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Chocs et ruptures en histoire religieuse

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Michel Lagrée

Première partie. La rétroaction religieuse dans l'aire de la Rule Britannia

The rise and fall of stations in Ireland, 1750-1850

Emmet Larkin

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1My purpose this morning is to discuss the unique Irish religious custom of Stations. The system of Stations that developed between 1750 and 1850 was, in fact, the most interesting and important religious practice to emerge in pre-Famine Ireland. I might also add, given its importance, it is also the most historically neglected. There is, for example, no systematic study of Stations in the monographic or article literature, and the cursory mention made of the practice in the more general historical surveys has been descriptive rather than analytical. To appreciate more fully and comprehensively the importance and significance of Stations, therefore, I propose to begin with their rise about 1750 and to end with their demise a hundred years later in the aftermath of the Great Famine. This presentation will require, therefore, a brief discussion of the three key stages in the rise and fall of stations. These are : first, the origin of Stations between 1730 and 1750, second, their emergence as a custom between 1750 and 1770, and third, their consolidation as a national institution between 1770 and 1840. Finally, I propose to conclude this presentation with a discussion of the general significance of Stations, and the part they played in the making and consolidating of the Devotional Revolution, which transformed the Irish people as a people in the thirty years after the Great Famine into the pious and practicing Catholics they have remained almost down to the present day.

  • 1 William Carleton, “The Station”, Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry (London, [1869]), vol. (...)

2Before proceeding, however, to the problem of the origins of Stations, I should like to explain what a Station was. The chief difficulty in historically describing a Station, is that the custom was so taken for granted, that there are actually no contemporary accounts of the practice before 1800, and of those that do exist after 1800, the best are literary rather than historical. Indeed, the most comprehensive and satisfactory account of a Station that exists is found in the short story of that title by the celebrated Irish novelist, William Carleton1.

3Carleton set the scene for his story in his native diocese of Clogher in County Tyrone sometime between 1810 and 1815. The story opens with the local parish priest announcing from the altar before the end of mass on Sunday that he will hold Stations Monday through Friday at the houses of five of his more substantial and respectable parishioners, whom he then proceeds specifically to name. On the appointed day, the parish priest and his curate arrive early in the morning, by which time the near neighbors have gathered. The priests then hear the confessions of the assembled penitents, men and women, while their clerk sets up the portable altar for the celebration of mass. When the confessions are heard, one of the priests celebrates mass, and the people receive communion. After mass, the priests and their clerk take their breakfast with their host, his family, and some of the more respectable of the neighbors, who have also been invited. After breakfast, the priests examine and catechize the children, and hear the confessions of those they had not been able to attend to in the morning. The parish priest then proceeds to collect his dues and any arrears that may have accumulated from the head of each household present. This period of religious instruction, additional confessions, and collection of dues continues until dinner time. At three o'clock, the clergy, the host, his family, and a number of specially invited local notables, clerical and lay, sit down to dinner, and for three or four hours there is considérable eating, drinking, and merry-making, which takes the form of spirited conversation, storytelling, and singing, usually fueled by generous libations of whiskey punch. The routine was repeated at each house during the week, and the Stations usually continued from some six to eight weeks, depending on the extent and population of the parish. They were, moreover, normally held twice a year, just before Christmas and after Easter. Finally, it should be noted that Stations were essentially a rural phenomenon because in the cities and larger towns they were not held in private houses but in the parish churches and chapels. Such then is the barebones of the custom of Stations that evolved into a national system between 1750 and 1850.

4I should now like to turn to the discussion of the origin, emergence and consolidation of Stations. The origin of Stations between 1730 and 1750 was rooted in the consequences of the Penal Laws imposed by the English government on the Irish Church between 1697 and 1709 Those Laws had resulted, at first, in a sharp diminuation of the clergy in Ireland, but by 1730 the clergy had not only recovered theirs numbers, but had actually increased them substantially. (See Table I)

  • 2 The numbers in Table I for the clergy, secular and regular, in the several years have been drawn f (...)

