Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

'Side by Side in a Small Country': Bishop John Frederick MacNeice and Ireland

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

'Side by Side in a Small Country': Bishop John Frederick MacNeice and Ireland

Article excerpt

CHRISTOPHER FAUSKE. 'Side by side in a small country': Bishop John Frederick MacNeice and Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Church of Ireland Publishing and the Church of Ireland Historical Society, 2004. Pp. 42, bibliography. £5.00 (paper).

Best known for being the father of the poet Louis MacNeice, Bishop John Frederick MacNeice emerges from this welcome study by Christopher Fauske as an interesting public figure in his own right. From his childhood experiences, Fauske suggests that MacNeice inherited a strong sense of principle and personal courage from his father (a school teacher with the Society for Irish Church Missions in the west of Ireland), but also a deep concern about community division. These traits were displayed while rector of St Nicholas's in Carrickfergus when he and four other Protestant ministers in the town refused to sign the Ulster Covenant of September 1912 which committed Ulster Protestants to defend the union with Great Britain at all costs. In terms of his ideas, Fauske signals MacNeice's commitment to a socially engaged Christianity reminiscent of William Temple. The pamphlet ends with a rather one-sided examination of the relationship between MacNeice and his poet son, and one would have liked more on how the elder MacNeice appreciated his son's sense of calling and his overt atheism. …

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