05 February 2015

Anglican Studies (2014-2015) 4.1: the
Elizabethan and Caroline Settlements

Key figures in the story of the Anglican Reformation depicted in a window in Trinity College, Cambridge, from left (top row): Hugh Latimer, Edward VI, Nicholas Ridley, Elizabeth I; (second row): John Wycliffe, Erasmus, William Tyndale and Thomas Cranmer (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Church of Ireland Theological Institute

MTh Year II

TH 8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context:

Thursdays: 9.30 a.m. to 12 noon, The Jenkins Room.

Thursday 5 February 2015

9.30 a.m.:

Anglican Studies (4.1):
The Elizabethan and Caroline Settlements.


Last week [29 January 2015], we left Mary Tudor on the throne, and began to ask some questions about why the Reformation may have failed in Ireland, compared to the way it eventually succeeded in England.

Mary Tudor’s reign was short if not sweet. In Ireland, although there was no persecution of the reformers, as there had been in England, Mary and her husband, King Philip of Spain, initiated one of the largest-scale plantations, creating the plantations of Queen’s County and King’s County in the Midlands – now Laois and Offaly.

She was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth, and once again an effort was made to introduce the Anglican Reformation in Ireland.

The Elizabethan Settlement

Despite the changes introduced under Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary Tudor, the people of Ireland would have noticed little in terms of religious changes until 1560.

In that year, the Elizabethan settlement was promulgated in the form of the parliamentary acts of supremacy and uniformity, laying the foundations for a sustained Reformation.

Queen Elizabeth I was affirmed as the Supreme Governor of the Church of Ireland, which was now the state church, established by and to which all her subjects were required to belong. Elizabeth can be credited with holding together in one Anglican tradition the competing claims within the Church of England and Anglicanism after the death of her half-sister Mary. And it is she who is said to have written of the Eucharist:

His was the Word that spake it:
He tooke the bread and brake it:
And what that Word did make it,
I do believe and take it.

Under the Act of Uniformity, all were enjoined – under penalty of fine – to attend church services according to The Book of Common Prayer, and new bodies for enforcing discipline among the clergy and laity were put in place. But comparatively little attempt was made by church and state officials in Ireland to enforce conformity either to Queen Elizabeth’s supremacy or to Anglican liturgical reforms, creating an atmosphere of leniency in the 1560s and 1570s.

In general, the Anglican Church of Ireland maintained the continuity of Church structures and institutions, in place since time immemorial, or at least since the great reforms of the 12th century.

The Elizabethan Book of Common Prayer of 1559 was moderate in tone. As a concession to, or in recognition, of the situation in Ireland, it was permitted to circulate The Book of Common Prayer in Latin in places where English was not understood. This recognised that Gaelic-Irish was the first language in many places, but also pointed to the gulf between the plans and their effect for the Tudor reformation in Ireland. The survival of Latin as the language of public worship in many places cloaked the religious changes in a familiar medium.

The clergy in the Church of Ireland in 1560 were mixed in terms of background and outlook. The ranged from priests of mainly English descent inter Anglicos to the hereditary erenaghs of the Church inter Hibernicos.

Rathfarnham Castle, the home of Archbishop Adam Loftus … he accused the clergy of the two cathedrals in Dublin of dressing up old liturgical practices in the vestments of the new order (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Archbishop Adam Loftus accused the clergy of the two cathedrals in Dublin of dressing up old liturgical practices in the vestments of the new order. Dublin officials such as James Bathe, John Plunket and James Stanihurst are notable members of a coterie of “church papists” who publicly attended divine services in the 1560s and 1570s but who heard mass privately in their own homes, where they retained Catholic priests as their chaplains and as tutors to their children.

For some members of the married hereditary clergy inherited from the pre-Reformation, Gaelic Church, the Anglican Reformation offered legitimacy for their wives and children.

Sir Henry Sidney’s monument in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Sir Henry Sidney reported to Queen Elizabeth that in Meath, one of the wealthiest dioceses in Ireland, the incumbents in almost half the parishes were “Irish rogues, having very little Latin, less learning and civility,” and that they lived on “the gain of masses, dirges, shrivings and such like trumpery, godly abolished by your majesty.”

But many of the clergy remained attached to the old order, were native Irish speakers, were unreformed and managed to work against the introduction of reforms.

A more rigorous application of the Act of Uniformity was introduced from the 1570s and 1580s onwards, and the differences turned to conflict with major revolts in support of the restoration of Roman Catholicism in Leinster and Munster around 1580. The Catholic cause was given its martyrs with the hanging of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley of Cashel in Dublin in 1584, the death in the dungeons of Dublin Castle of a wealthy Dublin widow, Margaret Ball, arrested on the orders of her son Walter Ball, Anglican Mayor of Dublin, and the death by poisoning of Archbishop Richard Creagh of Armagh in the Tower of London in 1585.

Trinity College Dublin ... established in 1592 in the hope of training Irish-born Anglican clergy (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The chronic under-funding of the majority of benefices with the Church militated against finding an educated and motivated clergy, but also against the establishment of schools and the foundation of a university in which future clergy could be educated and trained. A parliamentary proposal in 1570 for the foundation of diocesan grammar schools fell largely because impoverished bishops in poor dioceses were unwilling to commit scarce resources to these projects. It was not until 1592 that Trinity College Dublin was established in the hope of training Irish-born Anglican clergy.

Only a small number of dioceses could claim to have sufficient well-endowed livings that would attract clergy of a high calibre.

A Gaelic-language printing-press was established in Dublin to produce an Irish version of the Bible, but produced no major work before 1600, and prayer book in Irish was not printed until 1608. These two factors combined to give an essentially English complexion to the Reformation in Ireland.

Even in English-speaking areas, such as Dublin and the neighbouring counties in the Pale, conformity was only skin-deep, and efforts to recruit Irish-speaking clergy for training in English universities lacked success, and those who were recruited were questionable in their loyalty to the state church.

To rectify these failings, especially the chronic shortage of clergy, Trinity College Dublin was founded in 1592. Meanwhile, Archbishop Loftus was appointing English graduate clergy to the chapter of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

By the opening decades of the 17th century, the Protestant community in Ireland may have been increasing in numbers but remained small, and was based largely in Dublin. Archbishop James Ussher of Armagh strongly protested that the Church of Ireland’ maintained continuity with the ancient Irish Church. But the Counter-reformation was speaking significant progress among the English-speaking urban populations in Kilkenny, Waterford, Cork, Limerick and Galway.