TABLE I2

TABLE I2
  • 3 Hugh Fenning, The Undoing of the Friars of Ireland (Louvain, 1972), p. 47.
  • 4 Ignatius Murphy, The Diocese of Killaloe in the Eighteenth Century (Dublin, 1991). p. 72

5By 1730, in fact, it was generally admitted that there were too many clergy in Ireland given the resources available to support them, and the resuit was a fierce competition between the diocesan and regular clergy for economic survival3. By the mid 1°730s, that struggle had become so serious for the diocesan clergy in the rural areas that they were obliged to beg from door to door among their parishoners for the necessities of life4. This only further intensified, of course, their conflict with the regular clergy, who, from time immemorial in Ireland, had exercised their traditional right of questing, or begging from door to door, in those parishes in the neighborhood of their convents.

  • 5 Fenning, p. 123-29.

6By the end of the 1°730s, therefore, it was clear to the Roman authorities that something must be done to reform the Irish Church in general, and to limit the number of clergy in particular. The winds of change, in fact, were already strongly blowing in Rome, and the election in 1740 of Benedict XIV, the great reforming pope of the eighteenth century, was to.have profound consequences for the future of the Irish Church5. One of the fïrst and most important of his acts as pope in regard to the Irish Church was to approve in 1742 a recommendation of Propaganda to limit to twelve the number of priests each Irish bishop could ordain in his life-time. By 1750 the diocesan clergy were already in numerical decline, and though Benedict had also taken the reform of the regular clergy in hand, he was for a time prevented by other concerns in the universal Church from implementing that reform. In the meantime, the diocesan clergy, given the fact that the regular clergy were continuing to increase at the rate of about a hundred a decade, felt even more financially threatened than they had been, and it was because of this deepening crisis in their economie affairs that the diocesan clergy finally began to transform their recently adopted custom of begging from door to door, in imitation of the regulars, into the more formai system of Stations in order to secure on the parochial level their economic survival

7The emergence of the system of Stations between 1750 and 1770, as distinguished from its origins, was actually a combination of three inter-related historical phenomena. The first was the very significant increase in the Catholic population. The second was the very sharp decline in the total number of clergy in Ireland, and the third was the inability of the Catholic community to increase church and chapel accommodation significantly, especiallly in the rural areas. Between 1750 and 1770, the Catholic population increased from 1,850,000 to 2,700,000, or by nearly 50 percent, and the clerical population fell from 2°100 to 1600, or by nearly 24 percent (See Table II).

  • 6 For the Catholic population between 1697 and 1800 in Table II, see the estimates of Daultrey et al (...)

TABLE II6

TABLE II6

8This combination of the rapid growth in population and the sharp decline in the number of clergy resulted in a disastrous deterioration in the ratio of priests to people, which worsened from one priest to 880 people in 1750 to one priest to 1660 people in 1770, or by more than 90 percent. If the priest to people ratio in 1770 is a reliable indicator of the pastoral care available, the Catholic population had never been in such dire pastoral straits, except perhaps for the worst years of the Cromwellian persecution in the early 1650s. If the increasing lack of space for divine worship is then added to the problems of a burgeoning population and a declining number of priests, all the ingredients for this very severe crisis in pastoral care were in place. It was this rapid deterioration in pastoral care between 1750 and 1770, then, that provided the context for the equally rapid emergence of the practice of Stations as a system. In a word, it was the acute shortage of clergy and chapel accommodation that produced the necessary rationalization for a more efficient and effective use of the clergy's time and energy in meeting the pastoral needs of an ever-burgeoning Catholic population in the homes of their more substantial parishioners.

