By R. Fleischmann
Canon Sheehan's writings offer worthy perception into Ireland's tricky means of cultural reconstruction after independence. This astute observer of Irish society was once pessimistic concerning the way forward for faith. notwithstanding himself a guy of ecu tradition, he made a case for isolationism to turn into fact below the unfastened country. it's a case which at the present time is definitely scorned - yet his paintings permits us to appreciate why it may well command such aid, and to understand its relative old justification.
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Extra resources for Catholic Nationalism in the Irish Revival: A Study of Canon Sheehan, 1852–1913
Yet the author of this sermon, the story merely serving to gild the pill, as Canon Sheehan himself put it, 49 was to find himself in trouble, like so many other authors critical of the Irish condition. The book was denounced in the Catholic Month as 'an attack on Catholic institutions'. Canon Sheehan saw in this 'dishonest criticism' an 'insidious attempt to wreck the sale of the book', a serious matter for him, as he had had to finance publication himself. 50 Whether because of the unfavourable reviews, or the book itself, sales were so poor that when the planned sequel was offered to the publisher, it was 24 Catholic Nationalism in the Irish Revival rejected.
Frank O'Connor gives a different Introduction 29 version of the story in his autobiography. According to him, Canon Sheehan ... had been greatly praised by a Russian writer called Tolstoi, and later I learned that his clerical enemies had sent one of his novels to Rome in the hope of having it condemned for heresy, but the Papal authorities, mistaking the purpose of the submission, gave Sheehan a DD instead. 64 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.
This is particularly dangerous, the Canon says, for there is 'no country in the world in which this passion for literature has taken such firm hold of the professional and mercantile classes as in Ireland'. He considers most perilous 'the high philosophy that deifies man's intellect and humanity', so appealing to the young mind: How will the intellects, trained to believe in the majesty and grandeur of the human mind, suffer to have their belief shaped for them by the Divine dogmatism of the Church?