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Irish Catholic Identities$
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Oliver P. Rafferty

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097317

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097317.001.0001

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The penal laws against Irish Catholics

The penal laws against Irish Catholics

were they too good for them?

(p.154) 9 The penal laws against Irish Catholics
Irish Catholic Identities

Thomas Bartlett

Manchester University Press

Was Catholic suffering under the penal laws the stuff of legend? What were the penal laws for, and were they implemented? More to the point, perhaps, is the question was the symbolic value of penal legislation more important in the construction of eighteenth and nineteenth-century identity than any disabilities that Catholics may actually have experienced in their implementation? These and related issues are explored in this chapter. The fact remains, however, that Catholic Ireland harboured profound grievances in connection with the penal code. This would condition the response of institutional Catholicism to subsequent laws, and made it difficult for churchmen to respond objectively to British attempts at remedial legislation in Ireland.

Keywords:   Penal-laws oppression grievances symbols myths

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