  • 7 Fenning, p. 204-08

9But what precipitated this acute shortage of clergy, which was really the critical factor in producing the crisis, between 1750 and 1770 ? The great irony in the answer to that question is that it was Rome and not the English government and its Penal Laws that was ultimately responsible for the sharp decline in the number of clergy. It was Roman legislation sanctioned by Benedict XIV, it will be recalled that had limited each Irish bishop to twelve ordinations during his lifetime. This measure had the effect of reducing the number of diocesan clergy by some 300 between 1743 and 1770. It will also be recalled, that soon after his elevation as pope, Benedict had planned a general reform of the Irish Church, but had been prevented from doing so by more pressing problems in the universal Church. By 1750, however, he was again ready to take up Irish reform, and sanctioned a series of measures in that year which were to have profound and unanticipated consequences for both the regular clergy as a body and the Irish Church as an institution. Among the many reform measures approved by the pope, there were two that proved to be of vital importance to the regular clergy, and which basically shaped the kind of Church that was to emerge in pre-Famine Ireland7. The first of these reform measures forbade all the regular orders from receiving any more novices in Ireland, and the second subjected the regular clergy to virtually the complete control and jurisdiction of the Irish bishops. The resuit of the first measure was to increase so greatly the cost of educating a candidate for the regular priesthood by requiring him to be sent to a house of the order on the continent to complete his year's novitiate, that it proved almost immediately ruinous to vocations for the regular clergy in Ireland. The resuit of the second measure, subjecting the regular clergy to the control of the bishops, had a more long-term effect on the vitality of the regulars as a body. One of the most important of the new regulations, for example, allowed the bishops to draft the regulars into parish work as parish priests and curates, which eventually undermined their conventual life and morale.

10The sobering resuit of this crucial Roman legislation in 1750, as may be seen in Table III, was not only to effect a sharp drop of some 300 in the number of regular clergy between 1750 and 1770, but also to initiate a long-term decline in the regular body from some 800 in 1750 to about 180 in 1840.

  • 8 For the number of diocesan clergy in Table III between 1750 and 1840 see footnote six. For the num (...)

TABLE III8

TABLE III8

11While the regular clergy declined in absolute numbers by some 620, or nearly 350 percent, between 1750 and 1840, the diocesan clergy improved their absolute numbers by 920, or more than 70 percent, during the same period. The most significant lesson to be learned from Table III, of course, is that by the time of the Great Famine in 1847, the diocesan clergy had completely eclipsed the regular clergy as a presence in the Irish Church, and that one of the most important reasons for that eclipse was that the custom of Stations allowed the diocesan clergy to win finally the long economic struggle for scarce resources in the Irish Church. By guaranteeing them, in effect, a fixed and secure annual income in the dues they collected in money and kind, as well as in providing for the long periods of hospitality they enjoyed at the expense of their parishioners twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, the diocesan clergy were easily able to stabilize their financial position, and thus established their dominance, vis à vis the regular clergy, in the Irish Church.

  • 9 Memoirs and Correspondence of Viscount Castlereagh, Second Marquess of Londonderry (London, 1849), (...)
  • 10 Robert E. Burns, “Parsons, Priests, and the People : The Rise oflrish Anti-Clericalism, 1785-89,” (...)
  • 11 Ibid.

12Finally, I should now like to turn from the discussion of the emergence of Stations to their consolidation as a national institution between 1770 and 1840. While the evidence for the consolidation of the system is better than that for either its origins or its emergence, it is still far from being historically satisfactory, especially before 1800. In that year, the bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Daniel Delany, explained in a long report to the government about his and his clergy's sources of income, that Stations were not only common in his diocese, but also throughout Ireland9. Indeed, Delany's account of Stations in the course of his report is the first historical description of the custom that I have come across. But if the Stations were common in Ireland, as Delany maintained, how long had they been so ? The earliest explicit reference to Stations before Delany's in 1800 was in 1786, during the celebrated Whiteboy, or Rightboy, agrarian agitation, that had broken out the previous year in the south and west of Ireland. At first, the Whiteboy movement had been directed against the clergy of the Established Protestant Church in an effort to secure a réduction of the tithes levied by them on land under crops, or tillage. The Whiteboys were soon denounced by many of the Catholic clergy, high and low, as a prohibited and illegal, oath-bound, secret society subversive of all law and order. The Whiteboys, who were mainly Catholics, were incensed that their clergy would take the government's side against them, and they soon extended their demands to a reduction of the dues and fees paid to the diocesan clergy10. The agitation against the clergy quickly spread and became more violent. So violent were the people of Kerry and Cork against the Catholic clergy that the Catholic Archbishop of Cashel, and his six suffragan bishops, assembled in Cork city at the end of June to devise some means of pacifying the people11.

