Now showing 1 - 10 of 12
  • Publication
    ‘The Miraculous Mathematics of the World’: Proving the Existence of God in Cardinal Péter Pázmány’s Kalauz
    (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
    This paper offers a brief examination of Cardinal Péter Pázmány’s meditation on the role of the beauty and wonder of the natural world in leading to the true knowledge of God, which is placed at the beginning of his most important work, the Guide to the Divine Truth (Isteni Igazsàgra Vezérlô Kalauz). Pázmány’s treatment of this subject offers an insight into the Catholic intellectual milieu which ultimately rejected the Copernican cosmology championed by Galileo in favour of a geocentric and geostatic universe. In this regard, the confidence with which Pázmány asserts the harmony and compatibility between secular knowledge and apprehension of nature and the conviction of the existence of a creator God is of particular importance. An analysis of this section of his work also points up a surprising contrast with Calvin’s treatment of the same subject in the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Pázmány was raised within the Reformed tradition until his teenage years and as a Catholic polemicist he devoted great attention to Calvin’s writings. Indeed, to some extent it can be suggested that the Institutes served as both target and model for his own great work. Yet his handling of the topic of nature as a proof of the existence of God, an area where relatively little difference might have been expected in view of its non-salience as a polemical issue, not only offers a revealing insight into the confident intellectual perspective of seventeenth-century Catholicism, but also suggests some additional ramifications of the great sola scriptura debate which split European Christianity in the early modern period.
      257
  • Publication
    Guerre de religion ou guerre ethnique? Les conflits religieux en Irlande 1500-1650
    (Presses Universitaires de France, 2009)
    The early modern period witnessed the establishment of deeply-entrenched rival religious confessions in Ireland, which exhibited a constant potential for sectarian conflict down to the close of the twentieth century. This process was carried to its extreme in the northern province of Ulster where early modern Protestant immigration into Ireland reached its highest point, resulting in the development of a Catholic identity which was essentially Irish in its ethnic composition, a substantially Scottish Presbyterian strand, and a politically-dominant Anglican population of largely English origin. But even in the southern provinces of Connacht, Leinster and Munster, the basis of what was to become an independent and highly Catholic state in the twentieth century, as a result of the events of the early modern period different local religious communities were forced into an uneasy co-existence. Outside Ulster, the complicating admixture of Protestant dissent and Scottish ethnicity was much reduced and few localities did not display a large Catholic majority, but the political dominance of the established church ensured at least a thin overlay of Protestants throughout the island, although in places such as parts of Connacht their numbers were extremely insignificant. Sectarian difference did not entail permanent conflict, mutual co-existence was the historical norm rather than the exception, yet the confessional identities were always at least latently antagonistic and when violence erupted it could take extraordinarily virulent forms. In this regard, the middle of the seventeenth century was arguably the period of greatest strife and loss of life, which copper-fastened the process of religious polarisation.
      1767
  • Publication
    Giovanni Battista Rinuccini and the Confederate Catholics of Ireland
    (Iwanami Shoten, 2012-11)
    GianBattista Rinuccini was one of the most significant actors in Ireland during the pivotal decade of the 1640s. Although ultimately he proved unsuccessful in almost everything which he attempted to achieve politically in Ireland during that period, he exerted a profound influence over the affairs of the Confederate Catholics of Ireland, the oath-bound association which had established a quasi-state in much of the island in the wake of the 1641 rebellion. In particular, by his staunch resistance to Confederate attempts to negotiate a durable peace settlement with the Royalist party under the leadership of the Marquis of Ormond, he altered the whole course of events not merely in Ireland but in the archipelago as a whole, as his efforts ensured that Ireland did not become a Royalist stronghold until  after the execution of the king in 1649, rather than at least three years earlier.
      97
  • Publication
    The Church of Ireland and the native Irish population in plantation Ulster
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2010)
    This largely historiographical paper examines the initial inclusion of native Gaelic clergy in the plantation church in Ulster and their gradual disappearance over the course the next twenty-five years. This was a highly significant development for it meant that the Ulster church took on a markedly Anglo-centric profile and religion, rather than functioning as a potential bridge between the indigenous and immigrant communities, instead was to become one of the most potent markers of division and hostility between natives and newcomers.
      337
  • Publication
    Early Modern Catholic Perspectives on the Biblical Text: The Bellarmine and Whitaker Debate
    (Brill, 2018-05-01)
    The importance of the Bible to the Reformed traditions within Christianity is of course a truism. But the weight which the bible exercised over European Catholicism is sometimes under-estimated. As Maria Rosa has demonstrated, the influence of scriptural models influenced many different parts of life in Italy, not least in the realm of political theory. Figures such as Benito Montano whose De optimo imperio, sive in lib. Josuae commentarium (1589) was followed in 1592 by De varia republica, sive commentaria in librum Judicum or Francois Regeau who produced Leges politicae ex Sacae Scripturai libris collectae in 1615 or the avvisi of the Accademia dei Virtuosi in and around the pontificate of Gregory XV testified to the massive influence of Scripture within reformed Catholicism in creating a new political theory specifically opposed to Machiavellian conceptions of reason of state. Indeed, the determination with which the Italian vernacular scriptures were pursued in the sixteenth century is itself testimony to the importance which was accorded to the word of the Bible and the authority of the Vulgate. This in some respects reached a crescendo with Felice Peretti, the future Sixtus V, who spent a period of disfavour in revising Ambrosine texts and replacing their biblical quotations with the wording of the Vulgate. In Early Modern Rome it was certainly believed that the Bible must be removed from unsafe hands and there was a strong insistence on the authority of unwritten tradition but nevertheless Scripture remained the centre of gravity of Catholic thought also. Thus the very first book of Robert Bellarmine’s Controversiae, in many respects the paradigmatic text of early modern Catholicism, laid out the Catholic understanding of the primary importance of the Scriptures. At no point was Bellarmine prepared to concede that any form of Protestantism was more securely anchored in Scripture: on the contrary he insisted “nam Scripturam nos pluris facimus, quàm illi[the reformers]”.
