Peter Connolly

CommentaryQuotations

Life
[?]-1987; Fr. Peter R. Connolly]; Professor of English at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth.; ed. Papers of 1979 IASIL Conference at Maynooth as Literature and the Changing Ireland (1980); his own papers were edited by James H. Murphy, as No Bland Facility (1991).

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Works
Literature and the Changing Ireland (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980); his own papers collected in James H, Murphy, ed., No Bland Facility (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1991) [incl. ‘The Priest in Modern Irish Fiction’, pp.125-44; prev. pub. in The Furrow, IX, 12 (Dec. 1958), pp.782-98].

See also ‘Censorship’, in Christus Rex 13 (1959), pp.151-70, rep. in Banned in Ireland: Censorship & the Irish Writer, intro. & ed. Julia Carlson [for Article 19], with a preface by Kevin Boyle [Founder of Art. 19] (London: Routledge/US:Georgia UP 1990) [see extract].

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Criticism
See Louise Fuller, Irish Catholicism Since 1950: The Undoing of a Culture (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 2003), for frequent commendation of his criticism against theologically unsophisticated versions of Catholicism practised by Catholics in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Commentary
Brendan Hoban: ‘Fr Peter Connolly, Professor of English in Maynooth many years ago, once confided to a friend that, at some point in the future, the practice of the Catholic religion in Ireland could collapse suddenly. What was remarkable about this statement was that it was made in the 1960s, a time when the Catholic Church in Ireland was at the peak of its power and influence: over 90% attended church; seminaries were full; the credibility of bishops and clergy couldn't be higher; and so on. / When asked why he had arrived at what now seems an extraordinarily prescient and prophetic conclusion, Connolly replied that the Irish are not a sentimental people, 'once they find something is not useful, they abandon it.’ (See Pieces of My Mind, Banley House [Veritas] 2009; online at Catholic Ireland - accessed 16.10.2009.)

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Quotations

Censorship’, in Christus Rex 13 (1959), ‘[Ireland] should not be bereft of the salutary criticism of its own most passionately aware members … cynicism about the Act and contempt for Censorship in general.’ (pp.151-70; rep. in , rep. in Banned in Ireland: Censorship & the Irish Writer, intro. & ed. Julia Carlson [for Article 19], with a preface by Kevin Boyle [Founder of Art. 19] (London: Routledge/US:Georgia UP 1990), appendix.

The Priest in Modern Irish Fiction’, in The Furrow, IX, 12 (Dec. 1958), pp.782-98: ‘The keynote to the nature of the priest is that he is elusively two-fold. His secret is that of all the arcane professions. It is impossible to isolate, in any one of his acts, his personal from his professional elements. What the military academy does to the cadet, what the law schools do to the law student, the seminary does to the young cleric. Each one makes a sacrifice of his personal liberty, of the single-mindedness, or unity of his personality, in order to achieve the enlargement of power that comes with membership of a great professional caste. Because of this sacrifice one can never see the priest exclusively as a priest: his human personality is dedicated but not suppressed. But neither can we see him exclusively as a man: he has risen superior to normal human values, intercourse and sympathies. And he is cut off from the lay world by celibacy.’ (Q.p.; quoted in Patrick Sheeran, “The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Realism”, Ph.D., UCG 1972, p.

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