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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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Henry Fitzsimon, the Irish Jesuits and Catholic identity in the early modern period

Henry Fitzsimon, the Irish Jesuits and Catholic identity in the early modern period

(p.110) 6 Henry Fitzsimon, the Irish Jesuits and Catholic identity in the early modern period
Irish Catholic Identities

Brian Jackson

Manchester University Press

The Jesuits as an instrument of the Counter-Reformation were established in Ireland in the late 1590s. Earlier missions had been something of a failure. Henry Fitzsimon who had entered the Jesuits in France, returned to Ireland as part of this renewed mission and was a typical product of Counter-Reformation mentality. A controversialist of the first order he engaged in religious disputes with among others the Protestant Archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher. He was one of a number of priests who gave to Irish Catholicism its sense of struggle against the forces of Protestantism. But he did so from the view-point of a product of the Old-English Pale, an outlook that sat uneasily with the attitudes of the ‘mere Irish’. Despite the hagiography of the persecuted priest in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and notwithstanding forced exile from the country, which he spent in the service of the Holy Roman Empire, Fitzsimon and many of his confreres lived lives of relative luxury and pursued scholarly and antiquarian interests.

Keywords:   Fiztsimon Jesuits controversies scholarship

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