Dublin's Turbulent Priest: Cornelius Nary, 1658-1738

Dublin's Turbulent Priest: Cornelius Nary, 1658-1738

Authored by:

Patrick Fagan

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Cornelius Nary was known for having elegant manners but is remembered for creating turbulence, as this penetrating biography tells.Born in County Kildare and educated at the Irish College in Paris, Nary was a high-profile Catholic figure during the Penal Law period in early 18th century Ireland. As parish priest of St Michan's in Dublin for 40 years he stood as a public intellectual and campaigner. His controversial texts led him into a number of clashes with the Protestant hierarchy, and he caused ire in the Vatican. In 1702 he was imprisoned in Dublin Castle under Penal Law. His most influential publication was 'The Case of the Roman Catholics in Ireland' (1724), written in response to the oppressive Popery Bill. His 1718 Vulgate translation of the New Testament was the first complete English Catholic translation of the Bible. Cornelius Nary was hitherto neglected by modern historians, yet he was described by the historian Lecky as 'probably the ablest priest then living in Ireland'. This biography restores Nary to his rightful place, while enlightening the reader on the position of Catholics in 18th century Ireland.

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