From The Irish People, August 20, 1864.
Dr. CULLEN has taken advantage of the “Feast of the Assumption” to write, as usual, a furlong or two of Pastoral, in which he is by no means sparing of invective, and misrepresentation of political opponents. He denounces the cheap literature of the day as “hostile to religion and morality,” in which he includes “some newspapers lately established in Ireland which, whilst pretending to be the organs of the Irish people, seem to have no other object but to vilify the Catholic Church, and to withdraw her people from its pale.” We quote the entire passage:
As publications, hostile to religion and morality, perverting the judgment by the falsest, but not unfrequently the most specious sophistry, whilst pretending to enlighten it, or influencing the passions by the most dangerous incentives to vice, whilst affecting to give a faithful picture of life and nature – form one of the most fatal and widely-diffused means employed by the demon for the destruction of souls, it will be the imperative duty both of parents and pastors to prevent, as far as their influence extends, the reading and circulation of such pernicious books. Novels, romances, several cheap English publications which appear in weekly numbers, and some newspapers lately established in Ireland, which, whilst pretending to be the organs of the Irish people, seem to have no other object but to vilify the Catholic Church, and to withdraw our people from its pale – all such publications offending against faith and morals, are calculated to do the greatest mischief, and ought to be cautiously avoided and severely condemned by all good Christians. The only protection against the poison they contain, is to banish them from every house, and to destroy them when they fall into your hands.
As we happen to be one of the journals lately established in Ireland, we feel bound to repel so gross a calumny. Perhaps the best way to do this is, to appeal to those who have read our journal from the first number, and to defy Dr. CULLEN to produce one ungarbled passage in support of his assertion. If Dr. CULLEN be unable to do this, the public well know, without any suggestion from us, how to estimate his future statements.
If faith and morals have been subverted in his diocese, let him charge it to his own imprudence, or attribute it to his own neglect. The doctrines which subverted the faith or debauched the morals of his flock were not taught in the columns of the IRISH PEOPLE. What we have taught, and what we shall continue to teach is, that Dr. CULLEN or any other ecclesiastic is not to be followed as a guide in political matters.
We have yet to learn what Dr. CULLEN did previous to the establishment of those journals “pretending to be organs of the Irish people” to limit the circulation in Ireland of publications really subversive of faith and morals. What steps did he take with reference to REYNOLDS’s publications, Family Heralds, Penny Despatches, and other cheap periodicals? We leave Harlots Progresses and horrible suicides to cheap English publications. We have no need of such heroes as those that disgrace these publications, and demoralise their readers. We find heroes enough, both lay and clerical, among the traitors to Ireland. Those we have unsparingly condemned. Is it by working on the extravagant fears of the people, and putting forth a farrago of folly and misrepresentation; defending one slander by another, that Dr.CULLEN expects to crush the cause of Ireland? Appeals to peoples’ feelings and prejudices are the last resort of a man who finds arguments fail him. Dr. CULLEN knows, that, though the IRISH PEOPLE should find no difficulty in refuting his statements, the poison of his pastoral is diffused through a thousand channels, through which the refutation can never enter.
In this quaint language of former times, “no wood comes amiss to make arrows for our destruction.” To crush the IRISH PEOPLE no means are unjust or ungentlemanly. In several instances the clergy have used intimidation with our agents, where they found arguments fail them. When have the clergy been known to do this, or where, with regard to “cheap English literature?” None of those English publications are so described in the last pastoral of Dr. CULLEN as to point them out to the public. They are merely used as a pretext, while the most stupid of his flock must see that he meant the IRISH PEOPLE by “some newspapers lately established in Ireland, which, whilst pretending to be the organs of the Irish people,” &c. Dr. CULLEN knows in his heart that his policy is hostile to the liberty of Ireland. He knows that plain statements, setting that policy before the public in its true light, must carry the conviction to the heart of every Irishman, that Dr. CULLEN may be the friend of religion, but that he is the deadly foe of IRISH LIBERTY.