  • 12 John Brady, Catholics and Catholieisim in the Eighteenth-Century Press (Maynooth, 1965), p. 235.
  • 13 Ibid., p. 236-37.

13The assembled prelates promised that each of the bishops on returning to his diocese would make a strict inquiry into the alleged abuses by their clergy in regard to the excessive charges made for baptisms, marriages, funeral masses, and Christmas and Easter dues, and to correct those abuses where they existed12. They also expressed their particular disapprobation of an accusation made, which they hoped was without foundation, against. “some parish priests, in this province, of putting their parishioners to expenses, oppressive and unseemly by the entertainments provided at stations of confession, at weddings, christenings or funerals.”13 The point to be made about the Whiteboy agitation in regard to Stations, of course, is that it demonstrated that the custom of Stations, as distinguished from its abuses, was by 1786 an accepted and integral part of the religious landscape in the south and west of Ireland. The most that can be said about the timing of the consolidation of Stations, therefore, is that soon after their emergence between 1750 and 1770, they quickly became universal in Ireland.

14In time, the Whiteboy disturbances died down, but sporadic outbreaks, especially in the northwest, continued for another twenty years protesting clerical avarice. The lesson of these disturbances was not lost on the Irish bishops, most of whom, eventually issued diocesan regulations governing the maximum amounts that might be asked by the clergy for their services. What the Whiteboy agitation and the bishops'response to it make clear is that what they were ail really interested in was not the abolition of Stations, but their reform. Indeed, any fundamental modification at this time of the system of Stations would have been impossible. The three phenomena that had originally produced the crisis that resulted in the emergence of Stations between 1750 and 1770, were not only still operative but with a vengeance. The Catholic population continued to increase at a frightening rate, which resulted in a further worsening of the priest-to-people ratios, and turned the acute shortage of church and chapel space into a chronic problem, despite the strenuous efforts of the bishops and clergy between 1790 and 1815 to provide more space. In regard to Stations, therefore, the bishops and their clergy were obliged to make a virtue of necessity by reforming the abuses, while attempting to render the custom more efficient and useful in their pastoral ministry.

  • 14 W. J. F Tzpatrick, Life, Times and Correspondence of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Doyle, Bishop of Kildare and (...)
  • 15 Statuta Diocesania, Per Provinciam Dubliniensem Observanda (Dublin, 1831), p. 51-52.
  • 16 Cullen Papers, Irish College, Rome.

15The bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, James Warren Doyle, the most intrepid pastoral reformer in the pre-Famine Church, for example, soon after his accession in 1819, abolished Station dinners, and recommended that each of his parish priests appoint two laymen to receive the Christmas and Easter dues from the head of each household respectively on the feasts of the Epiphany and the Ascension14. Some ten years later, in 1831, when Doyle and the other bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Dublin met in Synod, they took the very radical decision to recommend to their clergy that Stations in the future be held in the parish churches and chapels rather than in private houses15. That the movement for the radical reform of Stations should have begun in the ecclesiastical province of Dublin, of course, was the resuit of the relatively more favorable conditions prevailing there in regard to priest-to-people ratios and church and chapel accommodations than in the other three ecclesiastical provinces. In 1840, it will be recalled, the ratio of priests to people for all Ireland was one priest for every 2°750 people. In the province of Dublin in 1840, the ratio was one to 2°150, while in the province of Tuam, in the far west, the ratio had soared to an extraordinary one to 3°100. Church and chapel accommodation, moreover, in the province of Dublin was much more plentiful than in the other three provinces. Despite Dublin's relative advantages, however, the bishops'recommendation to hold Stations only in the parish churches and chapels did not have the desired effect. Some ten years after Doyle's death, for example, one of his most devoted priests and sincere admirers James Maher, professor of theology at Carlow College, wrote to his nephew, Paul Cullen, rector of the Irish College in Rome, in early January 1842, expressing his misgivings about Stations16. “Could not Rome”, he suggested, “do something to stimulate the zeal and watchfulness of the Bishops : the holding of Stations for Mass and Confession at private houses is the very worst system.” “Wretched filthy cabins”, he explained, “have lately been honored with stations.”

