
Edward and his two Protestant uncles, both of whom served as the
king’s “protectors” until one had the other removed, i.e. executed.
Amidst the turmoil, Cranmer continued to lay the foundations for a
new state church. Part of the process involved replacing the old
Mass with successive versions of The Book of Common Prayer,
authored by the archbishop. This is still celebrated today as part
of the so-called Anglican patrimony. It has been highlighted in the
media recently because of Benedict’s overtures to those of that
heritage who might want to cross over in a body to Rome. Apparently
they will be allowed to keep many of their old traditions, including
some form of Cranmer’s old prayer book — as indeed some small groups
of such crossovers in this country already have.
hesitate calling them “converts” because of the ambiguity involved.
I mean, who exactly is converting and to what? Are they actually
joining the true Church, or are negotiators on both sides of the
issues simply reverting to old tactics? If, as is suggested in
Benedict’s Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Anglican clerics will
have to be re-ordained, conditionally or otherwise, before being
recognized as such by Rome, what does it really matter, if the Novus
Ordo rite is like theirs anyway? Would this not be a mere
technicality? Back in 1896, remember, Leo XIII declared the
“orders” produced by the Anglican rite to be “absolutely null and
utterly void.” If, as many charge, Paul VI’s ordinal is based on a
similar model, what does it say about so-called Roman Catholic
orders affected since 1969?
Will they have to be redone?
confused by now, you are not alone. It might help to read the books
we have previously cited by authors like Michael Davies. His Pope
Paul’s New Mass, for instance, notes the parallels between the
Novus Ordo rite and the Anglican prayer book and how they were
promulgated. In both cases, the methodology rested not so much in
adding elements as in removing them. Following a Lutheran model,
Cranmer eliminated from his service all mention of the Mass as a
renewal of Christ’s expiatory sacrifice. What emerged instead was a
communal meal, a mere memorial of the Last Supper. The
sacrifice of the Cross was relegated totally to the past. The
present congregation, in union with their minister, offers
themselves but figuratively to God “in praise and thanksgiving,”
their voices echoing in a huge hymn devoid of divine substance.
Ironically, while condemning the papacy, Cranmer himself assumed
prerogatives that went way beyond the bounds of that office.
Whereas no pope since Gregory the Great had dared touch the ancient
Canon of the Mass, not even to add a few words, Cranmer had the
unmitigated gall to change it drastically. Indeed, you might say he
gutted it. In order to introduce changes gradually, he also made a
series of revisions in his liturgy. He made it legal, of course.
Historian William Cobbett says Parliament obliged by proclaiming
each version published during the reign of Edward VI to be the work
of the Holy Ghost! After a brief respite under “bloody” Mary, when
Cranmer himself was finally called to account, his ritual would be
revived, revised again, and once more ascribed to such divine
“dictates.” In summary, it could be safely said that Cranmer and
his successors usurped — and exceeded –– all manner of papal
their legacy lives on. . .
Furthermore, neither Cranmer nor his successors showed any tolerance
for those of any rank or station who refused to accept the new rite
in place of the old. So what if their ancestors had celebrated the
old Mass for eons! Church and State had entered a marriage of
convenience, rendering any rejection of updated rituals a matter of
treason. Attendance of the new rite was required by law.
Protesters could be — and were —hanged, drawn and quartered, while
leading players in the religious charade won loot and titles, no
matter how often they changed roles.
This included our new queen. During Mary’s reign, Elizabeth had
professed to be a Catholic so as to insure her right of succession.
After the older sister’s death, however, she soon reverted to the
Protestant stance that had prevailed under her young brother
Edward. In The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism, Dr.
Nicholas Sander reports one of the early signs: the new queen
ordered a bishop who was on the altar about to say Mass not to
elevate the Host at the consecration, as though she were in charge
of the ritual! For good reason the bishop did not comply. Hearing
of the incident, the Archbishop of York now stood firm and refused
to crown her. So did the other older bishops, save one — Bishop
Oglethorpe of Carlisle, ironically the same one who had ignored her
orders regarding the Host!
would live to regret it.
part of the coronation ceremony, Elizabeth took the traditional oath
to defend the Catholic faith, but that was mere show. Once crowned,
she proceeded to act as directed by her confidant William Cecil, of
whom Cobbett writes: “. . . if success in unprincipled artifice, if
fertility in cunning devices, if the obtaining of one’s ends without
any regard to the means, if in this pursuit sincerity be … set at
naught, and truth, law, justice and mercy to be trampled under foot,
if, so that you succeed in your end, apostasy, forgery, perjury, and
the shedding innocent blood be thought nothing of, this Cecil was
certainly the greatest statesman that ever lived.”
