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A grand conversion – 1853

 St. Patrick  Hill of Tara, Ireland. Photo: Deadstar Wikimedia Commons

St. Patrick
Hill of Tara, Ireland.
Photo: Deadstar
Wikimedia Commons

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THE BELMONT CHRONICLE, AND FARMERS, MECHANICS AND MANUFACTURERS ADVOCATE. 2ND SEPTEMBER, 1853 P1

IRELAND

There is a religious movement in progress in Ireland that promises important results. Through the influence of emigration and proselytism the relative numerical strength of the Protestants and Roman Catholics is undergoing a rapid change, and the former are gradually gaining the ascendency.  It has been predicted by the London Times that “in fifty years Ireland well be Protestant to a man.”  A concealment of the fact is no longer attempted by the Roman Catholic press.  The Dublin (R.C.) Nation says;

“There can be no longer any question that the systematized proselytism has met with immense success in Connaught and Kerry.  It is true that the altars of the Catholic Church have been deserted by thousands, born and baptized in the ancient faith of Ireland.  The West of Ireland is deserting the ancient fold.”

The Dublin Tablet says;

“We repeat, it is not Tuam, nor Cashel, nor Armagh, that are the chief seats of successful proselytism, but this very city in which we live.”

Slemish, mountain in County Antrim where St Patrick is reputed to have shepherded as a slave Photo: Man vyi Wikimedia commons

Slemish, mountain in County Antrim where St Patrick is reputed to have shepherded as a slave
Photo: Man vyi
Wikimedia commons

The Dubin Evening Post says:

“We learn from unquestionable authority that the success of the proselytisers in almost every part of the country, and, as we are told, in the metropolis, is beyond all the worst misgivings we could have dreamt of.”

This testimony is further corroborated by the report of the Irish Missionary Societies, which characterize the movement above spoken of as the “New Reformation.”  Ireland can scarcely be regarded as a Roman Catholic country inasmuch as, out of a population of six millions and a half, nearly one-third is Protestant.  To effect this result divers influences have contributed, prominent among which are the labors of “The Society for Irish Church Missions to the Roman Catholics,” organised in 1840, under the presidency of the Duke of Manchester.  This society has now 142 agents.  In the district of West Galway where in 1810 no 300 Protestants were to be found, there were, in May 1852 nearly 6,000 converts attending church services, while 3,500 children were taught in the bible schools.  In Dublin and various other places mentioned the missions and schools are prosperous. 

Journal of Commerce.

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