CHAPTER IX. THE CHURCH IN IRELAND DURING THE REIGNS OF MARY AND ELIZABETH (1553-1603)

But the strong anti-Catholic policy of the new government soon made itself felt in England, and though the ministers were more guarded as far as Ireland was concerned, it was felt that something should be done there to lessen the influence of Rome. In the instructions issued to the Lord Deputy (July 1559) he was told that "the Deputy and Council shall set the service of Almighty God before their eyes, and the said Deputy and all others of that council, who be native born subjects of this realm of England, do use the rites and ceremonies which are by law appointed, at least in their own houses."[15] In the draft instructions as first prepared a further clause was added "that others native of that country be not otherwise moved to use the same than with their own contentment they shall be disposed, neither therein doth her Majesty mean to judge otherwise of them than well, and yet for the better example and edification of prayer in the Church, it shall be well done, if the said councillors being of that country born, shall at times convenient cause either in their own houses or in the churches the litany in the English tongue to be used with the reading of the epistle and gospel in the same tongue and the ten commandments."[16] Although Cecil struck out this clause with his own hand, it helps to show that the government feared to push things to extremes in Ireland.

On the return of the Earl of Sussex he paid the usual official visit in state to Christ's Church, where apparently the English Litany (probably that prescribed by Henry VIII.) was sung after the Mass. In connexion with this celebration a story was put in circulation by Robert Ware in 1683 that the clergy, dissatisfied with the change in liturgy, determined to have recourse to a disgraceful imposture to prevent further innovations. On the following Sunday when the Archbishop and Deputy assisted at Mass, one of their number having inserted a sponge soaked in blood into the head of the celebrated statue of the Redeemer, blood began to trickle over the face of the image. Suddenly during the service a cry was raised by the trickster and his associates, "Behold Our Saviour's image sweats blood." Several of the common people wondering at it, fell down with their beads in their hands, and prayed to the image, while Leigh who was guilty of the deception kept crying out all the time, "How can He choose but sweat blood whilst heresy is now come into the Church?" Amidst scenes of the greatest excitement the archbishop caused an examination to be made; the trick was discovered; Leigh and his accomplices were punished by being made "to stand upon a table with their legs and hands tied for three Sundays, with the crime written upon paper and pinned to their breasts"; and to complete the story, a recent writer adds, "the Protestants were triumphant, the Roman party confounded, and Curwen's orders to have the statue broken up were obeyed without demur."[17] Needless to say there is no foundation for such a tale. It first saw the light in that collection of gross inventions, The Hunting of the Romish Fox, published by Robert Ware in 1683, and is unsupported by any contemporary witnesses. It was not known to Sir Robert Ware, from whose papers the author pretended to borrow it; it was not known to Sir Dudley Loftus who devoted himself to the study of Irish history, and who, as nephew of Elizabeth's Archbishop of Dublin, would have had exceptional opportunities of learning the facts, nor was it known to Archbishop Parker, to whom, according to Ware, a full account was forwarded immediately.[18] The author of it was employed to stir up feeling in England and Ireland so as to prevent the accession of James II., and as a cover for his forgeries he pretended to be using the manuscripts of his father.