      158
  • Publication
    The ascent to establishment status: the Irish Catholic hierarchy of the mid-seventeenth century
    (Manchester University Press, 2013-01)
    Many factors distinguished Irish from British Catholicism in the course of the seventeenth century. Most importantly, Ireland was unique within the archipelago in the fact that Catholicism was the religion of the great majority of the island's inhabitants. The sheer size of the Catholic population also created both opportunities and administrative difficulties for the church of Rome in Ireland and in the course of the seventeenth century the island acquired a Catholic organisational apparatus which rendered it unique, not merely within the archipelago, but in the entire area defined in Rome as in partibus infidelium, that is those areas of the world not within the jurisdiction of a Catholic state. In Jacobean and Caroline Ireland a shadow church-in-waiting was created, which for a brief period during the 1640s effectively replaced the state church in much of the island. It is the purpose of this chapter to trace the evolution and chief characteristics of this alternative ecclesiastical establishment, concentrating in particular on what emerged as the hierarchical apex of Catholic clerical organisation, the episcopate.
      164
  • Publication
    Disappointing Friends: France and the Confederate Catholics of Ireland, 1642-48
    (Laboratoire d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Monde Anglophone (LERMA), 2014)
    This article examines the interactions between the Confederate Catholics of Ireland and France during the 1640s. Despite the mutual goodwill between the governments, ultimately this relationship proved disappointing to both parties. The Confederate Catholics did not receive the level of support from France which they had hoped for from the beginning of the rebellion in Ireland. On the other hand, France’s policies in Ireland largely failed. Mazarin’s government failed to make use of Irish resources to fashion a successful anti-parliamentarian coalition in Ireland as a launching-pad for the resuscitation of the royalist position throughout the archipelago. French recruitment policies in Ireland also proved unsuccessful as the French received fewer recruits during the Confederate period than either immediately before or immediately after the association’s existence. From their perspective, a certain limited advantage was gained by the fact that Spain also was unable to profit from Irish recruiting grounds during the 1640s, but the failure of the attempts to re-establish the Stuart monarchy ultimately undermined even this small achievement, when Spain gained disproportionately from the mass exodus of Irish soldiers following the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in the early 1650s.
      247
  • Publication
    Plantation 1580-1641
    (Oxford University Press, 2014-03)
    Plantation is a key theme, and in the eyes of some historians the key theme, in the history of Early Modern Ireland but what is comprehended under that term is less self-evident than might seem apparent at first glance.  Policies of plantation grew out of, and in tandem, with other state-sponsored schemes to pacify and settle the island of Ireland.  Contemporaries, for instance, were quite happy to style settlers who had occupied former monastic sites as 'planters' although such centres of immigration were clearly not comprehended in what Sir Francis Blundell referred to in 1622 as the 'six plantations made in Ireland since the memory of man'.  Moreover, as they evolved, plantation settlements were inevitably influenced by colonial spread as settlers tended to abandon less desirable plantation sites to move to more attractive estates and prime locations.  The geographical and ideological coherence which distinguished the planning of first the Munster and then pre-eminently the Ulster plantation thus rapidly dissolved under the pressure of economic reality.  When viewed in this light, it might be suggested that rather than representing a discrete theme in the history of Early Modern Ireland, plantation might perhaps be better seen as a vital component in the wider topic of British settlement in the island during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
      1366
  • Publication
    Religious Acculturation and Affiliation in Early Modern Gaelic Scotland, Gaelic Ireland, Wales and Cornwall
    (Palgrave, 2014)
    It has been the goal of the Insular Christianity project, of which this book is the second publication, to investigate the complex patterns of religious change in early modern Britain and Ireland. The focus of the current volume is on the religious culture of the speakers of Celtic languages within the archipelago. Its objective is not to try to isolate some putatively ‘Celtic’ Christianity nor does it imagine that any such essentialist construct existed. Rather late medieval Christianity was deeply rooted in four areas within the archipelago where Celtic vernaculars held sway.
      131
  • Publication
    Vatican diplomacy and the Mission of Rinuccini to Ireland
    (Catholic Historical Society of Ireland, 1993)
    Gianbattista Rinuccini, the papal nuncio to the confederate catholics of Ireland, was arguably one of the two most important figures in Ireland during the 1640s. Only James Butler, the Marquis of Ormond, exerted a comparable degree of influence over developments in Ireland during this period. Like Ormond, who became the king's Lord Lieutenant in 1643, the nuncio was the official representative in Ireland of a revered external authority. It was this position as the pope's representative, supplemented by a formidable personality and by control over papal financial assistance to Ireland, which formed the basis of Rinuccini's influence. What I propose in this paper is to focus on the reasons for Rinuccini's appointment as nuncio to the confederate catholics of Ireland in March 1645 and the implications which this was to have for the conduct of his mission
      250