Thursday, 5 January 2017

The Archiepiscopal See of Dublin (1707-1762)(Walsh)

Francis Street Church, Dublin

From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xvi, p. 127 ff:

Edmund Byrne succeeded in 1707. He was ordained at Seville and was in the fifty first year of his age when promoted to the see of Dublin. Soon after his promotion it was proposed under a parliamentary sanction that a public meeting of Protestant and Catholic prelates and doctors should be held for two months to propound and debate on the disputed articles of faith, on which occasion, says Mr Clinch, this worthy archbishop, alone of all the Irish Catholic prelates, attended said conferences and then with such zeal wisdom and more than human eloquence propounded the principles of his religion in the public college of Dublin that many enlightened by the rays of truth shook off the yoke of heresy and sought the harbor of safety in the bosom of the Catholic church. The old controversy respecting the primatial right was revived about the year 1717 and on this occasion Dr Mac Mahon wrote his learned work Jus Primatiale. The archbishop of Dublin, having divided the parishes of St James and St Catherine, the pastor appealed to the primate of all Ireland whose decision restored the appellant. The matter was, however, brought before the supreme tribunal of the church but before its decision was obtained Dr. Byrne died.

Edward Murphy, who acted as secretary to the synod held by Archbishop Russel in July, 1685, and also in 1688, was subsequently bishop of Kildare from which see he was translated to the archbishopric of Dublin in 1724. Having filled the see five years he died in 1729.

Luke Fagan in 1729 was translated from the see of Meath to the archdiocese of Dublin, which he filled about five years residing in the ancient chapel house of Francis Street during this time. Though the rigorous spirit of the penal laws was somewhat relaxed during the government of George the Second, yet his life was so unobtrusive as not to project himself to the notice of posterity.

John Linegar was appointed to the see in 1734. During the administration of the Duke of Devonshire, the vengeance of the law was again directed against the prelacy and priesthood of Ireland. A proclamation issued in February, 1743, by which all justices of the peace were ordered to enforce the penal laws for the detection of popish prelates and priests and in the same document were offered large pecuniary rewards for the seizure and conviction of those proscribed men and of others who would dare to conceal them or entertain them in their houses. In consequence of this cruel edict, worthy of a Nero, the chapels were closed, visits made in search of priests, yet some zealous ecclesiastics exercised their ministry in obscure and unfrequented places. On one occasion a priest John Fitzgerald officiated in a ruinous dwelling within the city. The sacrifice of the Mass being finished and the people ready to depart, the priest and nine of his hearers were killed by the fall of the house and many more were severely bruised or maimed. Moved by this lamentable occurrence, Hoadley, a Protestant primate, effected a toleration in the council and the chapels were re-opened on the 17th of March, 1745. In 1751, Archbishop Linegar received from Rome instructions which he was ordered to transmit to the archbishops of Armagh, Cashel and Tuam, and by them to be communicated to their suffragans exhorting them to subdivide extensive districts into new parishes or otherwise select coadjutors for their flocks. The prelates themselves were directed to reside and enforce residence within their sees and every second year to report to the nuncio at Brussels the state of religion and of ecclesiastical discipline. Confessors were forbidden to take alms at their confessionals, parish priests were directed to have the children taught their catechism diligently and correctly and, with regard to the regular clergy, their superiors were ordered to avoid admitting them to take the religious habit in Ireland, as it was desirable they should assume it in monasteries of foreign countries where the noviciates were regulated according to the constitutions of the Popes and should not return to Ireland until they finished the course of their studies there and have acquired the knowledge of moral and dogmatic theology. The Archbishop Linegar lived until the year 1756.  His portrait is preserved at the Sienna convent in Drogheda.

Richard Lincoln was appointed to succeed in 1757. In this year, he caused an exhortation to be read from the altars inviting the Roman Catholics to be grateful to those who had preserved them without distinction of persons by their charity and benevolence in the visitation of famine which recently afflicted them. A series of more than sixty years, said the bishop, spent with a pious resignation under the hardships of very severe penal laws and with thanks for the lenity and moderation with which they were executed since the accession of the present royal family is a fact which, with any unbiassed mind, must outweigh the ill-formed opinions of the doctrines and the tenets which the Catholic church inculcates. This document concluded by urging on his flock an abstinence from sin and the performance of moral and religious duties. In 1759, a dispute arose between the archbishop and the regular clergy of his diocese. The prelate, feeling it incumbent on him to control their faculty of hearing confessions and to prescribe other points of ecclesiastical discipline, an ordinance issued from Rome in August, 1761, more peremptorily enjoining the manner in which such confessions should be heard and otherwise adjusting the disputed points of discipline. In February, 1762, another exhortation issued urging the respective congregations to submission and allegiance and recommending the king to their prayers in order that by a solid and lasting peace the effusion of Christian blood might be restrained. Archbishop Lincoln died at the close of 1762 and was buried in a family vault in St. James' churchyard Dublin.

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