Under Cecil’s influence, Parliament proceeded to pass an act making
Elizabeth “supreme governor of the Church. All members of the
clergy, high and low, were required to take an oath recognizing her
as such. Whoever refused was stripped of his goods and benefices
and imprisoned for life. If this oath of supremacy was rejected a
second time, the recusant was to be put to death as a traitor. Not
surprisingly, most complied, though not the older bishops. Those
who (unlike Bp. John Fisher) had sided with Henry during his schism,
held on during his son’s brief reign, and reverted to Rome under
Mary, now balked at the prospect of more radical change.
That did come, of course. Once again the Mass was outlawed, and
replaced with a version of Cranmer’s prayer book. While the queen
kept a silver crucifix on the altar in her private chapel, elsewhere
such objects were seized. Church statues, stained glass
windows, and altars were smashed,
and new tables erected for the celebration of the memorial meal.
Any Church property that Queen Mary had given back during her reign
was now retaken. Most of the loot, of course, had never been
returned, and never would be. The profiteers with financial ties to
the new religion saw to that. Instead, private homes were searched
for old pictures, missals, devotional books or other contraband, and
violators punished. For a second time the land was thus purged of
“graven images” — of Christ and his Mother, and the saints, that is.
Statues or portraits of royals like our exalted “Virgin Queen,”
remained in place. During this enlightened age, astrologer and
occultist John Dee, a court favorite — and model for Shakespeare’s
sorcerer Prospero — could interpret planetary signs and advise her
majesty accordingly; that was allowed, as were his efforts to
conjure up angels — all good ones, of course. Woe unto those
idolaters, however, who dared venerate the old Catholic saints!
this duplicity, or hypocrisy? Or both?
When Pope Pius V declared her excommunicated, Protestants cried in
outrage, even though Elizabeth had taken charge of a blatantly
heretical national Church. As a woman she could never be ordained;
yet here she was running the ecclesiastical show! By doing all
this, of course, she had severed ties with Rome, thereby
excommunicating herself — and taking her cohorts along with her. No
wonder those older bishops, including the one who had crowned her,
decided they had finally had enough. Refusing to take the oath of
supremacy, they were forced to flee the realm or be imprisoned.
many Catholic exiles of this time included Dr. Nicolas Sander, an
Oxford scholar who was ordained in Rome and later attended the
Council of Trent. He also taught at Louvain and gained a wide
reputation in Europe for his pro-Catholic writings. Perhaps the
best known of these is The Rise and Growth of the Anglican
Schism, which focuses on the issues in detail. He notes, for
instance, how, contrary to the official line, Cranmer’s vernacular
liturgy was bound to be less understood than the old Latin form in
areas where the majority spoke not English, but Welsh, Cornish — or
that the Irish, of whom Sander had firsthand knowledge, could not
figure out what was going on. Being, as he says, “before all things
Catholics,” they were not about to go along with the charade. Thus
the reception given Adam Lofthouse (or Loftus), the Protestant
bishop appointed by Elizabeth to Armagh, ancient See of St. Patrick.
A footnote to Sander’s text says:
. . . to the end of his life, and for
years afterwards, there could not be found in — except a few of the
large towns — more than ten or fifteen places through the entire
province of Ulster, either persons to attend, or a minister of any
kind to perform, the Protestant service. The consequence was, the
churches fell into decay, and the parsons in after-times called for
Parliament aid to repair them. When Elizabeth issued a commission
to inquire into the ecclesiastical state of Ireland, there could
scarcely be found a church or an officiating clergyman. The
Catholic priests were ejected from their churches, many of them
preferred to say Mass for their people in private places to exposing
themselves to imprisonment or death; on the other hand, very few
Irishmen abandoned their religion, and the inferior benefices were
not sufficiently tempting for the English apostates.”
(To be continued)
Copyright by Judith M.