Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Eire, The Church in.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

The apparently stubborn attachment of the Irish people to the Roman Church has its roots not only in geography - like Poland, Ireland lies on the fringe of European civilization and is largely sheltered from the stimulating clash of cultures which is the main principle of progress - but also in history. It was remote from the ferment of Reformation days, and the fact that England, which it had learned to hate, accepted Protestantism hardened its religious isolation and caused it to lend an ear, until the latter part of the nineteenth century, to the grossest clerical libels of Protestants. The spirit of the French Revolution naturally found a response in Dublin, and there was a considerable spread of Deistic scepticism. [See Emmet; Ensor O'Brien; O'Connor, etc.] The priests, however, continued to share both the patriotism (or hatred of England) and the ignorant and easy-going sensuousness of the people, and docility to Rome was preserved. In the latter part of the century the British Government repeatedly and secretly made agreements - the official life of Leo XIII, by Mgr. T'Serclaes (1894), describes this - with the ecclesiastical authorities and the Vatican, by which the people were checked in their revolt against Great Britain as payment for concessions to the Church; and this was facilitated by the inevitable poverty of the country, which has almost no mineral resources, and by the vast emigration. In 1801 the population of Ireland was 5,500,000, and by natural growth of population it ought now to be more than 20,000,000, mostly Catholics. The actual population of Eire is 2,965,854 (and 1,279,197 in Northern Ireland). The missing 16,000,000-for the Irish. birth-rate is high, the priests heavily condemning birth control - make up the bulk of the Roman Church in Great Britain, the United States, and Australia, and provide a rich world for the intrigues of local politicians and the Vatican.
      The bargains of Rome with the British authorities became clear to the Irish - compare Leo XIII's Encyclical Saepe Nos - and considerable anti-Roman feeling was roused; especially as the greatest of Irish leaders, Parnell, was A Protestant (or sceptic). But the clergy found it possible, on account of the isolation of Ireland, to retain control of the schools and keep the bulk of the people so backward that they could even dupe them with modern miracles. The Irish Times of July 24, 1938, published a letter by an esteemed parish priest, C. W. Corbett, stating that he had positively traced the supposed apparition of the Virgin at Knock, in 1879, to the trickery of a drunken rogue and had informed the Archbishop, who refused to move. He was induced to tell this in 1938 because there had recently been a fresh attempt to get up a new miraculous apparition with a lantern and slides, and the clergy (who had made large sums by Knock) supported it. With the opening of the present century discontent spread once more, Mr. Michael McCarthy's Priests and People in Ireland (1902), which exposed the extortions of the clergy, running to ten editions (72,000) copies). The Sinn Fein Movement was at first an anti-clerical, mainly middle-class, organization, which the Church captured, and the Irish Republican Army was in large part Atheistic. De Valera, an adventurous Irish-American, won power by truckling to the clergy, and in return for a mediaeval censorship and other repressive laws, the Vatican condemned the I.R.A. The Papacy, however, played a double game, as usual. The Irish Press tells in an editorial of May 26, 1933, that the plan of the Easter Rebellion against England (1916) was taken secretly beforehand to Rome to receive the Pope's blessing.
      There is a large amount of scepticism among the people to-day, the present writer is informed from Fire, but 3,000 priests, 563 monasteries and convents, and 349 schools conducted by nuns, form a powerful Fascist system. The hierarchy works with the English hierarchy, under control of the Vatican, and the 300,000 who have migrated to England in recent years - the Irish Times actually gave official Irish figures which were higher than those given in the House of Commons - swell the Catholic body in England and sustain the fiction of Catholic progress. The Freeman's Journal stated in 1902 that of 1,750,000 Catholics in Great Britain, only 100,000 were of English blood. It is much the same today. It is believed by many that one of the chief reasons why De Valera does not insist on complete independence is that the Church, fearing to check immigration to England and the employment of Irish in the British Civil Service (for which Irish colleges specially prepare youths), forbids it.
      Catholic literature boasts that Eire, being an almost purely Catholic country, exhibits the real influence of the Church in the exceptional chastity of Irish women. It would be singular if, when the men are drunken, quarrelsome, and hot-blooded above the average, and in view of the fact that pre-Christian Ireland was very licentious (see A. Nutt, Legends of the Holy Grail, 1902), this were true of the girls and women, but proof has been given repeatedly by exasperated English Roman Catholics that it has been the custom for decades to send pregnant Irish girls to Great Britain. Father Nugent, the famous Liverpool preacher and worker among the poor, said this emphatically (Catholic Times, July 16 and 23, 1897, and April 7, 1898). In the Scotsman (March 28, 1897) a Procurator Fiscal proved this for Glasgow, and the Tablet (Sept.30, 1911) gives Catholic proof of it for Newcastle. The general morals and insobriety of the Irish population of these cities supports the charge, but even the Irish dailies to-day show how hollow the boast of purity is. In an editorial of the Irish Times for June 12, 1937, entitled "Saints and Sinners," the boast was severely rebuked, and it was stated that at the current County Clare Assizes the Judge observed that, of eleven cases he had to try, seven were of indecent assault on girls under seventeen. In the article on the Cross it is explained that so little is Puritanism a tradition of Irish rural districts that the keystone of the door-arch of churches was, until the last century, often a very obscene carving of a woman, known as Sheila-na-gig. Hannay gives a photograph of one in his Sex and Symbolism in Religion, 2 vols., 1922, and the article "Phallicism," by Hartland, in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics tells the facts.


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