The churches and emigration from nineteenth-century Ireland

The book knits together two of the most significant themes in the social and cultural history of modern Ireland - mass emigration and religious change - and aims to provide fresh insight into both. It addresses the churches' responses to emigration, both in theory and in practice. The book also assesses how emigration impacted on the churches both in relation to their status in Ireland, and in terms of their ability to spread their influence abroad. It first deals with the theoretical positions of the clergy of each denomination in relation to emigration and how they changed over the course of the nineteenth century, as the character of emigration itself altered. It then explores the extent of practical clerical involvement in the temporal aspects of emigration. This includes attempts to prevent or limit it, a variety of facilitation services informally offered by parish clergymen, church-backed moves to safeguard emigrant welfare, clerical advice-giving and clerically planned schemes of migration. Irish monks between the fifth and eighth centuries had spread Christianity all over Europe, and should act as an inspiration to the modern cleric. Tied in with this reading of the past, of course, was a very particular view of the present: the perception that emigration represented the enactment of a providential mission to spread the faith.

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The clergy and emigration in practice

economic reform aside, this influence was long thought to be the best weapon in the antiemigration armoury. Following the pattern of opinion set out in Chapter One, it was a weapon mainly deployed from mid-century onward. An uncoordinated campaign of dissuasion, largely centred on the pulpit pleas of parish clergymen, was regularly given fresh impetus by the published accounts of priests who had either settled in or visited emigrant destinations. The first of such cautionary messages was a frightening, if poorly grounded, exposé of mass Catholic ‘leakage’ proffered in

in Population, providence and empire
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the main thrust of his reports, the Oblate mission in the United States was a resounding success, packing the churches in the parishes it visited to the point of having to divide the congregations. One week was assigned to married women, the next to unmarried women, and the same again for men, instead of the usual four weeks for all-comers. These people, Shinnors observed, were ‘as full of faith and fervour as if they still lived in their own homes’.7 Moreover, two of his American clerical critics, Smith and John Ryan, were the American-born sons of an Irish

in Population, providence and empire

’ their relatives. 34 The position taken by the Generalvikariat assured the unquestioning acceptance of medical authorities and their responsibilities in order to avoid immediate interference from the Prussian state in internal Church affairs. Yet when clergymen clearly and unmistakably denounced the belief in witchcraft and miracles, they had to expect problems from below. When, for example, the priest of the Aachen parish of

in Witchcraft Continued
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The clergy and emigration in principle

, questionnaires were distributed to prominent members of local communities and over a thousand replies received – the overwhelming majority – were from clergymen. Secondly, agents of the inquiry travelled the country convening ‘baronial examinations’, or public meetings, at which clergy of all denominations were usually present and frequently vocal. Each method of inquiry adopted slightly different approaches. The questionnaires asked the following: ‘What number of emigrants, and of what description, have left your parish during each of the last three years?; To what country

in Population, providence and empire

their accusers, particularly in parish population registers and local court records. These make it possible to gather enough information to build a quite detailed picture of the lives of the relevant individuals. This article is part of an ongoing research project directed by the author and Linda Oja,4 focusing on the major Swedish witch-hunt that took place in the county of Dalarna 1668–71.5 The first trials and also the first executions were held in 1669, followed by two more years of frequent and intense accusations and prosecutions resulting in no less than forty

in Beyond the witch trials
Emigration and sectarian rivalry

be impacted by the substantial loss of population which emigration represented. Between 1849 and 1852, as the immediacy of the Famine crisis dissipated and priests returned to being primarily religious pastors 149 Roddy_Population_Printer.indd 149 15/09/2014 11:47 Population, providence and empire rather than relief organisers, many of them began evaluating how the dust of five years of death and emigration had settled on their parishes. Even before the official census revealed a deficit of two million people – some 20% of the total pre-Famine population

in Population, providence and empire
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, to become … the recipients of charity.’ It extolled the virtues of the careful, self-sufficient miner whose infirmity was supported by payments from the ‘box’ of his friendly society, into which he had contributed ‘when able to work’. Such a man was ‘regarded as a gentleman compared with one who has had to go on the parish’.2 Contrasting with the stereotype of miners as feckless, the image of the self-sufficient coal worker, managing his own welfare needs or supported by mutual aid in his community, was a powerful ideal and motivated thousands of miners to join

in Disability in the Industrial Revolution
The pastoral responses of the Irish churches to emigration

amongst the Presbyterians of Ulster?’ 89 In the ensuing years, such admonitions routinely included reference to the ‘thousands of our fellow-countrymen’ who had emigrated and now looked to Ireland to provide them with ministers: [I]f all our Clergymen and Elders were to rouse themselves to a sense of their duty – if they were to use all their endeavours to excite a spirit of Missions in their Parishes, we should soon have funds wherewith to establish a number of Clergymen in our Colonies, where from the multitudes of emigrants from Ireland and Scotland their labours are

in Population, providence and empire
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Conflict continues

brought some French Catholics closer to Catholic Bavarian troops,10 whereas Carine Cnudde-​Lecointre demonstrated that here, as elsewhere, certain Catholics viewed the war as a divine punishment for the sins of secular France.11 This was partly why some individuals described the occupation as an expiatory experience, a ‘Calvary’ and ‘martyrdom’.12 The faithful professing this opinion was one thing, but when clergymen criticised the Republic and its secularism, French authorities perceived this as a dangerous threat to unity. Clergy in the unoccupied section of the Nord

in The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914– 18