The Catholic Church and the Campaign for Emancipation in Ireland and England
Catholics in Ireland and England campaigning for relief from the penal laws, and, later, for emancipation, were obliged to deal not only with the governments in Dublin and London but also with the Holy See. In return for concessions they were required to provide 'securities' in the form of oaths, which included allegiance to King George III and his successors, and a rejection of the alleged 'claims' of the papacy which could be used to the detriment of the lawful authority of the British crown. The crown sough the right to veto candidates for the episcopate whom it deemed unsuitable. Both the Holy See and the bishops found some of the elements of these oaths unacceptable. In Ireland and in England differences of opinion emerged between the loyal and conservative aristocrats and gentry, who were keen to take their seats in parliament, and the middle class activists, who rejected the veto. This study examines these issues and the complex relationships between the Holy See, the bishops and the Catholic committees.
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