The Church of Ireland shaped its own distinctive identity with the adoption of the 104 Irish Articles in 1615, and which we looked at two weeks ago. But little attention was being given to the re-endowment or the recovery of alienated Church resources.

It was only after the political turmoils and violence of the mid-17th century – including the Rebellion of 1641, the Confederation of Kilkenny and the Cromwellian wars – had come to an end with the Caroline restoration in 1660 that a more confident Church of Ireland emerged.

Key figures in the Elizabethan and Jacobite church

1, Archbishop Adam Loftus

Archbishop Adam Loftus … his portrait in Trinity College Dublin

Adam Loftus (1533-1605) was Archbishop of Armagh, later Archbishop of Dublin, Lord Chancellor of Ireland from 1581, and the first Provost of Trinity College Dublin.

Loftus was born in the Yorkshire Dales in 1533, the son of a monastery bailiff. While he was a student at Trinity College Cambridge, it is said, he came to the notice of the young Queen Elizabeth on account of his intellect and his oratory.

He came to Ireland in 1560 as chaplain to Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex. He was only 28 when he was consecrated Archbishop of Armagh in 1563. He came to Dublin in 1564 and in 1565, while he was still Archbishop of Armagh, he was offered the Deanery of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, “in lieu of better times ahead.”

In 1567, Loftus was made Archbishop of Dublin, where the queen expected him to carry out reforms of the Church. In 1569-1570, the divisions in Irish politics took on a religious tinge with the first Desmond Rebellion in Munster, and the papal bull Regnans in Excelsis, issued in 1570, questioned Elizabeth’s authority, so that Roman Catholics were suspected of disloyalty from then on.

Loftus took a leading part in the execution of Dermot O’Hurley in 1584. He was also entangled in clashes with Sir John Perrot over the location of an Irish university. Perrot wanted to use Saint Patrick’s Cathedral as the site of the new university, but Loftus won the argument and Trinity College Dublin was founded at its present location in 1592, with Loftus as its first Provost.

Loftus died in 1605 at his Episcopal Palace in Kevin Street, Dublin, “worn out with age” and was buried in his family vault in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

2, Archbishop James Ussher

Archbishop James Ussher … a key figure in shaping the Church of Ireland in the first half of the 17th century

James Ussher (1581-1656) was Archbishop of Armagh (1625–56). He was a prolific scholar, best known for his chronology that stated the time and date of creation as the night before Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC, although we should know him as the author of the Irish 104 Articles and a key figure in shaping the Church of Ireland in the first half of the 17th century.

Ussher was born in Dublin, the grandson of James Stanihurst, speaker of the Irish Parliament. He studied at Trinity College Dublin, and was ordained in the Chapel of Trinity College by his uncle Henry Ussher, the Archbishop of Armagh.

In 1615, he was closely involved in drawing up the 104 Articles of the Church of Ireland. In 1621, King James I nominated him Bishop of Meath, but from 1623 until 1626 he was in England, excused from his episcopal duties, studying church history. He became Archbishop of Armagh in 1625 and was consecrated n 1626.

Ussher was a Calvinist, and opposed any concessions by Charles I to the Catholics of Ireland. He called a secret meeting of the Irish bishops in his house in November of 1626, the result being the Judgement of the Arch-Bishops and Bishops of Ireland, which begins: “The religion of the papists is superstitious and idolatrous; their faith and doctrine erroneous and heretical; their church in respect of both, apostatical; to give them therefore a toleration, or to consent that they may freely exercise their religion, and profess their faith and doctrine, is a grievous sin.”

In 1633, Ussher wrote to Archbishop William Laud of Canterbury seeking support for the imposition of recusancy fines on Irish Catholics. He worked closely with the Lord Deputy, Thomas Wentworth, to deflect pressure for conformity by the Church of Ireland to the Church of England, seeking to resource and re-endow his church, and settling the long-running primacy dispute between Armagh and Dublin.

However, the 39 Articles were adopted by the Church of Ireland at a convocation in 1634, and the Irish canons had to be redrafted to conform to the English ones rather than replaced by them. After that convocation in 1634, Ussher left Dublin for his episcopal residence in Drogheda, and there he concentrated on his diocese and his research. By 1635, he had lost de facto control of the church to John Bramhall, Bishop of Derry, in everyday matters, and to Archbishop William Laud of Canterbury in matters of policy.

Ussher also wrote extensively on theology, Patristics and ecclesiastical history, seeking to show that the early Irish Church differed from Rome and was much closer to the Church of the Anglican Reformation. This was to prove highly influential, establishing the idea that the Church of Ireland is the true successor of the early Celtic church.

In 1640, he left Ireland for England for the last time. Despite his royalist loyalties, he was protected by his friends in Parliament. He watched the execution of Charles I in London, but fainted before the axe fell. When he died in 1656, Cromwell insisted on giving him a state funeral, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey.

3, Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer … his legacy includes The Book of Common Prayer, the Collects and the 39 Articles

Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), who began his career as a theologian at Jesus College, Cambridge, was perhaps the key figure in the Anglican Reformation in England as Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.

He helped build the case for Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, with Thomas Cromwell he supported the principle of Royal Supremacy, and as Archbishop of Canterbury he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the reformed Church of England.

During the reign of Henry VIII, Cranmer did not introduce many radical changes, but succeeded in publishing the first officially authorised vernacular service, the Exhortation and Litany.

During the reign of Edward VI, Cranmer was able to promote major reforms. He as the main author and editor of the first two editions of The Book of Common Prayer, and in consultation with refugee Continental reformers, he developed new doctrinal standards in areas such as the Eucharist and clerical celibacy, promulgated through The Book of Common Prayer, The Homilies, and other publications.

The Martyrs’ Memorial at the south end of St Giles’ near Baliol College in Oxford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Cranmer was tried for treason and heresy during the reign of Mary I. He was jailed over two years and made several recantations, apparently being reconciled to the old order.

However, on the day of his execution in Oxford, 21 March 1556, he dramatically withdrew his recantations. As the flames drew around him, he placed his right hand into the heart of the fire and his dying words were, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ... I see the heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

His legacy lives on through The Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles.

