Date of Award

Spring 1972

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Rev. William Greytak

Second Advisor

Rev. Joseph Sullivan

Abstract

This is the story of an Irish man of God. He loved his Church and he loved his native land. . .and he lived in a time when Irishmen were forced to choose between the two. The specifics of Edward Thomas O'Dwyer's decision and the place it holds in the annals of the Catholic Church in Ireland make up the essence of this thesis. My goal is to enter into detail the particulars of an often forgotten chapter of Irish History, as well as to impart to the reader some understanding of the religious question in Ireland today. In that Clio unrolls her scroll primarily in order to teach, my brief analysis of what Dr. O'Dwyer did, or failed to do, or should have done will, hopefully, allow us to espy what the Irish people and their Church must do today if both are to survive the rigours of this century. The format is not complicated. In that my paper concerns itself with the interaction between nationalism and religion, it must, by extension, also treat the host of paradoxes which make up that emotional morass commonly recognized as the Irish national character. A second major section will consist of a brief history of Irish Church-State relations, viewed against the backdrop of three rebellions: the 1798, the 1848 and the 1916 Easter Rising. Following that will be our story of the bishop of Limerick, My study of this remarkable cleric's career will revolve around an appraisal of his involvement in the following public issues: local level politics in the Limerick area, education and the anti-conscription campaign of the Great War. These smaller controversies will serve to lead us towards the Bishop of Limerick's shattering confrontation with General Sir John Maxwell, commander of British forces in Ireland after the Easter Rising, a show of defiance which was the highlight of the former's long life. In addition to all of the above, I have also set aside a limited amount cf space for a scrutiny of the bishop's theology and philosophy. Throughout the thesis, the overall goal has been to view’ the attitudes of both the Irish people and the Irish clergy towards nationalism by following the career of a man who was both a great Irishman and a great Irish cleric.

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