Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Reform, Revolution and Reaction: Archbishop John Thomas Troy and the Catholic Church in Ireland 1787-1817

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Reform, Revolution and Reaction: Archbishop John Thomas Troy and the Catholic Church in Ireland 1787-1817

Article excerpt

Reform, Revolution and Reaction: Archbishop John Thomas Troy and the Catholic Church in Ireland 1787-1817. By Vincent J. McNally. (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America. 1995. Pp. xi, 256. $36.50.) Some members of the nineteenth-century Irish episcopal bench are, in view of the sources relating to them, unlikely ever to attract a biographer. Regrettably even the great John MacHale is in this category. Others very worthy of attention, like Daniel Murray, have hitherto failed to find a biographer. Paul Cullen, treated by Desmond Bowen, found the wrong one and was unreasonably attacked. One, therefore, records some pleasure that Vincent McNally's doctoral research on John Thomas Troy has, at length, come to published form. Troy has certainly found a writer with that basic requirement of the biographer-a sympathy for his subject. Also in McNally's favor is the good use made of an extensive body of primary sources.

It is, in fact, the advantage which McNally has taken of the late eighteenthcentury increase in the volume of Irish Catholic archives which makes his book a very worthwhile read. Again and again, the work's dependence on manuscript sources produces the most interesting disclosures of the mind and circumstances of the Irish Church in Troy's era. Regrettably, however, while the listing of manuscript sources is impressive, that of modern printed sources is much less so. While there is a fine knowledge of the life of Troy and consequent sympathy for the man, there is far less knowledge of and sympathy for his times.

Troy's reign in Dublin coincided with the climax of the period of Britain's firmest adherence to Christian orthodoxy and monarchical principle since 1688. …

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