By R. Fleischmann
Canon Sheehan's writings supply helpful perception into Ireland's tough technique of cultural reconstruction after independence. This astute observer of Irish society used to be pessimistic concerning the way forward for faith. although himself a guy of ecu tradition, he made a case for the isolationism to turn into truth below the unfastened kingdom. it's a case which this present day is definitely scorned - yet his works let us comprehend why it will probably command such aid, and to understand its relative historic justification.
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Extra info for Catholic Nationalism in the Irish Revival: A Study of Canon Sheehan, 1852-1913
Part of the problem lies in the training given to clerical students. Rules, discipline, ritual can easily become mechanical. Too much emphasis is placed on the dangers and temptations of the life ahead of the students, instead of enthusiasm being kindled for the work to be done; fear, rather than ardour, is the driving force in the seminary. The students are inadequately prepared for one further important aspect of their future tasks: that of associating with educated non-believers. For this they would require a competent training in modern philosophy instead of the 'perfunctory' course in scholastic philosophy given by way of preparation for theology.
In both cases it was feared that if the subject did not become part of the system, of 'the race of life', pupils would be bound to neglect those fields 'on which neither teacher nor Commissioners, nor the world, will set a premium'. Canon Sheehan does not speak of the dangers to his subject of being exposed to the competitive principle. He seems to be confident that the innovation he suggests would result in a decisive improvement in the quality of religious instruction, and to rely on this outweighing any possible drawbacks.
According to him, Canon Sheehan ... " Whether or not some of Canon Sheehan's critics resorted to such deviousness, their damaging and generally anonymous attacks in The United Irishman and Independent certainly reinforced his diffidence about his work. Letters have recently been published which contain evidence of his doubts about the merits of his writings. In 1891 he sent some articles written during his student days to the editor of The Irish Monthly, Father Russell, and says in the covering letter: I have found them in an old notebook, and sent them just as they were written.
Catholic Nationalism in the Irish Revival: A Study of Canon Sheehan, 1852-1913 by R. Fleischmann