By R. Fleischmann
Canon Sheehan's writings offer priceless perception into Ireland's tricky technique of cultural reconstruction after independence. This astute observer of Irish society used to be pessimistic concerning the way forward for faith. even though himself a guy of eu tradition, he made a case for isolationism to develop into fact lower than the unfastened nation. it's a case which this present day is definitely scorned - yet his paintings permits us to appreciate why it could possibly command such help, and to understand its relative historic justification.
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Additional resources for Catholic Nationalism in the Irish Revival: A Study of Canon Sheehan, 1852–1913
It was no wonder that the Catholic bishops should have been apprehensive about its attraction for the rising Catholic middle class now developing increasing contacts with the established Protestant one. 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 advanced religious 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.
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 implications of these findings for the traditional Christian world-view was a matter of concern to churchmen; and the desire to counteract the scepticism concerning Catholic dogma to which knowledge of the new ideas could give rise was one of the factors which Jed the Canon to become a novelist.
He seems to be confident that the innovation he suggests would result in a decisive improvement in the quality of religious instruction, and to rely on this outweighing any possible drawbacks. The University Question Canon Sheehan took up the issue of university education in 1886. The University Education Act of 1879 had given Cardinal Newman's Catholic university a measure of indirect endowment and access to recognized degrees, which were conferred by the newly established Royal University. The contentious question was, however, by no means resolved.