Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jesuit On Pre-Reformation Ireland

Too often writers will say that classic Irish religious culture was "Jansenistic." This erroneous claim can be examined and dismantled. Newer scholarship readily depicts a more accurate picture.

Medieval European Catholicism was "abbey centered." Early monastic life had evolved into the great abbatial sees. The monastic ideal was the only ideal for the Christian, and the laity absorbed "the culture of the monastery" into their morals and piety. For the Christian West the thought of St. Augustine overshadowed the other Church Fathers, and this dominance shaped monastic spirituality as well as popular Catholicism. Augustinianism was "rigorist" by its nature, and this should surprise no one. Eamon Duffy says the pre-Counter-Reformation church in Ireland was "profoundly Augustinian."
Link (here) to read the full article by Fr. Brian Van Hove, S.J. entitled, "Jansenism, the Liturgy and Ireland"
Painting entitled The Triumph of St.Augustine (here)


breadgirl said...

Hello Joseph
This is very interesting. Thank you for linking to Fr Van Hove's article which I found enlightening. Thanks also for an excellent blog. God bless you.

shane said...

A lot of what we regard as ‘Jansenism’ was simply Puritan-derived Victorian values – which were not uniquely Catholic nor uniquely Irish (…and neither of the two in origin). John Stuart Mill also discerned “two influences which have chiefly shaped the British character since the days of the Stuarts; commercial money-getting business, and religious Puritanism”.

“Jansenism”. The Oxford Companion to Irish History. 2007.

“Jansenism was viewed with great suspicion by Rome, and 17th‐century Irish synods toed the Roman line. Indeed, while its moral rigorism made it attractive to elements of the Counter‐Reformation church, Jansenism’s theological and political radicalism alienated both local hierarchies and Catholic monarchs. This was especially the case in France and most Irish clerical students there associated with milieux hostile to the movement. Indeed their anti‐Jansenist opinions were singled out for criticism by the pro‐Jansenist journal Nouvelles ecclésiastiques, Irish clerics, in general, being more attracted to Jesuit‐style humanism. The success of the anti‐Jansenist bull Unigenitus (1713) marginalized the movement but it survived as a popular millenarian‐cum‐miracle cult. Neither as a theology nor as a political attitude did Jansenism recommend itself to the Irish Catholic community, either at home or abroad. The frequent claim that Irish Catholicism was Jansenist‐influenced springs from the tendency to confuse Jansenism with mere moral rigorism.”

Dr Thomas O’Connor. Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer – Department of History, National University of Ireland, Maynooth faculty

author of:

_Irish Jansenists 1600-1670: politics and religion in Flanders, France, Ireland and Rome (Dublin, 2008)
_Strangers to Citizens: the Irish in Europe 1600-1800 (Dublin, 2008)
_An Irish Jansenist in seventeenth-century France: John Callaghan 1605-54 (Dublin, 2005)
_An Irish Theologian in Enlightenment Europe: Luke Joseph Hooke 1714-96 (Dublin, 1995)

Healy, John. Maynooth College : its centenary history (1895). Dublin : Browne & Nolan, 1895.

“During the eighteenth century many of the most eminent Churchmen in France were, to some extent, tinctured with these Jansenistic views, even when repudiating the Jansenistic errors regarding the operation of grace and free will. But although so many of our Irish ecclesiastics were educated in France during the eighteenth century, none of those who came to Ireland ever showed the slightest trace of this Jansenistic influence, either in their writings or their sermons. Nor has any respectable authority asserted, so far as we know, that the French Professors of Maynooth were in any way tinged with the spirit of Jansenism.”

Most Rev. John Healy, D.D., LL.D., M.R.I.A

Anonymous said...

Do you even speak English? Seriously, wall of text crits me for 99999k.

Anonymous said...

Do you even speak English? Seriously, wall of text crits me for 99999k.

Anonymous said...

Do you even speak English? Seriously, wall of text crits me for 99999k.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's crazy man. They should really try to do something to fix that.