Failure of Protestantisation (Paul-Dubois, 1908)

1.614, 643-44, 650-64. L. Paul-Dubois, Contemporary Ireland, with an Introduction by T.M. Kettle, M.P. (Dublin: Maunsel and Company, Ltd.; New York: The Baker and Taylor Co., 1908), pp.465-66. BL

Extract from L. Paul-Dubois, Contemporary Ireland (1908), on the failure of attempts to Protestantise Ireland and Catholic resistance.

In this extract, Paul-Dubois describes a “revival of Protestant anti-Catholicism” in the wake of the Local Government Act handing power to the Catholic Nationalists. Stephen embodies something at least of the stubborn recalcitrance Paul-Dubois describes:

Diatribes are launched by the Anglican Bishops against Rome; there are indignant protestations against the establishment of a Catholic University; and a wild clamour is raised, when, on the death of Queen Victoria, the more tolerant Protestants advocate the suppression in the Coronation Oath of the celebrated declaration against Catholic “idolatry.” We have, in brief, all the complaints that might naturally be expected from an Oligarchy which sees its privileges and its superiority attacked by the “idolators,” and is exasperated at the final defeat of the efforts which for three centuries it has put forth to “decatholicise” Ireland.

He proceeds to outline the history of those ‘efforts’ by which, from “the Reformation to the present day, Protestant England has done its best to make the sister island Protestant also,” covering Elizabethan plantation, massacre and banishment and Cromwell’s resumption and completion of this work:

. . . Hibernia pacata: Ireland was at length pacified, but she remained Catholic.
¶¶In the eighteenth century, persecution, hitherto a matter of force, became legalised by the celebrated Penal Laws, that code of oppression and corruption which declared the Catholics to be outlaws. But Irish Catholicism survived the Penal Laws as it had survived persecution and bloodshed, and as it will survive the proselytising campaign of the present day, whether it be official or officious, conducted through the school and the workhouse, or through the societies of public and private charity which seek to kill “superstition” by kindness.