Letter from Fr. M. O'Flanagan to Hagan and Curran
Pontifical Irish College
Hagan, John, 1873-1930
Holograph letter from Fr. M. O’Flanagan, care of Fr. J. O’Sullivan, Priory Lodge, Hoddesden, Hertfordshire, (England), to Hagan and Curran. Asking them to use enclosed documents to present his case to a lawyer; uncertain about procedure following his letter of suspension from Bishop Coyne. Adding forwarding address to save Fr. O’Sullivan; the latter’s sister is married to Sceilg. Firstly, enclosing copy typescript letter signed by O’Flanagan (same origin) to ‘Monsignor’ [Hagan], formally requesting him to locate an expert advocate for his case; stating his unstudied opinion that his suspension is invalid and hoping for a way to allow him to say Mass. Secondly, enclosing copy typescript excerpts from correspondence between Bishop Coyne of Elphin, Sligo, and O’Flanagan, Dublin (17 October 1921-30 April 1925), with commentary: Coyne’s accusation of O’Flanagan’s having abandoned his mission, giving him freedom to work in America; the latter’s defence; the recent exchange resulting in Coyne’s suspension of faculties (as in his letter of 12 April) and adding four points as grounds for appeal – the acts alleged to have been crimes were ‘meritorious acts of virtue’, and the bishop has no right to act ‘ex informata conscientia’. Thirdly, enclosing copy typescript of his statement in reply to charges by his bishop (25 pages): sketching the historical relationship between England and Ireland, and the collusion with which the Irish bishops have met succeeding English governments, weaving in his bishop’s case against him from 1916 onwards. Listing instances when he took public part in election campaigns despite restrictions imposed by the bishop – ‘the English plotters evidently took it for granted that Bishop Coyne, with the help of Statute 397, would continue to act as their gaoler for me’. His suspension from the priesthood is later lifted by the Archbishop of Dublin in 1919. He remains active in politics, asked by Dáil Éireann to recite the opening prayer at their inaugural session, taking parts in election campaigns, and following President DeValera’s call to the United States: Bishop Coyne saw this as ‘an opportunity to get rid of a priest who had occasioned him some trouble’. Returning to Ireland for the March 1925-elections, in his speeches he ‘tried to undo some of the damage that had been done to Faith and Fatherland...especially during the past three years’. On offering to return to the mission in Elphin, the bishop suspended him again (same excerpts from correspondence as above); offering comprehensive defence on all the bishop’s accusations, pointing to his political bias and his ‘political allies, the non-Catholic Free-Masons of the Diocese’. Defending himself against severity in criticising the Holy Father- severity was only employed against the bishops. Defending his loyal adherence to the Catholic Church and pleading a case for faith and courage. His understanding of the English machinations in the war proved right. (Pencil marks underlining passages in third enclosure.) [17 October 1921- 4 May 1925]
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Is Part Of
The Papers of John Hagan (1904-1930)
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Letter from M. O'Flanagan to Hagan O'Flanagan, M.; Hagan, John, 1873-1930; DigitalGeorgetown; Pontifical Irish College (1919-11-24)