John Allen Fitzgerald Gregg
1873-1961; bishop of Ossory, later Archbishop of Dublin, 1920, and Primate of Ireland, 1939-59; made an official representation to Cosgrave and the Irish Govt., in 1922, asking if they wanted the Protestants to move out of Ireland completely; f. of Barbara Fitzgerald, novelist.
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Jack White, Minority Report: The Anatomy of the Southern Irish Protestant (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1975): John Gregg, who had become Archbishop of Dublin in 1920. represents in himself the dilemma of many Protestants confronted with the fact of the new state. By origins, by education, by conviction he was an establishment man to the core. When the Treaty separated Ireland from Britain he felt (in his daughters words) as if he had been banished from the Garden of Eden. Yet he had to make an attempt to assert some moral leadership of a community whose political leadership had evaporated. A week before the Treaty he had stated the claim of Southern Protestants to take some part in the negotiations (he was ignored by Lloyd George, who took a godly view of small battalions). [95; quotes Gregg as infra.] White continues: What Gregg had foreseen was that, while the official policies of the state might be beyond reproach, they might not be altogether consistent with the sentiment of the nation. By the 1920s Ireland was already weaving her national myth, using three main threads - the republican, the Catholic and the Gaelic. To each of these the Protestant ethos was alien. As the myth gained in strength it became more and more difficult to believe in a Protestant identity which was also Irish.
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Irish Anglican: The Church of Ireland is the most Irish thing there is in Ireland. It holds its apostolic ministry in unbroken descent from the Celtic bishops who succeeded Patrick. Further, The Church of Ireland, then, was the true Irish Church, descendant of the father of Irish Christianity. Today the Church of Ireland turns neither to Windsor nor to Rome for the appointment of its bishops. It is an Irish self-governing organisation, as free from the intervention of Britain or the Vatican as the Celtic church was in the days of Columba. (Quoted in William Bell & N. D. Edmerson, eds., The Church of Ireland AD 432-1932: Report of the Church of Ireland Conference Held in Dublin 11th-14th Oct. 1932, Dublin 1932, p.235; quoted in John McCafferty, St Patrick for the Church of Ireland: James Usshers Discourse, in Irish Studies Review, April 1998, p.87.)
Minority report: As a minority we differ from the majority in ethos, and although we are as truly Irish as many in the other camp, the differences are so marked as to cause us to seem alien in sympathy from the more extreme of our fellow-countrymen. ... Singularity is never popular. It arouses a certain jealousy, and very small occasions are sufficient to provoke antagonism. [...] Whatever our religious or political outlook may be, here is our home, and we have every right to be here. (Seaver, J. A. G. Gregg, p.116; quoted in Jack White, Minority Report: The Anatomy of the Southern Irish Protestant, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1975, Chap. 8: “Part and Parcel”, p.96.
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W. B. Yeatss Pref. to King of the Great Clock Tower contains an incidental reference to Gregg: An Irish poet during a country walk talked of the Church of Ireland, he had preferences for this or that preacher, Archbishop Greg[g] had pleased him by accepting certain recent decrees ... [&c.] (Cited in A. N. Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W. B. Yeats, 1984, p.350.)
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