What Oliver Cromwell could not do, what an Gorta Mór (the Great Hunger) could not do, what hundreds of years of Anglo-Protestant persecution could not do to the Irish Catholic people — namely, rob them of their faith and morals — the one-two punch of the sexual revolution and the doctrinal-liturgical revolution in the Church have accomplished, with the more-or-less enthusiastic complicity of the Irish people themselves, clergy and laity. Joe Doyle, our 100% Irish go-to man on all questions Hibernian, has compiled a sad and sorrowful litany of this national apostasy, as well as a summary of its most recent manifestation — with two codas here and here. (Joe was good enough to speak with me about the tragedy for my latest Reconquest, “Ireland’s ‘Bloody Friday.’”)
We speak here of a nation that was a Catholic powerhouse since its conversion by Saint Patrick in the fifth century. A nation where, at one time, one out of four men was a monk, she sent missionaries abroad: Saint Columbkille († 597) to Scotland, and Saint Columbán († 615) to the European mainland, where he and his fellow Irish monks helped restore and extend the Church after the social chaos caused by the collapse of the Western Empire in 476. Abbeys like Bobbio (Italy), Luxeuil (France), and St. Gall (Switzerland) remain monuments of his and their accomplishments.
(The mystery and hokum that surrounds the so-called “Celtic Church,” which many moderns erroneously hold to have been independent of the Holy See in Rome, are the subject of two articles on this site by Charles Coulombe.)
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Erin produced numerous martyrs (thanks to Oliver Cromwell1 and his associates), like Saint Oliver Plunkett, whose severed head one may venerate at Saint Peter’s Church in Drogheda.
In more recent times, the Emerald Isle gave us great Catholic educators like Blessed Edmund Rice, founder of the (Irish) Christian Brothers, who should not be confused with the (French) Christian Brothers of Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle. She also continued to send out foreign missionaries as members, e.g., of such missionary congregations as the Holy Ghost Fathers and the Society of African Missions. Here in America, the lilting Mayo brogue of Venerable Patrick Peyton taught millions to pray the Rosary. This Holy Cross Father, affectionately known as “the Rosary Priest,” always his audiences that “the family that prays together stays together.”
And how could we forget Frank Duff, whose lay organization, the Legion of Mary sanctified so many of the faithful and helped advance the mission of the Church in so many places, including Africa and China?
With such a glorious past that we have only summarized in the scantiest detail, how did Éire come to suffer these late troubles?
Let us begin to answer that question by going back to an episode in the Old Testament, all the way back to the Book of Numbers. It involves one of the “dark passages” of the Bible, specifically, that related in Numbers 31, which narrates the war against the Madianites. In this war of God’s own vengeance against Madian (vs. 2-3), when the victorious Israelite army of 12,000 slew only the men, Moses was angered and ordered the slaying of all the male children and all the women who were not virgins, whereas the virgins were allowed to live (vs. 17-18).
Why was this?
We read in the Douay commentary for Numbers 31: “Women and children, ordinarily speaking, were not to be killed in war, Deut. 20. 14. But the great Lord of life and death was pleased to order it otherwise in the present case, in detestation of the wickedness of this people, who by the counsel of Balaam, had sent their women among the Israelites on purpose to draw them from God.” Balaam (of “Balaam’s Ass” fame) well knew that one way to gain victory over the Israelites was to send in the women, not as warriors obviously, but as seductresses who would morally and religiously corrupt Israelite men, as Jezebel would later corrupt Ahab. The wicked stratagem worked. As the relevant article at Fisheaters.com summarizes it: “Balaam later led Israel into idolatry by sending women to seduce the men of Israel away from the faith. God punished Israel for this by plague and war — a war in which Balaam got his comeuppance and was slain.” The matrons represented a threat to Israel, but clemency was shown to the virgins, who were not guilty of luring Israelite men into sin.
The heinousness of the fornication committed with the daughters of Moab lay in its admixture with the obscene worship of Beelphegor (or Baal-Peor), as related in Numbers 25:1-3, which the Rabbis tell us was not only impure, but grotesque as it involved also the worship of excrement. Saint John, Saint Peter, and Saint Jude all consider Balaam as something of an epitome of the false prophet who works for the sake of money (he was paid for his services).
False religion and apostasy from the true God seem to have been behaviorally and conceptually joined with evil sexual morality in the Old Testament, so much so that the expression “fornicating after strange gods” (Deut. 31:16) seems to include both these things: religious infidelity to God, and conjugal infidelity by way of sexual immorality.
What does all this have to do with Ireland?
Since the early twentieth century, if not before, elements inimical to Catholic morals have tried to revolutionize the public and private morality of the Irish people. For many years, an aggressive campaign from the EU, the UN, and the Council of Europe sought to loosen public morality in Ireland. The so-called “Church of Ireland,” something of a low-church species of Anglicanism has, since the Lambeth Conference of 1930, if not before, been a fifth-column within the Republic to accomplish this end. The Irish Times, the voice of liberal anti-Catholic ascendency, has also assisted the project, constantly reminding Irishmen of their backwardness and inferiority to more progressive nations of Europe and America.
All this proved effective. By the late 1960s, a feckless Irish administration relaxed the nation’s censorship laws, resulting in the importation of American and British pornography into Ireland. The spreading of pornography will certainly lead to a breakdown of public morality, so it is no surprise that in the succeeding decades, the prohibitions against contraception and divorce were gradually weakened.