4, John Jewel

John Jewel ... literary apologist of the Elizabethan settlement and the author of Apologia ecclesiae Anglicanae

John Jewel (1522-1571), Bishop of Salisbury, first made his mark as a lecturer in Oxford, where he composed a congratulatory message to Mary Tudor on her accession. However, he was forced to seek refuge on the Continent because of his links with Cranmer and Ridley.

When Elizabeth I succeeded he returned to England, and became strongly committed to the Elizabethan reforms. We could see him as the literary apologist of the Elizabethan settlement, expressed in Apologia ecclesiae Anglicanae (1562).

Richard Hooker speaks of Jewel as the “worthiest divine that Christendom bath bred for some hundreds of years.” Indeed, Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity owes much to Jewel’s thinking.

5, Richard Hooker

Richard Hooker’s statue at Exeter Cathedral ... ‘the most influential theologian in the Anglican reformation

Richard Hooker (1554-1600) was perhaps the most influential theologian in the Anglican reformation, and his emphases on reason, tolerance and the value of tradition have had a lasting influence on the development of Anglican theology. Alongside Thomas Cranmer and Matthew Parker, he could be seen as a founder of Anglican theological thought.

Hooker’s Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie is his best-known work, with the first four books being published in 1594. The fifth was published in 1597, while the final three were published posthumously, and some say they may not all be his own work.

Hooker argued for a middle way or via media between the positions held by the Roman Catholics and by the Puritans. He argued that reason and tradition were important when interpreting the Scriptures, and that it was important to recognise that the Bible was written in a particular historical context, in response to specific situations: “Words must be taken according to the matter whereof they are uttered.”

Hooker’s principal subject is the proper governance of the church, and he sought to work out which methods of organising the Church are best. His Lawes is still respected, not only for its stature as a monumental work of Anglican theology, but for its influence in the development of theology, political theory, and English prose.

6, Lancelot Andrewes

The tomb of Lancelot Andrewes in Southwark Cathedral … “he who prays for others, labours for himself” (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) oversaw and edited the translation of the Authorised Version, or the King James Version of the Bible, published 400 years ago in 1611.

As a theologian, he was typically Anglican, equally removed from the Puritan and the Roman positions. A good summary of his position is found in his First Answer to Cardinal Perron, who had challenged James I’s use of the title “Catholic.” His theology of the Eucharist is more mature than that of the first reformers:

“As to the Real Presence we are agreed; our controversy is as to the mode of it. As to the mode we define nothing rashly, nor anxiously investigate, any more than in the Incarnation of Christ we ask how the human is united to the divine nature in One Person. There is a real change in the elements – we allow ut panis iam consecratus non sit panis quem natura formavit; sed, quem benedictio consecravit, et consecrando etiam immutavit.” (Responsio, p. 263).

“Adoration is permitted, and the use of the terms ‘sacrifice’ and ‘altar’ maintained as being consonant with scripture and antiquity. Christ is ‘a sacrifice – so, to be slain; a propitiatory sacrifice – so, to be eaten.” (Sermons, vol 2, p. 296).

Andrewes drew on Patristic sources in writing his Latin Devotions; there he wrote that “he who prays for others, labours for himself.”

It was Andrewes who summarised Anglicanism in the dictum: “One canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries and the series of Fathers in that period … determine the boundary of our faith.” In other words, Andrewes is saying the tradition of the Church in Anglicanism finds its foundations in the three creeds – the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed – the decisions of the first four General Councils of the Church (Nicaea, 325; Constantinople, 381; Ephesus, 431; and Chalcedon, 451); the first five centuries of the history of the Church, and the corpus of Patristic writings.

Archbishop John Bramhall ... his portrait in Armagh (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

In providing this succinct summary of the foundations of tradition, Andrewes was influential for all of Anglicanism. So, for example, after the Caroline restoration in the 17th century, John Bramhall (1594-1663), Archbishop of Armagh, declared that he would admit all to Communion, especially the Lutherans, but also Greeks, Armenians, Abyssinians, Russians, and all who confess the apostolic creed and accept the first four general councils, even Roman Catholics “if they did not make their errors to be a condition of their communion.”

Next to Ussher, Andrewes was considered the most learned theologian of his day. He continues to influence religious thinkers to the present day, and influenced TS Eliot, who borrowed, almost word for word and without acknowledgement, the opening of Andrewes’s 1622 Christmas Day sermon for his poem, ‘The Journey of the Magi.’

The Caroline Settlement

The period 1660-1690 is important for a number of reasons:

Heritage and memory: This period is packed with negative memories for Presbyterians – who were excluded from the Restoration settlement; for Roman Catholics – who recall the martyrdom of Oliver Plunket; and for the Church of Ireland – for this is the age in which we really defined the Church of Ireland and differentiated ourselves from the other traditions arising from the Reformations.

Heritage and culture: Our church architecture owes much to this period. Lisburn Cathedral in the Diocese of Connor is an example of our architectural heritage from this period. But so too are Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London and Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Culturally, this too is also the age of baroque, Milton, Bunyan, Rembrandt, Vivaldi and Bach.

Heritage and theology: This is the age of Jeremy Taylor, but also the defining year (1662) for The Book of Common Prayer.

Heritage and politics: This period asks us whether Protestant political culture in Ireland – including the political culture of members of the Church of Ireland – was shaped definitively by the events of the Williamite Revolution.

The setting:

The restoration of Charles II was accompanied by the restoration of episcopacy in both the Church of Ireland and the Church of England. It marked the end of a period of great turbulence both in Church and State on these islands, and the introduction of a period of relative calm that would last for the best part of 25 years.

In this sense, these islands were catching up on the state of affairs that was unfolding throughout many parts of Europe. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) had already brought an end to a generation of war and a century of strife, and marked the end, not only of the 30 Years War, but also of religious wars in general.

During the next century and a half, the peace of Europe was often broken. There was warfare between the nations, but religion seldom provided the pretext. From now on, doctrinal disputes were settled within states and not between them. Matters of faith ceased to be an important irritant in international affairs, and the Pope’s influence had dwindled to a point where he could no longer effectively participate in the political affairs of Europe.

René Descartes: the world was beginning to think differently, and it was a different world

But it was also a world that was beginning to think differently. RenĂ© Descartes (1596-1650), who died in 1650, is best known for his proposition, “I think, therefore I am.” His Cartesian system of thought immediately posed a challenge to the Aristotelian thinking that still held sway in most European countries. And those who opposed the new philosophy included one of the most brilliant figures of the period, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), who combined mathematical and scientific gifts with a religious faith of unusual depth and intensity.

