Black Prods, Beige Prods and little Papes

I grew up in Castlerea in north Roscommon within the Nineteen Fifties and Nineteen Sixties. It was mono-culturally Irish Catholic to an extant nearly inconceivable to think about now.

Fourth class. St Paul’s boys Nationwide Faculty, Castlerea, 1963. Chilblains.

We have been very tolerant of Protestants, although, as a result of there weren’t any. Of their absence we needed to dream them up. As I recall, within the Irish Catholic thoughts of that period there have been mainly two templates, the innocent ones, often on horseback, and Black Prods, typically discovered Up North. Solely the Black ones have been liable to chew.

What introduced this all to thoughts is a e-book I’ve simply completed, Reformation: Europe‘s Home Divided 1490-1700 (Penguin 2004), by Diarmud McCulloch. It’s an astonishing work, an in depth region-by-region, controversy-by-controversy account of how Europe (and Castlerea) divided into Papists, Beige Prods and Black Prods. The depth of my ignorance in regards to the Reformation was jaw-dropping. I think that was one of many goals of a standard Irish Catholic training.

As McCulloch tells it, Martin Luther’s unique rebel had as a lot to do with native German politics and questions of political authority as with theology. Lutheranism turned rooted in German-speaking areas of the Holy Roman Empire and in Scandinavia, in states the place native kings or prince-bishops supported it and made the clergy state workers. It retained a lot of the liturgical custom of the pre-Reformation Church.

John Calvin

The “Reformed” Church was very totally different. Following such leaders as John Calvin, it broke rather more utterly with the prevailing Church. Particularly it careworn predestination, the concept redemption is solely the reward of God and He (all the time a “He”) has chosen from the start of time those that will probably be saved. The “elect” can solely contaminate themselves by contact with the pre-damned majority, a notion that sits uneasily with the injunction to like thy neighbour, except after all you redefine “neighbour” to imply solely different members of the elect. To place it one other approach, the Black ones have been liable to chew.

In England, the break up from Rome was initially fully about political authority. Below the Tudors and the Stuarts, the Church of England (and Eire) developed right into a hybrid state church, retaining some points of Rome, bishops specifically. Therefore “Episcopalianism”, from episcopus, a bishop. Final energy derived from the monarch, although. To the Reformed, such a mash-up was anathema: Cromwell and the wars of the 1640s have been the result. The last word victory of the hybrid Anglican state church within the 1690s (after William of Orange invaded England) was defeat for the Reformed, regardless of the marching bands in Larne on July 12th would possibly proclaim.

Like all nice books, Reformation casts mild in all types of surprising areas. Negotiating with Northern Irish Unionists, principally Reformed Presbyterians, is certain to be tough. How can they compromise with the infectious damned? The identical custom of the elect closing themselves off with different like-minded elect would possibly clarify some a minimum of of Trump’s attraction to US evangelical Christians, in addition to their impermeability to political argument. Salvation trumps Democracy.

Anyway. A extra mundane motive for bringing all this up is to level you to a video on my YouTube channel outlining ways of accessing historic Irish Presbyterian records. As you would possibly count on, tough and awkward. However no biting.