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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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Irish Catholic culture in the nineteenth century

Irish Catholic culture in the nineteenth century

a study in perjury

(p.171) 10 Irish Catholic culture in the nineteenth century
Irish Catholic Identities

Owen Dudley Edwards

Manchester University Press

The penal laws undoubtedly affected Catholic attitudes to all law in Ireland. This was particularly manifested in confrontation with agencies of legal enforcement, especially the courts. Despite the clear teaching of the church, and at times campaigns by reforming bishops, Irish Catholics found it difficult to see that there was an absolute obligation to tell the truth in forensic contexts. This gave ammunition to Protestant polemical propagandists and became the stuff of legend for Anglo-Irish writers in their observations of the Irish character. Given the eighteen-century Irish Catholic experience, Catholics subsequently seem to have lost their love of truth telling, since in some contexts truthfulness would ensure further persecution. At least according to William Carleton, falsehood was essential to the functioning of Irish peasant society.

Keywords:   truthfulness Irish-character courts perjury Carleton

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