In the second half of the 17th century, a new understanding of the physical universe became increasingly available. New discoveries revealed the nature of the universe, and the change that took place in the latter years of the century would profoundly affect religious thought. This change was in large measure promoted by convinced Christians, such as Thomas Spratt, Bishop of Rochester, and Joseph Glanvill, Rector of Bath, who claimed that faith could not be destroyed by knowledge. They saw science as being concerned with God, humanity and nature.

Among the scientists who agreed with them was Robert Boyle, the great chemist, who was born in Lismore, Co Waterford, into a family that provided many of the bishops of the 17th century Church of Ireland. In his will, Boyle endowed a lectureship for the defence of Christian truth.

But the restoration also ushered in a period that saw a greater toleration of libertinism. It is not that in some way we might consider the general level of sin was higher than at any other time. But there was a libertinism in vogue in the court, on the stage, and among the coffee house intelligentsia that challenged the Church in many ways. How could the Church openly criticise the court when it so openly preached the divine rights of kings? When a courageous Vicar of Tewksbury tried to bring Charles II into line with a diatribe against royal adultery and fornication, he was ejected from office.

In this climate, there was a political justification of immorality that was combined with scepticism or atheistic flippancy, so that Thomas Fuller could warn: “Take heed, atheism knocks at the door of the hearts of all men, and where luxury is the porter it will be let in.”

Ireland at the restoration

By 1660, the impetus of the Puritan revolution had run its course. It had produced no leader to replace Cromwell, and it had no policy to enable it to continue to hold political power.

In Ireland, at the time of the restoration of the monarchy and the Episcopal model of the Church, the population of the island was about 1.1 million, of whom probably 800,000 were Roman Catholics and 300,000 Protestants.

Of those 300,000 Protestants, more than half were members of the Church of Ireland, with the rest mainly Presbyterians concentrated in Ulster – many of them Covenanters driven from Scotland by persecution.

The population of Dublin was probably 32,000, and the majority were members of the Church of Ireland. So, what was the state of the Church of Ireland in 1660 as it recovered its episcopal structures and reintroduced its defining, Anglican liturgy?

We must remember that under Cromwell, while it suffered gravely, the Church of Ireland had not been disestablished.

Nevertheless, during the Cromwellian era, vacant bishoprics had not been filled; the parish system had been suspended; instead the church was served by 376 “ministers of the Gospel.” They might be Congregationalists (or Independents, probably the majority), Presbyterians (67), Baptists and Anabaptists, and we must remember that at least 65 of those clergy were Episcopalians of the Church of Ireland.

In some instances, the clergy of the Church of Ireland had remained in their parishes, officiating without salary, as was the case of Diggory Holman, Rector of Magheralin and Precentor of Dromore. Others had co-operated openly with and supported the Commonwealth: Henry Jones, Bishop of Clogher, was Scoutmaster-General to Cromwell. But the use of The Book of Common Prayer had been banned; there were no church courts or synods, church laws, &c.

These changes, issues and personalities raised questions not just about law and order within the Church in Ireland, but raised fundamental questions of ecclesiology, the theology of the church:

What was the nature of the Church in Ireland, who had authority, how was that authority to be exercised, and what force did it have, what were the visible symbols and signs of office? Who could hold office in the Church, and how was authority to be shared and delegated?

In those days, those questions could not be resolved without some consideration by the civil powers. But who exercised civil power in Ireland in the aftermath of the Cromwellian Commonwealth before the king had been restored legally? There was a king, at least in theory. But he had not been proclaimed king legally by the beginning of 1660, and there was no parliament to legislate in his name. In January 1660, three people were appointed Commissioners for Government and Management of Affairs in Ireland. Instead of a parliament, a General Convention met and this also had the oversight of ecclesiastical affairs.

At the time, clergy numbers were estimated at about 500. A petition from Church of Ireland clergy from Co Cork for their tithes indicated the Episcopal clergy were ready to return and, slowly, the clergy began to recover their parishes.

The Restoration and the Church of Ireland

A monument to Charles II outside Lichfield Cathedral … the restoration of the monarchy brought with it the restoration of the episcopacy (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

In May 1660, Charles II was restored to the throne, and he was proclaimed king in Dublin on 14 May. Despite the restoration, in Scotland there was still a debate about the form the new establishment should take: should it be Presbyterian or Episcopalian? Charles II had signed the covenant, the Presbyterians had played an important part in the Restoration, and so Presbyterians felt their hopes were well-founded in both Ireland and Scotland, and they had some hopes for a greater role in church and state affairs in England. A deputation of Presbyterian ministers arrived in Dublin to petition the General Council, only to find the majority were “prelatical.”

Lord Charlemont deemed the Presbyterians the “most dangerous” faction, saying they “preach up the authority of the kirk to be above that of the crown and our dread sovereign,” and that “the kirk hath power to excommunicate their kings.”

And so, from the beginning, questions of ecclesiology were also questions of politics, and church/state relations were inseparable. Preparations quickly began for the re-establishment of the Episcopal Church of Ireland.

Eight Irish bishops had survived the Cromwellian era: John Bramhall, Derry; Henry Jones, Clogher; Henry Leslie, Down; John Leslie, Raphoe; Robert Maxwell, Kilmore; Griffith Williams, Ossory; Thomas Fulwar, Ardfert; and William Baylie, Clonfert. But there were 16 vacant dioceses in 1660, including the four archbishoprics: Armagh, Meath, Ardagh, Dromore, Tuam, Killala, Elphin, Dublin, Kildare, Ferns, Cashel, Waterford, Cork, Cloyne, Limerick and Killaloe.

Consider the names of those eight remaining bishops: at least four were of Scots birth or descent: Leslie of Down, Leslie of Raphoe, Maxwell of Kilmore and Baylie of Clonfert, and a fifth, Williams of Ossory, was of Welsh descent. This alone challenges the myth that the Ulster-Scots heritage is the preserve of Northern Presbyterians, or the image conveyed by some that the Church of Ireland was merely a transplant of the Church of England.

Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in the snow ... Archbishop John Bramhall of Armagh was an undergraduate here in the early 17th century (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

In August 1660, Bishop John Bramhall of Derry was nominated as Archbishop of Armagh.

