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Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Date Posted:

Days of Deliverance Part 10: 1642, Irish Protestants come under the heel of Rome

Dr Clive Gillis

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chr. 7:14

The New Roman Catholic Irish Confederate state set up following the massacre of Protestants in 1641 was formally inaugurated, “at the City of Kilkenny … on 24th Day of October Anno Domini 1642”.

All Rome’s dreams were on the verge of fulfilment.  The proceedings were at the behest of “The Lords Spiritual and Temporall”.  Note that the Lords Spiritual, that is Rome, comes first.

Colonel Thomas Preston

One Colonel Thomas Preston, leaving a prestigious military commission on the Continent to join the Confederates wrote: “For my part, I should not upon any slight cast off the employment I had in the Low-Countries to imbrue myself, my wife, children, estate and honour in cause so full of eminent danger to each particular of these.  But, when, by opinion of all divines (they key Roman Catholic priests) I perceived that the catholic religion … my sovereign, the liberties of my country … were the prizes at stake, I thought all those but weak motives to withhold me.”  Rome ensnared Colonel Preston and many others by playing upon their honourable nationalist sympathies.

Colonel Preston’s sovereign, Charles I, was actually quite unaware of what was happening in Ireland.  Historian Ludwig Pastor, giving Rome’s version of these events, says: “After several fruitless efforts, they (that is the Supreme Council of the Irish Confederation) at last succeeded in getting in touch with Charles I”.  The delay was no accident.  Rome only moves slowly when it suits her.  No official discussions took place until “both parties” met at Trim on 17th March 1643.  Pastor has the audacity to state that at Trim, “the Catholics demanded an independent Parliament for Ireland,” as if the Confederates had not already taken such a daring step unilaterally.

“A true parliament”

Pastor is adamant that, “The General Assembly of all Irishmen met at Kilkenny on 24th October,” was a true Parliament.  Rome insisted it represented “all Irishmen”.  Pastor states that, “It elected a Supreme Council of twenty-five members with Lord Mountgarret as Chairman and four Governors for the four Provinces of Ireland”.  He then goes on to confirm its diplomatic recognition by the Vatican.  “In reality the Assembly at Kilkenny was a Parliament, though it refrained from adopting the title out of consideration for the King who had not sanctioned the gathering.” (!)

The Gaelic chieftains might happily settle for usurping Charles I but surely the Old English had scruples?  Eye witness, Richard Martin, confirms this: “The … Lords and Commons met at Kilkenny on 24th October 1642.  The first act they did was to protest, that they meant not that this meeting to be a Parliament, confessing that the calling, proroguing and dissolving of that great body was an inseparable incident to the Crown which they would not encroach on, but was only a general meeting.”  Later, when the Friars and monks were making it clear they “desired a restitution of their property from Puritans and Protestants,” or they would walk out and take the matter to Rome, Martin argued they surely could not, “this, being no Parliament”.

Rome the puppet master

But Rome was the puppet master, Eyewitness the Earl of Castlehaven had to admit “The Assembly… differed nothing from a Parliament other than the Lords and Commons sate together, and not in two houses, … this you see was the force put upon us … we hoped in time the storm being passed to return to our old Government under the King”.  Richard Martin said of this fait accompli, “A Supreme council of the Confederate Catholics of Ireland,” were, “accordingly authorised with plenitude of power … and sworn publicly on a new composed oath”.  This oath of association, “all were bound to obey”.  The Roman Catholic clergy were instructed to translate the oath into Gaelic and to disseminate it to all the priests throughout Ireland.  The priests were to insist on it being taken as part of the mass.

What did this legislation mean but that this was a Roman Catholic Parliament in all but name?  The preamble to their “Acts” states, “We have resolved with the assistance of Heaven, and in open site of the whole world … to conclude with one common consent that God shall please to inspire in us,” first and foremost to promote, “the exaltation of the Holy Catholic faith”.  Issues such as King, country, security and maintenance of goods follow, but first in the list is Roman Catholic domination.

The Holy Roman Catholic Church

The Acts open with this statement: “We therefore ordain and establish … That the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland shall enjoy … the privileges and immunities … that existed before the Reformation”.  Other statements follow but, “The exaltation of the Holy Roman Catholic Church,” was the first of thirty-three articles.  Many of the articles that followed were simply to assist this “exaltation”  through the acquisition of power over the army, seizure of land, acquisition of wealth by Romanists and dismantling of Protestant laws.

On October 27th, the Assembly ordered “that there shall be a Seal in this Kingdom, for sealing and attesting such matters as shall be ordered and directed … by the house”.  Rome dare not risk a crucifix, but the centrality of ecclesiastical power with the dove, the cross and the distinctly Romanist flaming or bleeding heart, symbolise the dependence of the state upon Rome.  These seals are now more likely to be found in monkish archives in Rome, where their existence was perpetuated long after the Day of Deliverance. 