  • 17 Ibid.

The people cannot be instructed. The priest no matter how zealous cannot do his duty. The young clergyman is brought into contact with his female penitents. The resuit is confessions are often invalid or sacrilegious. It is almost impossible that the poor country people in the circumstances could disclose their sins. Struggling with their natural reluctance to avow their guilt, and fearing at the same time to be overheard by those who are pressing round the Priest, who cannot utter a word of encouragement to the sinner, except in the lowest and therefore [un] intelligible whisper...17

  • 18 Emmet Larkin, The Making of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, 1850-1860 (Chapel Hill, 1980), p (...)

16“Could not Rome”, Maher again suggested, “induce the Bishops to change the system ? Stations in the chapels have been recommended in the Statutes for this province. But the recommendation has proved a dead letter.” “We owe much to Rome”, he assured his nephew in conclusion, “and if she would help us to this reform we would be more deeply her debtor.” The great irony in this letter, of course, is that it was none other than Maher's nephew, Paul Cullen, who would return to Ireland from Rome eight years later in 1850, as the newly appointed archbishop of Armagh, to preside as the pope's apostolic delegate over the national Synod convened at Thurles, where he would provide for the fundamental reform not only of the system of Stations, but also of much else in the Irish Church18.

  • 19 Emmet Larkin, “Economic Growth, Capital Investment, and the Roman Catholic Church in Nineteenth-Ce (...)

17In the meantime, the whole face of Irish society had been dramatically transformed by the awful impact in 1847 of the Great Famine. The tragic story has often been told, and the bare facts are well known. The concern here, however, is with the impact the Famine had on Stations, and that impact was determinent in their demise by fundamentally changing the basic givens in both the priest-to-people ratio and the availability of church and chapel accommodation. In the long decade after the Famine (See Table II), the estimated pre-Famine Catholic population of some 6,800,000 was reduced by about 2,300,000, or more than a third, while the number of priests was increased from 2°400 to 3°000, or by about a quarter. The ratio of priest to people, therefore, was dramatically improved between 1847 and 1860 from about one in 2°800 to one in 1500. Church and chapel construction, which finally began to gain some ground after 1835 on the Catholic population, continued to expand at an even greater rate after the Famine, and by 1860, given the enormous decline in population, there was actually, for the first time in three centuries in Ireland sufificient space to accommodate finally the entire Catholic church-going population on a given Sunday or holy day of obligation19. In the decade of the 1°850s, therefore, under the pressure of the legislation passed by the reforming bishops, led by Paul Cullen, at the Synod of Thurles, and at subsequent provincial Synods, and with the transformation of those social conditions that had produced it in the first place, the system of Stations began to disintegrate as a national institution.

18In concluding this presentation, I should first like to discuss the historical significance of Stations in pre-Famine Ireland, and then finally to consider their crucial importance in the making and consolidating of the Devotional Revolution in the generation after the Famine. Stations were of considerable historical significance in at least four important ways. First, there is their contribution to the establishment of the constitutional principle of the separation of Church and State in Ireland. Second, there is the part played by Stations in the class society that was created in pre-Famine Ireland. Third, there is their role in the making and consolidating of the nation-forming class, and fourth, there is their importance in containing the proselytizing efforts of the Protestant Evangelicals before the Famine. Because any one of the above would provide the subject for another paper, I must confine myself in this conclusion to only the briefest consideration of each.