Declarations and Instructions issued by the King on 30 November 1660 formed the basis for the later Act of Settlement. Lands held by the Church in 1641 were to be restored, a glebe was to be provided for every parish, there were new provisions for the two cathedrals in Dublin, and provision was made for church endowments. But the doctrine and discipline of the church were not yet settled.

On 18 January 1661, Bramhall was formally appointed Archbishop of Armagh. Without waiting for Parliament to sit, he threw himself into reorganising the dioceses: Parker of Elphin became Archbishop of Tuam; Fulwar of Ardfert became Archbishop of Cashel; Henry Leslie moved from Down to Meath, but soon died and was replaced by Jones who moved from Clogher to Meath, and would be replaced in Clogher by John Leslie, who had been consecrated for Raphoe; Robert Leslie moved from Dromore to Raphoe; Maxwell remained in Kilmore, to which Ardagh was united; and Cloyne was united to Cork.

Bramhall also moved ahead to fill the ranks of the depleted episcopate: on 27 January 1661, more than three months before Parliament met, two new archbishops and ten new bishops were consecrated in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. The new archbishops were James Margetson of Dublin and Samuel Pullen of Tuam. The new bishops were: Michael Boyle (Cork and Ross); John Parker (Elphin); Robert Price (Ferns and Leighlin); Henry Hall (Killala); George Baker (Waterford and Lismore); Edward Synge (Limerick); Edward Worth (Killaloe); Robert Leslie (Raphoe); George Wild (Derry); and the saintly Jeremy Taylor (Down and Connor). The five consecrating bishops were Bramhall of Armagh, Maxwell of Kilmore, Williams of Ossory, Leslie of Raphoe, and Jones of Clogher. Some weeks later, Thomas Price was consecrated for Kildare, giving the Church of Ireland a complement of four archbishops and 17 bishops. And these diocesan structures were, more or less, retained unchanged for the next 170 years.

The attendance of church, university, state and civic officials at the large consecration in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral provided a striking demonstration of the unity of church and state.

William Fuller, Dean of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, and later Bishop of Limerick, composed a special anthem, Quam denuo exaltavit Dominus coronam, with the opening lines:

Now that the Lord hath re-advanced the Crown;
Which Thirst of Spoyl, and frantick zeal threw down:
Now that the Lord the Miter restored
Which, with the Crown, lay in the dust abhor’d:
Praise him ye Kings,
Praise him ye Priests.

It was not until 8 May 1661 that Parliament met in Dublin, with one of the newly-consecrated bishops, Jeremy Taylor, preaching at its opening. Taylor argued for a state composed of none but those who accept the Apostles’ Creed, and that “tenderness of conscience” could not be pleaded against the law of the land.

Membership of the new parliament was overwhelmingly Protestant, with only one Roman Catholic MP. Archbishop Bramhall of Armagh presided in the House of Lords, where the bishops would often form the working majority.

By the beginning of June, Bramhall could claim victory: “We have established the liturgy, doctrines and disciplines of the Church. We have condemned the Covenant engagement.”

At the same time as Parliament met, the Convocation – the equivalent of a National Synod – met. This consisted of two houses: the archbishops and bishops formed the upper house, and the Lower House was composed of the archdeacons, deans and “proctors” of the clergy. It continued sitting until 1666, but from 1666 to 1692 there was neither Parliament nor Convocation, and although Parliament would meet again in 1692, convocation did not meet again until 1703.

In 1662, the Act of Settlement restored and protected much, though not all, of the property of the Church of Ireland. But in the north-east, particularly in Jeremy Taylor’s diocese, the clergy of the Church of Ireland found it difficult to assert their claims against the Presbyterians, with many Presbyterian ministers remaining in place.

Bramhall also wanted to exclude from the Church of Ireland those clergy who had served during the Commonwealth. He insisted on episcopal ordination and refused to accept Presbyterian ordinations, even when these had been legal in the past.

Prayer Book revision

The 1662 revision of The Book of Common Prayer resulted in:

● The 1611 translation of the Bible being substituted in the prefatory sentences, in the Epistles and the Gospels, and in all other extracts (with the exception of the Psalter, the 10 Commandments, and some portions of the Communion Office);
● The direction to knell at the Holy Communion, which had been in Edward VI’s prayer book, and omitted from Elizabeth I’s, was restored;
● In an explanatory note at the end of the Communion service, the words “corporal presence of Christ’s natural flesh and blood” were substituted for “any real or essential presence therein being of Christ’s natural flesh and blood”;
● The word priest was substituted for minister in the description of the person who was to read the absolution;
● Prayers were added for times of dearth and famine, for Ember week, for parliament, for the chief governor or governors of Ireland, and “for all sorts and conditions,” and a thanksgiving for restoring public peace and the general thanksgiving were introduced;
● In the Prayer for the Church Militant, the clause respecting those who have departed this life was added;
● There were forms to be used at sea, and a service of baptism for those of riper years.

Special services were introduced for 30 January, 29 May, 23 October and (later) 5 November.

These four special commemorations cemented the links between Church and State, and reinforced the established nature of the Church of Ireland:

● 30 January: The martyrdom of Charles I (commemorated in the dedication of the chapel at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham);
● 29 May: The anniversary of the Restoration;
● 23 October: The anniversary of the massacre of 1641;
● 5 November: The anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot.

There were efforts too to introduce real reforms within the Church: in 1666, an act was passed disabling clergy from simultaneously holding benefices in the Church of England and the Church of Ireland.

Church and State

Meanwhile, many of the bishops also held high office in the state, and this also supplemented their income. In 1668, Primate Margetson had over £3,500 a year, including his fees as Prerogative Judge and King’s Almoner; Archbishop Boyle of Dublin had £1,200 a year, and was Lord Chancellor; Robert Mossom of Derry was the best paid bishop with £1,800 a year; of the rest, 12 had incomes ranging from £1,600 to £1,000, and five between £1,000 and £600. The poorest bishoprics were Clonfert (£400) and Kildare (£200).

The best-paid deanery was Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (£600 a year). The worst paid clergy were those in Connacht, where vicars received from 16 shillings to 40 shillings a year. Hardly one parish in 10 had a glebe. Despite his wealth, Mossom of Derry reported that all the churches in the city and county of L/Derry were ruinous, and that the “holy offices of God’s publick worship were, for the most part, administered either in a dirty cabin or in a common alehouse.”