A new coinage

A new country with new laws needed a new commerce.  And this commerce needed a new coinage.  As early as November, a Confederate mint was producing “silver half crown pieces, to the value and goodness of the English money then current”.  This suggests careful premeditation.  Indeed the slickness with which the whole coup was carried through, suggests that Rome had had such plans in place since the days of Jesuit Parsons and the Spanish Armada.

These coins were already rare by the nineteenth century when Gilbert wrote his history of the Confederation, and most of them were well worn.  Some detail can be made out.  On the obverse the king kneels to serve the Irish Confederation represented by a harp.  On the reverse the enthroned and mitred figure is actually St Patrick holding out a shamrock in his right hand to represent Romish doctrine and in his left a crosier, indicating Rome’s assumption of pastoral care for the whole of Ireland.  Further left, the arms of Dublin show that this prize was firmly under confederate control.  The ordinary people would probably assume the figure to be the pope.

Other coins apparently show St Patrick’s right hand extended over snakes and serpents – Rome’s symbol for heretics.  Since the official language of the Acts describes the Protestants variously as the “badd partie of this kingdome” and, “the Malignant party,” we may guess at who the heretics hereby symbolised may be.  On October 29th the Supreme Council, “Ordered, that every person or persons whatsoever talking, discoursing, in writing or otherwise (with) the enemies shall not call them by the name or names of English or Protestants but shall call them by the names of (the) Puritanical or Malignant party”.

Rome poses as honest broker

Rome now felt she could publicly emerge on to the diplomatic stage as an honest broker, as if the 1641 massacre and all that followed were nothing to do with her.  In fact she had already given her benediction to these activities as being both “just and lawful” in May 1642.

On 28th October the Supreme council announced it was seeking alliances with sympathetic Roman Catholic countries of Europe.  One Mr Barron was ordered to “bring into this house in writing the proposition and messages from foreign parts”. And who was in charge of this top secret international correspondence?  Mr Baron’s jealously guarded portfolio was committed to him by none other than “the Pope’s nuncio”.

This was a carefully engineered debut.  Rome had been mustering the necessary military muscle to back her haughty demands through the Acts for some time.  Whether the Confederates like it or not, the Vatican realised that the might of the Roman Catholic armies of Europe would be needed to sustain a militant Romanist state in England’s backyard.  Especially as it threatened to extend to England the reversal of the Reformation in Ireland.

There exists a letter of 8th August 1642 from an Irish Jesuit agent then stationed in Paris, Matthew O’Hartegan, to Franciscan Luke Wadding at St Isidore’s in Rome. (readers will remember that Waddington ran this clandestine Irish operation for Pope Urban VIII.)  “By (Waddington’s) influence positions were obtained for many of his (fellow) countrymen in the armies of the (Roman) Catholic princes of the continent”.  So all the Roman Catholic armies of Europe had been thus infiltrated at Rome’s behest.

His Holiness’ arms

Hartegan writes, “It was thought fit by my Lord Nuntius, (the papal nuncio) that Mr Barron should go home (to Ireland) … he will send us true and willing relation of all thinges … I do not know a more sufficient man …This is the time for …. Helping earnestlie our poore countrie …. What his Holiness will afford us (money and arms) should be made reddie against the beginning of winter … they (the Confederates) will not fayle to send his Holiness an ambassadge as soon as they be able”.  And what would be Mr Baron’s reward for such service? Wily Jesuit Hartegan promises, “I will do my best endeavours for to see him made the Secretarie of the State” in the new Confederation.

And so it was that Rome drew its noose tight around the necks of the Protestants.  English Protestants were officially the Malignant party.  What is more, the Protestants were to pay for their own annihilation.  On October 30th the Supreme Council ordered “No freedom or privilege,” was to be, “allowed to exempt any person from paying the levies for the maintenance of the (Roman) Catholic Armies”.

Protestants were tempted to feign conversion.  Thus, “all new converts without … occasions to the contrary, and joining this cause, shall be accounted (Roman) Catholics and natives to all intents and purposes”.  Acts No 16.

Laws against Protestants

New Romanist Inns of Court “for training the gentry” and the erection of free schools for “the advancement of learning” disabled Protestant law and education at a stroke.

Mixed faith marriages were undermined in favour of Rome.  “Any women being a Roman Catholic and wife of any Protestant of catholic that hath forsaken his house estate and wife and adhered unto the enemy … may recover her thirds of her said husbands estate as if her said husband were actually dead.” Acts No 25.

Surely no natural course of events could reverse this dire situation.  Only the Lord from Heaven could bring Deliverance.

A letter from the Confederates to the Papal nuncio in Paris dated 22nd September 1642 confirms the success of Rome’s intrigues.  “The administrators intrusted with the affairs of the Irish Confederates thank the Nuncio for a gift of arms received through his influence … the Nuncio will be addressed more fully at the General Conventions of the whole Kingdom at Kilkenny on the 24th of the following October”.

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