19The very vexed question of the separation of Church and State in Ireland became a real issue several years before the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, when the British govemment first contemplated the payment of an annual salary to the Irish clergy in order to bind them more closely to the State. It continued to remain a real issue right down to the Famine. Fortunately for the principle of separation of Church and State, the consolidation of the system of Stations before 1800 allowed the diocesan clergy to create their own viable vehicle of voluntary economic support at the parish level, and eventually to stabilize the incomes on which their economic security depended. Though this made them economically dependent on their laity, the clergy, increasingly after 1800, viewed this as the great virtue of the voluntary system because it not only bound them more closely to their people, but also freed them from any dependence on the British State. It was this voluntary system, therefore, which was an integral part of the system of Stations, that made the separation of Church and State in Ireland not only economically possible, but eventually a fundamental fact of Irish political life.

20The emergence of a class society in pre-Famine Ireland was, of course, the consequence of the enormous growth in the Catholic population, which increased by more than 150 percent between 1750 and 1847. This increase took place primarily at the bottom of the social and economic pyramid among the marginal farmers, cottiers, and laborers, thus creating a class society, where the great divide was between those who had access to land, other than a potato patch, and those who did not. Those who made up the bottom of this social pyramid probably accounted for something more than half of the Catholic population, and of that half, more than half again were living at the subsistence level, and utterly dependent on the potato for their food. This class society was reflected in the system of Stations, as it became more and more the preserve of the better-off and more sub stantial of the Catholic farming class. In short, Stations were a class phenomenon, catering mainly to the agricultural bourgeoisie, and becoming increasingly more so right down to the Famine.

  • 20 Emmet Larkin, “Church, State, and Nation in Modem Ireland,” The American Historical Review, vol. L (...)

21The cream of this agricultural bourgeoisie was the more than thirty-acre tenant farmers, whom I have elsewhere designated, along with their cousinhood, the shopkeepers in the towns, the nationforming class20. Immediately before the Famine, this class numbered something less than a million, and made up about one in seven of the total Catholic population. After the Famine they gradually improved their absolute numbers to more than a million, and by 1880, because of the continuing mass emigration, they amounted to one in four of the Catholic population. This nationforming class, therefore, survived the Famine virtually intact, while the bottom of the social pyramid was swept away by starvation, disease, and emigration. It was this class that was the mainstay of the system of Stations in pre-Famine Ireland, and it was the system of Stations, in turn, which not only allowed this group to focus its identity as the nation-forming class, but which also permitted it to form that devotional nucleus which became the core of Devotional Catholicism in Ireland after the Famine.

  • 21 T. P. Power, “Converts,” Endurance and Emergence, Catholics in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, (...)

22Besides the significance of Stations in providing for the establishing of the principle of separation of Church and State in Ireland, in contributing to the creation of a class society, and in the focusing of the nation-forming class, they were also crucial in containing the proselytizing efforts of both the Established Church in the eighteenth century, and the Protestant Evangelicals in their New Reformation in the nineteenth. Indeed, in the eighteenth century the Established Church had very great success in converting what remained of the Catholic landed class to Protestantism, but they made no inroads on the Catholic middle or lower classes. Of the 2°500 of the some 6°000 converts to Protestantism, whose status or occupation was recorded between 1703 and 1800, for example, there were only 64 farmers and three laborers21. In the New Reformation launched in the 1°820s, on the other hand, the Protestant Evangelicals, who were largely financed from England, focused their efforts on the Catholic masses. Though there are no reliable statistics, it is clear that what success the Evangelicals had was among the poorest of the poor. The farming class in general, and the nation forming class in particular, were left untouched by the Protestant Crusade. Catholic community pressure, in fact, proved to be so great that even in those few areas where the Evangelicals initially had some modest success, their converts were eventually obliged either to emigrate or to reconform to Catholicism. There can be little doubt that this Catholic solidarity, and the sanctions that the Catholic community was able to invoke at the local and parish levels, were to a very large degree the resuit of the successful consolidation of the system of Stations.