The end of an era

Perhaps the end of an era came in 1671 with the death of John Leslie, Bishop of Clogher: he had been consecrated in Scotland in 1628, and at the time of his death is reputed to have been the oldest bishop in the world. In a way we could say that his death marked not only an end of the personal links that bridged the Jacobite or even the Elizabethan church with the Church of the restoration, but also symbolised the shift in thinking that was taking place in the Church and throughout Europe.

The restoration era was distinguished by far-reaching intellectual changes. Evidences of a new spirit had started to appear with the Cambridge Platonists, who turned from the way in which religious problems had been conceived and debated. With the Puritans, the prevailing theology had become dogmatic and theoretical; the Cambridge Platonists showed that a broader and simpler system was necessary. They believed that preoccupation with abstruse doctrines did more harm than good. They sought a middle way between the Laudians and the Calvinists, and adopted a mediating position.

Nor should we should be in any doubt that the church was still in need of reform.

In 1678, the new Primate was Michael Boyle, who came from a family that might appear to have been a line of hereditary bishops: his father had been Archbishop of Tuam and his uncle Bishop of Waterford and Lismore. When he was Bishop of Cork he held six other benefices until his kinsman, the Earl of Orrery, as President of Munster, forced him to resign them.

Boyle was the last prelate to fill the office of Lord Chancellor. But as Primate his biggest challenge was the change in religious culture throughout the land with the accession of James II in 1685.

James II was a professed Roman Catholic, and with his succession Anglicanism faced real dilemmas. For 25 years, the Anglican Church – both the Church of Ireland and the Church of England – had long been, effectively, the handmaiden of the state. For long, the concept of non-resistance had been regularly preached from the Anglican pulpit. What role would the Church now have with an antagonistic monarch on the throne? And how could it consider legitimately oppose any measures against its interests that were introduced by the king?

According to the Church historian Murray, with the accession of James II “the Church of Ireland once more fell upon evil days. The Duke of Ormond was replaced as Viceroy by the king’s brother-in-law, the Earl of Clarendon, while Richard Talbot, Earl (and later Duke) of Tyrconnell, and brother of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, became commander-in-chief of Ireland.

Matters become worse for the Church of Ireland in 1687 when Tyrconnell succeeded Clarendon, and the outlawries resulting from the events of 1641 were reversed. Church of Ireland clergy lost their tithes, churches were seized and the Mass said in them, vacant sees, including Cashel, Clonfert, Clogher and Elphin, were not filled, and their revenues were handed over to the Roman Catholic bishops of those dioceses.

John Vesey, Archbishop of Tuam, and Richard Tennison, Bishop of Killala, fled to England, and were soon followed by the Archbishop of Dublin and the bishops of Kilmore, Dromore, Kildare, Ferns and Leighlin, Cloyne, Raphoe, and Derry. Those who are unkind would say they abandoned the Church of Ireland at the time, but many of them would return. And, indeed, many of the bishops remained, including the Archbishop of Armagh and the bishops of Meath, Ossory, Limerick, Cork and Ross, Killaloe and Waterford and Lismore.

Dean King, who had been left behind by Archbishop Marsh as his commissary in Dublin, said he knew of 16 or 17 clergymen who were assaulted, imprisoned and threatened with death.

In an effort to recover his throne after the Williamite revolt, James II left his exile in France in 1689, and landed in Ireland. The Irish Parliament was summoned, but few Protestants were in attendance: apart from four bishops, four lay peers and six MPs, the rest of parliament was made up of Roman Catholics. Those who were attainted and had their estates confiscated included Archbishop Marsh and Archbishop Vesey, and Bishop Hopkins, Sheridan, Moreton, Smith, Marsh of Ferns, Jones and Wiseman, and 83 of the clergy of the Church of Ireland.

The vacant sees were to be filled by Roman Catholics, churches were seized, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, was seized and mass was celebrated in it, part of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, was used as military stables, and finally an order was issued, under penalty of death, forbidding more than five Protestants to meet together.

William III landed in Ireland on 1 July 1690. He entered Dublin on 6 July, the same day a solemn service of thanksgiving was held in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and the sermon was preached by Dean King. A new era was ushered in, for both the island of Ireland, and the Church of Ireland. But there were problems for the Church of Ireland too, and we shall look at those next week.

Key figures in the Caroline church in Ireland

1, John Bramhall (1594-1663), Archbishop of Armagh:

John Bramhall (1594-1663), Archbishop of Armagh ... portrait in the Old Library in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John Bramhall, who was born in Cheshire, came to Ireland with Wentworth and had survived the Cromwellian era as Bishop of Derry. In August 1660 he was nominated Archbishop of Armagh. He arrived in Dublin on October 1660 to be greeted by Lord Caulfield (later Lord Charlemont), and was formally appointed on 18 January 1661.

His rule as primate from 1661 to 1663 was vigorous and left its mark on the Church of Ireland at a critical period. The Presbyterians called him “Bishop Bramble,” but Cromwell had shown a more shrewd insight when he called him “the Irish Canterbury.”

Bramhall was a vigorous defender of the catholicity of the Church of England and the Church of Ireland against claims by Roman Catholics that it was either schismatic or heretical: “I make not the least doubt in the world that the Church of England before the Reformation, and the Church of England after the Reformation, are as much the same Church as a garden before it be weeded and after it be weeded is the same garden; or a vine, before it be pruned and after it is pruned and freed from luxurious branches, is one and the same vine.”

He offered a broad interpretation of the 39 Articles, with the Church including both Arminians and Calvinists, “walking to the House of God as friends.” He argued that the Roman Catholics of Ireland suffered no persecution for their religion, but only for their politics. He declared that he would admit all to communion, especially the Lutherans, but also Greeks, Armenians, Abyssinians, Russians, and all who confess the apostolic creed and accept the first four general councils, even the Roman Catholics “if they did not make their errors to be a condition of their communion.”

Bramhall believed firmly that Church and State must be one, and that unity could only be obtained under the crown as supreme in all matters both temporal and spiritual.

Overworked, he died in 1663 at the age of 68. His funeral sermon was preached by Jeremy Taylor. He was succeeded by James Margetson (1663-1678), who pursued a policy of conciliation, softened down the asperities of the ministers to Jeremy Taylor, and rebuilt Armagh Cathedral.

2, Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667):

Jeremy Taylor … described as “the glory of the whole Anglican Communion”

The saintly and ascetic Jeremy Taylor has been described as “The glory of the whole Anglican Communion.” Coleridge placed him among the four great geniuses of English literature, alongside Shakespeare, Bacon and Milton.

Outside Ireland, his fame rests mainly on his devotional writings, especially The Rule and Exercise of Holy Living (1650) and The Rule and Exercise of Holy Dying (1651), which are characteristic expressions of Anglican spirituality in their insistence on a well-ordered piety which stresses temperance and moderation. His Holy Living and Holy Dying had a profound influence spiritually on later generations, including figures as diverse as John Wesley and John Keble. No book other than the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer has had a more profound and lasting influence on the distinctive inwardness of Anglican devotion. No other book so clearly expresses the essence of the classical Anglican understanding of the spiritual life, with its insistence that there is no division between what is religious and what is secular.

Taylor was the preacher at his own consecration in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, in January 1661, and preached at the opening of the Irish parliament three months later.

He gave reluctant permission for the use of organs in churches, and although he allowed the use of hymns, it is not known whether he allowed them to be sung in public services.

He stated that if the Irish would not learn English, the sooner he learnt Irish the better.

In 1662, he made the parish church of Lisburn the cathedral for the united dioceses of Down and Connor, which had been without a cathedral since 1538. He also rebuilt the choir of Dromore Cathedral at his own expense.

A major weakness in Taylor was his antipathy towards the Scots, whom he regarded as “intolerable.” However, this was partly due to his experiences of the strong Presbyterian presence in his dioceses, which left him out of sympathy with the majority of people there. He told the Duke of Ormond: “Here I am perpetually contending with the worst of the Scottish ministers. I have a most uncomfortable employment, but, I bless God, I have broken their knot, I have overcome the biggest difficulty, and made my charge easy for my successor.”

When he declared 36 of the parishes in his dioceses vacant, seven of the former Commonwealth ministers conformed to the Church of Ireland, and the rest of the vacancies were filled with clergy from the Church of England.

Taylor hoped continually to be promoted out of Ireland, and he pleaded with Archbishop Sheldon of Canterbury not to overlook him. However, he was left in Ireland, and died here in 1667.

3, Narcissus Marsh (1638-1713):

Marsh’s Library, Dublin … a lasting tribute to the achievements of Archbishop Narcissus Marsh

Archbishop Narcissus March should not to be confused with Francis Marsh (1626-1693), whom he succeeded as Archbishop of Dublin.

Narcissus Marsh was born in Wiltshire and educated in Oxford, where he was ordained. He was chaplain to the Earl of Clarendon, who brought him to Ireland, and he was Provost of TCD (1679-1683). There he found that the undergraduates who came to college had little previous education, “whereby they are both rude and ignorant, and I was quickly weary of 340 young men and boys in this lewd debauched town.”

Marsh was especially zealous for the development of Celtic studies and for a knowledge of the Irish Bible and The Book of Common Prayer among the students of TCD. Thirty scholars, who were native Irish, had to learn Irish as well as Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and to teach these subjects he employed the Revd Andrew Sall (1612-1693), a former Jesuit, and the Revd Paul Higgins, a former Roman Catholic priest. Sall had been Rector of the Irish College in Salamanca in Spain (1652-1655) and Provincial of the Irish Jesuits (1662). On becoming an Anglican, he became both a canon of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin (1675-1682), and a domestic chaplain to Charles II, living first in Oxford (1675-1680) and then in Dublin (1680-1682).

Through the efforts of both Marsh and Sall, the Irish sermons and services in the college chapel in TCD were well attended.

Marsh became Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin in 1683, but fled his diocese during the reign of James II. After the Williamite revolution, he became Archbishop of Cashel, then Archbishop of Dublin, and finally Archbishop of Armagh.

Marsh founded, endowed and built Marsh’s Library in Dublin, was one of the founders of the Dublin Philosophical Society, a forerunner of the Royal Irish Academy, and maintained a lifelong interest in translating and printing the Bible in Irish. He is buried in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

4, James Butler, Duke of Ormond (1610-1680):

James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond … strengthened the restored Established Church of Ireland

The Maynooth church historian, Professor Raymond Gillespie, says that “the Church of Ireland after the Restoration was caught between a Catholic anvil and a Protestant hammer.” One of the priorities of James Butler, Duke of Ormond, as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1661-1669), was strengthening the established church.

Ormond supported Bramhall’s demands for a full restoration of Church properties. He thought the Nonconformists of the north the greatest threat to the security of the state. Ulster, in his judgment, was full of “the worst Protestants and Papists in the whole kingdom.”

His major building programme in restoration Ireland included the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, where his churchmanship is evident in the dedication of the chapel, used in the 1990s for the Holy Communion at the opening of General Synod, to Charles King and Martyr.

Ormond’s political career was linked to that of Henry Hyde, Earl of Clarendon and Secretary of State in London, and the fall of Clarendon in 1667 led to Ormond’s dismissal in 1669.

The other churches in Ireland

1, The Presbyterians:

Adelaide Road Presbyterian Church, Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Presbyterians were to be found mainly in the north-east, and remain the most lasting of the Cromwellian era traditions, as the Baptists dwindled and the Independents or Congregationalists virtually disappeared.

In doctrine and discipline, the Presbyterians maintained strict conformity with the Church of Scotland. But many of the Ulster Presbyterians were Covenanters, who had been driven from Scotland by the moderating policies of Lauderdale and the subsequent persecutions. Before ordination, a Presbyterian minister in Ulster was required to take the oath to the Solemn League and Covenant.

We find strong correspondence from leading state figures, including Ormond, Orrery, and Charlemont, and from the bishops of the day, including Jeremy Taylor, accusing the Presbyterians of preaching seditiously, and the House of Commons condemned the Covenant as “schismatical, seditious and treasonable.”

Griffith Williams (Bishop of Ossory, 1641-1672) celebrated the restoration with the publication of his Ho Antichristos, the Great Antichrist Revealed, in which he proved to his own satisfaction that the Antichrist was “neither pope nor Turk’ but in truth the Westminster Assembly of Divines,” whom he characterised as a “collected pack or multitude of hypocritical, heretical, blasphemous, and most scandalous wicked men, that have fulfilled all the prophecies of the Scriptures, which have forespoken of the coming of the great Antichrist.”

