Public Seminar: Dr Colin Barr on ‘Ireland’s Empire’

History Seminar Series
School of Humanities and Social Science,
The University of Newcastle
2011, Semester 2

Held in the Cultural Collections
Level 2, Auchmuty Library, Callaghan Campus
10am, followed by morning tea

Friday 5 August 2011, 10am

Dr. Colin Barr
Ave Maria University (Florida)

“Ireland’s Empire: The Roman Catholic Church in the Anglo-World, 1830-1922”

Even the most passing familiarity with the United States, Canada, Australia, Scotland, New Zealand, and, to a lesser extent, South Africa reveals the historical importance not only of the Roman Catholic Church, but also the domination of that church by the ethnic Irish: think of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York – or Melbourne, Auckland, or Thunder Bay, Ontario.  In this paper I will show that this phenomenon was not merely ecclesiastical, but had important political and social consequences:  everywhere, the Catholic Church sought to play an important role in political life; everywhere, it sought to build a separate and distinct institutional structure of schools, hospitals, universities, and organisations ranging from religious confraternities to social clubs and insurance schemes. In the paper, we will consider the thousands of men and women who served as priests and religious; the many millions who took their moral, political, and social cues from their priests and bishops, or were educated in church-run schools and colleges.  By 1922, the Irish dominated both the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and its institutions across the Anglo-world.  In many places, Irish and Catholic became virtually indistinguishable.  The Roman Catholic Church in the English-speaking world became, as a disgruntled (and English) Archbishop of Sydney complained in 1863, an Irish ‘imperium in imperio’.’  This paper will explore some of the ramifications of this widely held view.

One thought on “Public Seminar: Dr Colin Barr on ‘Ireland’s Empire’

  1. Pingback: Upcoming History Seminar Series « UoN Cultural Collections

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