  • 22 Patrick J. Corish, The Irish Catholic Experience (Dublin, 1985), p. 101-07.

23Finally, I should now like to conclude this presentation by discussing the significance of Stations in the making and consolidating of that Devotional Revolution, which transformed the Irish people as a people between 1847 and 1880 into the pious and practicing Catholics they have remained almost down to the present day. The relationship between Stations and the Devotional Revolution, however, is very complicated, and it requires some historical background22. In the latter half of the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church finally launched its long anticipated counter-attack against the Protestant Reformation. The ideological blueprint for this Catholic Counter-Reformation was drawn up at the Council of Trent between 1545 and 1563. The reform measures legislated at Trent were very.farreaching, and their eventual enforcement was undoubtedly the most thorough-going renovation in the history of the Church down to the second Vatican Council. In terms of the pastoral reform legislated at Trent, the key-figure was to be the diocesan bishop, and all pastoral authority and responsibility was concentrated in him. To assist the bishop in this pastoral reformation, a worthy priesthood was to be intellectually and morally formed in newly instituted diocesan seminaries. The practice of religion, moreover, was to be centered on the parish, in the person of the parish priest, and in the parish church, which was to be exclusively reserved for religious purposes. The other social forces in the community, such as the Christian household and the extended family, were to be de-emphasized, and ail religious devotions and practices, especially in regard to the Sacraments, were to be placed firmly under the control of the parochial clergy and celebrated in the parish church. The reforms legislated at Trent became in time the practice of most of the Catholic countries in Western Europe. Such a radical and comprehensive pastoral reform, however, was not possible in Ireland because of the very adverse long-term historical circumstances faced by Irish Catholics and their Church.

24What Tridentine reform was effected in Ireland, therefore, was both tentative and piecemeal, but a giant step was certainly taken towards such reform in 1750 when Benedict XIV initiated the decline of the regular clergy by closing their novitiates in Ireland, and by placing them firmly under the jurisdiction of the Irish bishops, thus ensuring in the long-run the dominance of the diocesan clergy. Ironically, at the very moment Benedict initiated his basic reforms, the system of Stations began to emerge. Just as the corner, therefore, appeared to have been turned in favor of Tridentine reform in Ireland, it seemed that its very antithesis had been raised in the system of Stations. All was not quite so simple, however, because there was both loss and gain for Tridentine reform in the consolidation of the system of Stations. While Stations did have the effect of locating religious devotions and practice in the home rather than in the parish churches or chapels, they also placed the parish priest at the center of the religious life of his people, and defined the parish as a living and vital religious community. In this trade-off, however, there is little doubt, from the Tridentine point of view, the loss appeared greater than the gain. Still, because Stations were really a function of adverse demographie and economic circumstances, namely population growth, and the acute shortage of clergy and space for worship, once the logjam of adverse numbers was broken by the impact of the Great Famine, the way was immediately opened not only for a full-scale Tridentine reform of the Irish Church, but for the making and consolidating of a Devotional Revolution that was to be the pastoral fulfillment of that Tridentine reform.

Provinces and Dioceses of IRELAND

Provinces and Dioceses of IRELAND

Notes

1 William Carleton, “The Station”, Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry (London, [1869]), vol. I, 145-80.

2 The numbers in Table I for the clergy, secular and regular, in the several years have been drawn from various sources. Those for 1697 and 1698 include, William P. Burke, The Irish Priests in the Penal Times, 1660-1760 (Waterford, 1914), p. 127-28, Cathaldus G Blin, “A List of the Personnel of the Franciscan Province of Ireland, 1700” Collectanea Hibernica, No. 2, 1959, and Hugh Fenning, The Irish Dominican Province, 1698-1797 (Dublin, 1990), p. 13. Those for 1710 are from Patrick Boyle, The Irish College in Paris from 1578 to 1901 (London, 1901), p. 30-37, and Fenning, op. cit., p. 56-58. For 1730 see The Journal of the House of Lords, Ireland, March 8, 1731, “Report on the State of Popery”, p. 199-210. For the number of clergy in 1750 see Fenning, The Undoing of the Friars in Ireland (Louvain, 1972), p. 44

