Posted By: May 17, 2016

    Addressing his congregation in the Cathedral at Killarney, the Most Rev Dr Mangan, Bishop of Kerry, said: ‘Brethren – We are passing through an anxious and, I may say, critical times. The present situation demands that I should address some words of guidance and of guardianship to my own people here in Killarney and to the many thousands of faithful Catholics throughout this large diocese who are committed to my charge.

            ‘Most unexpectedly, a portion of our country – a small portion, it is true, but still an important portion – has been plunged into a situation bordering on revolution. Speaking for myself, I may say that the first news of the startling measures adopted filled me with feelings of dismay and horror. From my earliest years, revolutionary movements in this country never had any fascination for me – at the present moment, they are absolutely abhorrent.

            ‘I have been all my life a constitutional Nationalist. I am not standing before you as an apologist for our people. In the present dreadful war the…sacrifices, even unto death, of the Munster Fusiliers and many other Irish regiments must, in the estimation of all fair-minded men, always stand to our credit. But the situation demands that I, as the spokesman of the Catholics of this diocese, should give public expression to their strong disapprobation of the action of some misguided men who, if they had their way, would plunge this country into all the horrors of civil war.

            ‘St Brendan, the patron saint of our diocese, has, I hope, saved the people from the horrors of civil war in which Sir Roger Casement endeavoured to embroil them. From first to last, I never had any sympathy with the Volunteer movement, either north or south..’(In this classic denunciation of the Rising, Bishop Mangan was echoing the words of his predecessor, Bishop Moriarty. Moriarty, a noted theologian, not only condemned the Fenian Rising of 1867 but declared ‘that eternity was not long enough nor hell hot enough to punish such miscreants.’ In 1916, while the bulk of the Irish bishops were Home Rulers, most kept their silence though Bishop O’Dwyer of Limerick lost no time in condemning the executions and the British GOC as ‘that brute Maxwell’. In the north the issue was soon complicated by Redmond’s support for ‘temporary partition’ with most Ulster bishops bitterly rejecting the Lloyd George ‘exclusion scheme’ in June 1916.)