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10 October 1922: The bishops condemn the republican campaign

Read Dáithí Ó Corráin’s essay on ‘Weaponising the Sacraments: The Roman Catholic Church and the Civil War’ on Century Ireland.

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, features 50 essays from leading international scholars that explore a turning point in history, one whose legacy remains controversial a century on. Building on their own expertise, and on the wealth of recent scholarship provoked by the Decade of Centenaries, each contributor focuses on one event that illuminates a key aspect of revolutionary Ireland, demonstrating how the events of this year would shape the new states established in 1922. Together, these essays explore many of the key issues and debates of a year that transformed Ireland.

In collaboration with Century Ireland, we are making the 50 essays freely available online. Today’s essay is by Dáithí Ó Corráin and it covers the Irish Roman Catholic hierarchy which issued a pastoral letter condemning the anti-Treaty republican side in the Irish civil war.

On 10 October 1922 the Irish Roman Catholic hierarchy issued a pastoral letter that strongly condemned the anti-Treaty republican side in the Irish civil war and upheld the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. Abjuration of violence, obeisance to the legally constituted government, condemnation of partition, advocacy of majority rule, and support for order and social stability characterised the political stance of the hierarchy between 1918 and 1923. The bishops’ influence on public opinion during the turbulent Irish revolution should not be overstated, however. Powerful denunciations of violence, whether perpetrated by republicans or the British government, went unheeded during the War of Independence and did not halt killing, destruction of property or dislocation of law and order. While this also pertained during the civil war, the situation differed in one vital respect: for the first time, the Catholic hierarchy was ‘sustaining’ and reinforcing the authority of an Irish state. Continue reading (you will be redirected to the website of Century Ireland)

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, is published by the Royal Irish Academy with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme.


Ireland 1922