By R. Fleischmann
Canon Sheehan's writings offer precious perception into Ireland's tough strategy of cultural reconstruction after independence. This astute observer of Irish society was once pessimistic in regards to the way forward for faith. notwithstanding himself a guy of ecu tradition, he made a case for the isolationism to develop into truth less than the loose nation. it's a case which this day is well scorned - yet his works let us comprehend why it may well command such help, and to understand its relative historic justification.
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Extra info for Catholic Nationalism in the Irish Revival: A Study of Canon Sheehan, 1852-1913
If the Catholics' tendency to avoid the subject of religion in mixed company was the natural response to the long tradition of Protestant hostility to Catholicism in Ireland, they would, on the other hand, also have been ill-equipped for any discussion of religious matters, having had no advancedreligious instruction in school, knowing nothing about the history of the church, about the other religions of the world, about Protestant objections to Catholicism, or about the questions arising from the discoveries of science.
He saw the dwindling population becoming increasingly concerned with improving its condition in life, and feared that money could come to mean to the Irish what religion had meant to their forbears in the bad times. He was also perturbed by the evidence that the clergy was not immune to this development. The spread of literacy, the growing circulation of newspapers and books meant that young people in particular were likely to hear of the discoveries of modern science: the evidence of the evolutionary development brought to light by geologists, and that of the species discovered by Darwin.
The course should be 'strictly in accordance with the teachings of the Church, but neither too restricted in its scope, nor too illiberal in its applications'. Such a course is indispensable, as . . the mind of man is for ever tormented by metaphysical questionings. There is no use in trying to silence them. .. To bring Canon Sheehan's Campaign for a Catholic Culture 37 vigorous and active intellects under a mental discipline so perfect, that the chafing and irritation of such doubts and questionings are soothed by a science, to which the highest intellects have been consecrated, and which is as perfect and flawless in its workings as the most scrupulous mechanic could desire, this ought to be the ultimate aim of a University.