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Irish Convention and evil literature among catholic hierarchy concerns in Lenten Pastorals
St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, where Cardinal Logue is based Photo: 'Priests and people in Ireland', Michael McCarthy [1902]. Via the Internet Archive

Irish Convention and evil literature among catholic hierarchy concerns in Lenten Pastorals

Armagh, 12 February 1918 - The Irish Convention and the dangers of evil literature were on the menu of the Lenten Pastorals delivered by members of the Irish catholic hierarchy at churches around the country this weekend.

Front and centre in the pastoral message from His Eminence Cardinal Logue was the fate of the Irish Convention. The Cardinal struck an almost sombre note when asking for consideration of ‘our own poor country’ and the ‘crisis’ in which it finds itself.

‘A number of intelligent, experienced and patriotic Irishmen have been brought together to consider her needs, and devise a constitution which would bring peace, put an end to old jealousies and divisions, enabling all Irishmen to unite in promoting the best interests of their common country.’

Both the Archbishop of Dublin and the Bishop of Cork echoed the Cardinal’s hopes for the Convention. So too did the Bishop of Down and Connor, Rev. Dr MacRory, himself a member of the Convention, who declared that he would be prepared to make ‘any reasonable sacrifice that would be consistent with true self-government’.

Evil literature
The Bishop of Meath, Dr Gaughran, addressed the issue of ‘evil’ literature and took the opportunity to praise the work of the Catholic Truth Society:

‘There can be no doubt that the disasters which have overtaken the Church in France might have been, in great measure, averted if Catholics, a generation ago, had founded a sound Catholic Truth Society with an effective Catholic press.’

There is need to beware, the Bishop added; a ‘bad book’ was like a ‘bait with a concealed hook’, splendid volumes with most attractive binding ‘tempting the hand of the curious and inviting the attention of the student’. Much of the current literary offering was trash, he claimed, ‘better suited for the fire than for the use of the man in pursuit of truth and knowledge.’

Moral authority
Ireland’s catholic Archbishops and Bishops are ‘pre-eminently fitted’ to instructing their flocks, an editorial for the Cork Examiner has insisted. The pastorals will therefore be read by the Catholic laity ‘with the full knowledge that that the spiritual advice contained in them must necessarily intensify the religious spirit of the people and awaken in them to a deeper sense of their duties and obligations as Christians’.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.