23 August, 2010

From 'Five Years in Ireland'

Taken from 'FIVE YEARS IN IRELAND, 1895-1900' By M. J. F. MCCARTHY, M.A., BARRISTER-AT-LAW, Published in 1901 by Hodges, Figgis & Co., Dublin, from Chapter XX 'The Events of Jubilee Year, Ninety-Seven Continued,' at p. 252 ff.

"Dr. Kelly was elected Bishop of Ross, of which diocese Skibbereen is the chief town. Dr. Kelly brings us back to ecclesistical matters. Prominent amongst them is "an impressive ecclesiastical function at Armagh." The public were informed that 'Cardinal Logue obtained special permission from the Pope for the Canons of his Cathedral to wear the celebrated choral dress, as worn by the Canons of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the special Canons of His Holiness the Pope, a dress which is con- sidered one of the richest and most beautiful both in material and colouring that the Canons of the Church are permitted to wear.' The function was 'the investing of the Canons with this imposing and gorgeous church uniform.'

"Dr. Foley, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, issued his first pastoral, and nothing could be more instructive for those who wish to know what manner of man the Irish Catholic Bishop is than to read that document, or the part of it printed in the Press for the instruction of the Irish people. Had I room, I would print it all. He lamented the fact that 'it may not be prudent' to have public processions of the Blessed Sacrament through the towns. I have seen them in the South of Ireland. He laments that we, in Ireland, 'cannot give full and free expression to the homage that we know well ought to be given to our Divine Lord in the Holy Eucharist.' And he exclaims : 'The very atmosphere we breathe is not one calculated to -force the finest specimens of full-blown Catholicity.' With all due respect to Dr. Foley, the forcing-bed and the artificial heat are sufficiently in evidence here abeady; and if Catholicity in Carlow is not full-blown enough for him, he is very hard to please.

"The foundation stone of the new Catholic Church of St. John was laid at Kilkenny, one of our most decadent Irish towns. It will be, when com- pleted, a magnificent building, with a tower and spire 238 feet high! It is said to have cost £30,000, up to the year 1900, but the works have been stopped, I believe, owing to the cost having exceeded the estimate and the gift for its erection, but I have not been able to obtain any statement of accounts in connection with this or any other of the new Catholic Churches referred to.

"The vast sum of money intended to cover its erection was the gift of an old couple called Loughlin and their two sons, and was inherited, it is stated, from relatives in Australia. Dr. Brownrigg, the Bishop of Ossory, boasted that it would be the most beautiful church along the line of the silver Nore from the spot where it rises at the root of Slieve-bloom to where that river mixes its waters with the sea at Waterford." He alluded to the people who gave this vast sum for its erection, as 'the venerable old man, head of the family, whose health, I hope, has permitted him to be here, and his two sons,' and 'the venerable old lady, his wife, whose health I know has not permitted her to be here.' Thus were the Loughlins dealt with, while he eulogised to the stars his fellow-bishops who were present, and himself, as if they had done more in connection with the affair than the Loughlins.

"All I can say is that I do not believe Saint John feels a bit honoured by the building of that church in such a poor town and district as Kilkenny ; and I am sure he could have suggested to Dr. Brovmrigg a dozen ways in which the money might have been better spent."

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