3 Hugh Fenning, The Undoing of the Friars of Ireland (Louvain, 1972), p. 47.

4 Ignatius Murphy, The Diocese of Killaloe in the Eighteenth Century (Dublin, 1991). p. 72

5 Fenning, p. 123-29.

6 For the Catholic population between 1697 and 1800 in Table II, see the estimates of Daultrey et al. in Joel Mokyr and Cormac O'Gráda, “New Developments in Irish Population History, 1770-1850,” The Economic History Review, second series, vol. XXXVII, No. 4, November 1984. Ail of the Daultrey estimates of the total population have been reduced by twenty percent to arrive at the Catholic population. The population figures for 1840 and 1850 have been taken from the Irish censuses for those respective years, and also reduced by twenty percent to arrive at the Catholic population. The figures for 1860 through 1910 are from the respective Irish censuses, which in 1860 began to differentiate between the various religious denominations. For the number of clergy between 1697 and 1759 see footnote two. For the number of clergy in 1800 see Memoirs and Correspondence of Viscount Casdereagh, Second Marguess of Londonderry (London 1849), Charles Vane, editor, vol. IV, 97-173. For the number of clergy between 1840 and 1910 see the respective Irish censuses for those years.

7 Fenning, p. 204-08

8 For the number of diocesan clergy in Table III between 1750 and 1840 see footnote six. For the number of regular clergy between 1750 and 1800 also see footnote six. For the number of regular clergy in 1840 see the Irish Catholic Directory, 1841.

9 Memoirs and Correspondence of Viscount Castlereagh, Second Marquess of Londonderry (London, 1849), Charles Vane, editor, vol. IV, 153-54.

10 Robert E. Burns, “Parsons, Priests, and the People : The Rise oflrish Anti-Clericalism, 1785-89,” Church History, vol. XXXI, No. 2, June 1962, p. 9.

11 Ibid.

12 John Brady, Catholics and Catholieisim in the Eighteenth-Century Press (Maynooth, 1965), p. 235.

13 Ibid., p. 236-37.

14 W. J. F Tzpatrick, Life, Times and Correspondence of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Doyle, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin (Dublin, 1880), Vol. I, 115.

15 Statuta Diocesania, Per Provinciam Dubliniensem Observanda (Dublin, 1831), p. 51-52.

16 Cullen Papers, Irish College, Rome.

17 Ibid.

18 Emmet Larkin, The Making of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, 1850-1860 (Chapel Hill, 1980), p. 27-57

19 Emmet Larkin, “Economic Growth, Capital Investment, and the Roman Catholic Church in Nineteenth-Century Ireland,” The American Historical Review, vol. LXXII, June 1972, p. 857-58.

20 Emmet Larkin, “Church, State, and Nation in Modem Ireland,” The American Historical Review, vol. LXXX, No. 5, December 1975, p. 1245-48.

21 T. P. Power, “Converts,” Endurance and Emergence, Catholics in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, edited by T. P. Power and Kevin Whelan (Dublin, 1990), p. 106.

22 Patrick J. Corish, The Irish Catholic Experience (Dublin, 1985), p. 101-07.

Table des illustrations

Titre TABLE I2
URL http://books.openedition.org/pur/docannexe/image/15968/img-1.png
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Titre TABLE II6
URL http://books.openedition.org/pur/docannexe/image/15968/img-2.png
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Titre TABLE III8
URL http://books.openedition.org/pur/docannexe/image/15968/img-3.png
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Titre Provinces and Dioceses of IRELAND
URL http://books.openedition.org/pur/docannexe/image/15968/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 366k

Auteur

© Presses universitaires de Rennes, 1998

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540