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A. D. 1615. of the country, yet not even then does a design
appear to have been formed of constructing an entirely new Church for this country, with an entirely new succession of bishops, deriving their orders from foreign prelates, and depending for their authority on a foreign Church. It seems indeed that it was only in the primatial and metropolitan sees that much care was taken by the Roman court to preserve any approach to a regular succession of prelates of their new misşion ; while of such titular bishops as were thus appointed, some appear to have never visited or inspected their nominal charges. For Ireland had once already, in the days of the Kings Henry VIII. and Edward VI., followed the example of England in shaking off her allegiance to Rome; but had again repented in the days of Queen Mary, and returned to her submission. And although the reformed faith had been restored once more in the days of Elizabeth, yet who could tell but that the Italian doctrines might, under the auspices of a new monarch, regain the ground that had been lost, and that prelates and people might again return universally to " the mother Church." This consideration possibly may have caused the popes to move rather slowly in the work of nominating titular bishops for this country, appointing them as it would seem rather to gratify and indulge their friends, and to satisfy the covetousness and ambition of A. D. 1615. importunate candidates for the episcopal office, than from any anxiety on their own part to be over hasty in attempting to construct a new hierarchy for Ireland. Accordingly it can hardly be stated with correctness that at the close of Elizabeth's reign there were as yet two Churches in Ireland ;* for, although there were numberless recusants, that is, Romish dissenters from the established religion, with some titular prelates and even primates of their party, still they had not as yet adopted means for organizing their body in a regular and complete ecclesiastical form, so as to supply all Ireland with a new episcopacy.
After the death of the titular primate Magau- Only one ran, which occurred as already recorded, in A.D. lar bishop 1594, no papal primate was appointed in Ireland connected for the space of nearly fifteen years, until at on the acces
sion of King length Peter Lombard was nominated about A.D. 1603 probably, for the exact date is not, as far A.D. 1603, as I can find, on record.t And although mention is made in our annals of several titular prelates connected with different Irish sees, (as Down, Derry, Killaloe, &c.,) who flourished in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, yet it does not appear that any of them were surviving in the reign of King James, except Cornelius Ryan, or • See Appendix, No. 75, inf. + See Appendix Nos. 26, 62, 65, 66, inf.
1. D. 1615. O'Melrian, titular bishop of Killaloe, who was livand he resi- ing abroad ; and who appears, according to this
statement, to have been the only Romish bishop Spain.
having the title of an Irish see, and that of course
by usurpation, in the first years of the reign of Two others King James 1. Peter Lombard was added, as added about titular primate, about the year 1608, if not ear
lier; and David Carney, as titular Archbishop
of Cashel, about the same time, or soon after. and two And to these again were added, without much more very delay, two others, namely, Owen M.Mahon for
Dublin, and Florence Conroy for Tuam ; their appointment having taken place at Rome, shortly after the arrival there of the exiled Hugh O'Neill, and by his influence; and the principal immediate object of their elevation to such an office being apparently, that they might in a more dignified character present themselves to foreign courts, as the agents of “the Prince of Ulster," soliciting pecuniary and military aid in
his behalf. Of these five titulars here menOnly one
tioned, David Carney, of Cashel, was the only resident in one residing in Ireland in 1613. But Owen 1613.
M-Mahon came afterwards in like manner, to occupy himself in the labours connected with
his usurped office.* Measures Such was the state of the titular hierarchy of adopted by Ireland at the period of our history at present
• Appendix, ib. and No. 68. Also O'Sullivan, Hist. Cath, ut ins.
under consideration. Measures were however A. D. 1614. now to be adopted for setting about the improve- sants for orment of this establishment in earnest, as a work ganizing a which could no longer be safely delayed. For chy, &c. the experience of ten years had shewn that it A.D. 1614. were idle to wait for King James to restore the Roman religion in Ireland, however fondly some at first might have hoped for such a result of his accession. For the purpose therefore of making a commencement of the business of regular organisation of their community, and as a model, it would seem, for the other provinces, a conference or synod of the papal clergy of the province Account of of Armagh was convened at Drogheda for seve- the titular ral days, and terminated there in the month of Drogheda. February, 1614. At this meeting were present sundry Romish ecclesiastics, calling themselves by the style of “right reverend lords vicarsgeneral, officials, and rural deans,” with certain select professors of theology, papal canonists, and members of the regular orders of Jesuits, Franciscans, and Cistertians. A minute of their proceedings, comprised in one of the Ussher MSS. of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin,* conveys to us a good deal of instructive intelligence concerning the matters transacted by this assembly; from which, as throwing some light on the germination of the modern Irish
• MS. E. 3, 8, in the MS. Library, T.C.D.
A. D. 1614. branch of the Church of Rome, it will be useful
to make rather copious extracts in this place. Concerning
The minute commences with a preface “ To the autho the Reader,” giving an account of the authority jects of this whereby these ecclesiastics took upon themselves meeting,
to deliberate in such a manner on Church affairs, the occasion of their coming together, &c." In the absence,” say they, “of the archbishop of Armagh, primate of the whole realm, who has heretofore been detained at Rome by public business, it appeared to be our concern, especially as all the suffragan sees of that province were vacant, to provide some proper course, such as we might find to be most in accordance with the sacred canons, and with the principles of natural right and reason, for the government of the Catholic clergy and people in order to their everlasting salvation. This we were the more
bound to do, inasmuch as the said most illuswhich is
trious primate had committed to us the pleniheld under tude of his jurisdiction; on the strength of which the sanction of Peter
we issued notice to all vicars-general, with cerLombard, tain rural deans, and other of the more eminent primate of persons of the clergy of this province,” to assemall Ireland.
ble together for the purpose of deliberating on the present state of ecclesiastical affairs. And having held with their assistance "a kind of substitute for a provincial synod, we have ordained,” say they, “sundry rules and constitu