The Last Catholic King of Ireland

From Crisis Magazine , written by K.V. Turley.

Recently, whilst traveling through Ireland, I passed over a small bridge. The river was easily crossed but I was conscious that the waters below were those of the River Boyne, and that upon its banks had been fought a battle that was to prove calamitous for the Catholic faith in these islands. And yet, for one of the chief protagonists of that fateful encounter there was to follow an unexpected coda, one that began shortly afterwards at a monastery in France, and that now caused me to view these events in an altogether different light.

The battle took place as part of a wider conflict that threatened to engulf the whole of Europe just as it had the whole of the British Isles. However, the genesis of these events was to start five years previously and many miles away in London, on a cold dank February day in 1685, as the then monarch, King Charles II, lay dying.

The Stuarts had, by then, been restored and the unpopular puritanism of the Commonwealth ended. From the start, this restoration had been popular, partly on account of the fact that its king had political skills of the first order—and was thus a man of little integrity. This lack of integrity extended to matters of religion. He had to be Anglican as head of the Church of England but he secretly despised the institution, drawing more and more toward Catholicism. Indeed a paradox, for this was the same man who looked the other way when the last Catholic martyr, the then Archbishop of Armagh, Oliver Plunkett, was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn barely four years earlier. Nevertheless, when the end did come, and as his court stood and watched, his brother, the Duke of York (later King James II) leaned over the dying monarch and whispered if he should send for a priest. The reply was vigorous: “For God’s sake do!”

Read the original article here.

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2 Responses to The Last Catholic King of Ireland

  1. kathleen says:

    This is a most moving article relating the well-known tragic turning point in our history: the final unmovable establishment of a Protestant Monarchy in Great Britain, and the real commencement of Ireland’s oppression due to its loyalty to the Catholic Church.

    Turley states that “what came to be known as the Penal Laws” insisted that: “All Catholics were to be excluded from public office unless, amongst other things, they were to make a declaration refuting the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Of course, for a Catholic this was impossible, for to do so one would cease to belong to the Old Faith and have given in instead to the New Religion propagated by Henry VIII and his subsequent disciples.”

    So it really was a choice between worldly success, riches, honour and selling your soul to the Devil, or, on the other hand poverty, scorn, becoming an outcast, but at the same time faithful to Christ’s Church. For such “a declaration” as the above could only be the handiwork of men under the influence of the Devil, he who always seeks the destruction of the True Faith!

    Another excellent article about this epoch in history of the Royal Stuarts (including the tragic story of Bonnie Prince Charlie) is this one from ‘Roman Cristendom’.


  2. JabbaPapa says:

    The Anglican “church” is sick and in agony on its death bed.

    Yes, by all means, and for God’s sake — send for a priest !!


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