For their part, the Presbyterians feared the restoration of episcopacy was a step towards restoring Papacy.

2, The Huguenots:

Professor Raymond Gillespie of NUI Maynooth identifies three major periods of Huguenot immigration into Ireland:

1, The early Ormondite period (1662-1669): As early as 1663, the first Huguenot refugees who had arrived were provided with the use of a chapel in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

They had been encouraged to come to Ireland for economic reasons, and were offered considerable latitude. But we should not see this situation as unique: similar hospitality was offered to the Huguenots in Canterbury Cathedral.

In return for a certain measure of self-government, the Huguenots for their part accepted the use of a French translation of The Book of Common Prayer, Episcopal ordination, and the ultimate authority of the Archbishop of Dublin.

This first community probably numbered about 500 throughout Ireland.

2, The late Ormondite period (1681-1687): This second influx followed the Draggonades of 1681. In 1685, following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Huguenot refugees fled from France to Ireland in even greater numbers.

3, The Ruvignan period (1692-ca. 1706).

It is interesting to ask why, in the main, they and their descendants found a place within the Church of Ireland and not among Presbyterians. Certainly the Rye House Plot of 1683, which Ormond linked to dissenting Protestants in Ireland, was a clear motivation for Irish Huguenots, who had benefited from Ormond’s hospitality, to avoid too close an identification with Irish Presbyterians.

3, The Roman Catholics:

The shrine of Archbishop Oliver Plunkett in Saint Peter’s Church, Drogheda (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

After the 1641 rebellion, the Roman Catholics had briefly gained the upper hand in Ireland.

An indication of Catholic liberties under Charles II is provided at a later date: When it came to signing the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, the defeated Roman Catholics appealed to “the privileges enjoyed under Charles II.” The appeal was to actual practice rather than the statutes on the book.

But the statute legislation made it a criminal offence for a Roman Catholic priest to say Mass and for a lay person to hear it; there were heavy fines for not attending the services of the Church of Ireland; priests, teachers, tutors and MPs had to take the Oath of Supremacy and to renounce the authority of the Pope in civil matters; no Roman Catholic could become a magistrate (JP), mayor, recorder, alderman, magistrate, or burgess of any corporation.

In 1662, the Papal Nuncio in Brussels, Girolamo de Vechii, declared that a proposed address by the Roman Catholic priests of Ireland, stating their loyalty to the new monarch, was a violation of their faith. The Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Francesco Barverini, a nephew of Pope Urban VIII, and the Papal Secretary of State, Cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi, later Pope Clement IX, concurred.

Nevertheless, in 1666 the Roman Catholics held a synod in Dublin at which a loyal remonstrance was framed, expressing loyalty to Charles II, was signed by 69 of the estimated 4,000 priests and friars resident in Ireland.

There appears to have been a great measure of religious liberty and freedom of conscience. This was enhanced by Ormond’s succession as Viceroy by Berkeley, who was openly sympathetic to Roman Catholics, and who was said to once sent a message to Archbishop Peter Talbot of Dublin that he “hoped to see high mass at Christ Church.”

That religious tolerance continued until the fictitious “Popish Plot” of 1678, which led to the execution of Archbishop Oliver Plunkett, a saintly prelate who suffered a traitor’s death at Tyburn on 1 July 1681 on a false charge of having conspired towards a French invasion of Ireland. England’s fear of France was rivalled only by the Pope’s loathing of France, where Louis XIV had asserted royal prerogatives in many areas that Pope regarded as his own, and flirted with Gallicanism, whose model of the church stands up to interesting comparison to that of Anglicanism.

However, we should also remember that there was the Rye House Plot of 1683, which Ormond linked to nonconformists in Ireland. But the tide turned again in favour of the Roman Catholic Church with the accession to the throne of James II in 1685.

Two other communities with a strong presence in Ireland at the time and who survived the Cromwellian period with varying degrees of strength numerically and theologically after the restoration were the Baptists and the Quakers. They have been the subject of many scholarly studies and are worth exploring too.

The wider church:

The wider church, beyond Ireland, and beyond Anglicanism, at this time, produced great contributions to our theology, thinking and culture.

We have already referred to Descartes, who shaped and changed the thinking of this age, and to his greatest opponent, Pascal. But this period also saw the rise in France of Gallicanism and Jansenism.

Jansenism owed its origins to Cornelius Otto Jansen (1585-1638), Bishop of Ypres, and the posthumous publication in 1640 of his Augustinus, which was condemned as heretical by Innocent X. Jansen argued that without a special grace from God, the performance of his commands is impossible for us, and the operation of his grace is irresistible. Hence, human beings are the victims of either a natural or a supernatural determinism, limited only by not being coercive.

The most important centre of Jansenism was at the Convent of Port Royal, south-west of Paris, where Antoin Arnauld became the leader of the movement. The Jansenists sought to evade Innocent X’s condemnation by admitting that the propositions condemned were heretical, but declaring them to be unrepresentative of Jansen’s ideas. In 1668, the movement was persuaded into a qualified submission, but continued to gain followers and sympathisers.

The movement eventually led to the formation of the Old Catholics at Utrecht.

The other great movement to mark French Catholicism at this time was Gallicanism. In 1516, the Pope had conceded the right of the French king to appoint bishops. In 1663, the Sorbonne published a declaration, reaffirmed by the French clergy at their assembly in 1682 and known as the Four Gallican Articles. These denied the Pope had dominion over things temporal and affirmed that kings are not subject to the Church in civil matters; reaffirmed the authority of a General Council of the Church over the Pope; insisted that the ancient liberties of the French church were inviolable; and asserted that the judgment of the Pope was not irreformable.

Gallicanism persisted well into the 18th century. We see parallels with Anglicanism, and even with some of the assertions in the 39 Articles. But we can also see the beginning of thinking that would lead to the French revolution, and see the debate that would culminate, long after Gallicanism had become a spent force, in the crowning of Napoleon as Emperor by a captive Pope.


Contextual understandings (2): art, music and culture in the development of Anglicanism.

Next week (12 February 2015):

5.1: The Church of Ireland from the Penal Laws to Disestablishment

5.2: Understanding sectarianism and transforming societies

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Dublin. This lecture on 5 February 2015 was part of the MTh Year II course, TH 8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context.

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