But where was the Irish hierarchy? Sadly the weak resistance of the Irish bishops in the 2018 abortion referendum and the 2015 homosexual “marriage” referendum had earlier precedents, such as the supine resistance of their predecessors in the matter of the nation legalizing contraception in 1979. Prior to that, in 1972, the Irish hierarchy willingly embraced the repeal of Article 44 of the nation’s constitution, which acknowledged “the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church as the guardian of the Faith professed by the great majority of citizens.” While that wording was not strong enough for Father Denis Fahey, I doubt that the great Apostle of Christ the King would approve of its removal, which is what 84% of Ireland’s populace voted for in a 1972 referendum.
This dismantling of Ireland’s constitutional recognition of the Church would seem to have resulted from two things, first, Pope Paul VI’s policy of weakening the historical ties between Church and State in such places as Colombia, Spain, and the Swiss Cantons of Ticino and Valais, all in keeping with the novel doctrine of Dignitatis Humanae. Second, the Irish episcopacy did not attempt to defend Article 44 because it was proposed that North-South Irish political union could be achieved if the Republic dropped this constitutional acknowledgment of the Catholic Church. But that unity has never happened; in fact, the Catholic-versus-Protestant state of war in Northern Ireland (“the Troubles”) continued all the way till 1998. In short, the Irish were sold a bag of goods.
Not surprisingly, the next year, Ireland began its gradual acceptance of contraception, by what seems to be the camel’s nose under the tent, in 1973, of allowing the use of contraceptives without allowing the sale of contraceptives. As contraception and abortion inevitably go together — morally, medically, legally, historically, and psychologically — the work of legalizing abortion had begun. There were Protestant “missionaries” who brought contraception with them to Ireland in their attempts to spread Protestantism in the Republic. A convert I know recently informed me that some of his own family members were among these missionaries.
As Balaam well knew, and as Dr. E. Michael Jones has throughly documented, sexual “liberation” is a means of political control, social manipulation, and religious breakdown (cf., Dr. Jones’ books Libido Dominandi and Degenerate Moderns, as well as the online article “Masters of Porn” if you dare to wade through some lurid documentary details). The Cultural Marxists have been well aware of this method as a helpful tool for deChristianizing Europe and America.
In bringing up Balaam in ancient Israel, and the Cultural Marxists of modern times, I am not claiming that Ireland’s selling of her Catholic birthright is the result exclusively of a conspiratorial plot from outside, though it certainly is true that the forces of organized naturalism, like George Soros, have helped:
Through his Open Society Foundations, the Hungarian-born Soros has already provided three pro-abortion groups in Ireland, including Amnesty International’s Irish branch, with a combined total of around $400,000 (£295,000). The other two groups are the Irish Family Planning Association and the Abortion Rights Campaign.
A leaked document from the Open Society Foundations revealed the reasons behind the funding. It said it was so that the three groups could “work collectively on a campaign to repeal Ireland’s constitutional amendment granting equal rights to an implanted embryo as the pregnant woman”.
It continued: “With one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, a win there could impact other strongly Catholic countries in Europe, such as Poland, and provide much needed proof that change is possible, even in highly conservative places.” [Source]
While there have certainly been plots at work here, we need not make this the only explanation, nor ought we make the effort to weave it all into a grand coordinated conspiracy. But consider: If such diverse men as Balaam, Guiseppe Mazzini (“we corrupt in order to rule”), Willi Munzenberg, (“we will make the West so corrupt that it stinks”), György Lukács, and his fellow travelers at the Frankfurt School understood that “sexual liberation” undermined Old-Testament and Christian social order, doesn’t the devil know this too? I doubt that those guys are smarter than he is. The only “grand conspiracy” is the one that Satan himself implements, and all these people, however clever or brilliant, are merely his acolytes, his useful idiots.
All of which suggests that there is a war on. Ireland’s internal and infernal enemies have brought a new famine upon her, but a famine of a different sort: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, and I will send forth a famine into the land: not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).
But it seems that Ireland’s churchmen are, for the most part, attempting to make peace with this apostasy — to “manage” the situation by rearguard actions at best, or joining the other side at worst.
Now that Ireland is once more mission territory, she, like the rest of the former Christendom, needs courageous Catholics who, believing that Catholic faith and morals are necessary for salvation, work to give the undiluted Religion to her children. Without fear of lawsuits, arrest, public humiliation, prison, or being shunned for their backwardness, the new Irish apostles need to recover the missionary spirit of Saints Patrick, Columbkille, Columbán, and all the rest. They, with innumerable multitudes of blessed Irish in heaven are looking down to see who will take up the cause.
“And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us” (Heb. 12:1)
- My friend, Joe Doyle, would no doubt want me to add that focusing on Cromwell too much lets the Anglicans and their monarchy off the hook, and they are able to portray Cromwell as an exception, an anomaly, and an outlier. Even Winston Churchill goes on about “the curse of Cromwell” in his History of the English Speaking Peoples. Catholic priests were executed, for being Catholic priests, under every English monarch (with the exceptions of Mary I and James II) from Henry VIII in 1534 to George III in 1766. The man-made famine under Elizabeth I killed nearly as many people as Cromwell. The Anglicans often say that it was Cromwell, not Cramner, who smashed the altars and shattered the stained glass, and what a terrible iconoclast he was. It is all very convenient. ↩