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You have stated, that there is no sin for which a person cannot obtain absolution by repentance; would you extend that even to murder?-Undoubtedly; even in the established church a clergyman accompanies a murderer to the place of execution. • Do you speak of before or after trial ; do you mean, that before trial a person who confessed to his priest that he had committed the atrocious sin of murder, that before trial the priest, upon those conditions, would absolve him?-Undoubtedly; and if he be truly penitent, why not? will that injure the morality of society ? He is disposed to make restitution as far as he can, even with his life, if necessary, to offended justice, but he is not bound to denounce himself; but, in practice, murderers in the custody of the law are, I believe, seldom or never absolved until the eve of execution. By the discipline of our church every priest approved by the bishop, and licensed to hear confessions, has not the power of absolv. ing in all cases, there are a certain number of atrocious crimes that the bishop reserves to himself, and some of them are even reserved for the Pope; but in countries where access to the Pope's penitentiary would be too difficult, the power is delegated to the diocesan bishop, and the bishop can delegate the power to the priest under him, so that a person guilty of murder applying to me in my own parish for absolution, I cannot absolve him, I should refer him to the bishop: this is done in order to impress upon his mind the atrociousness of the crime, and in order to make him more sensible of the necessity of repentance, and in order to make the crime more horrible in his mind. There are many sins that are thus specjally reserved by the bishop, such as the sins of wilful perjury before a magistrate, or in courts of justice, or perjury generally, being engaged with any illegal associations; the atonement in the case of perjury would be, first, the atone, ment arising from the obligation of satisfying the ends of jus. tice ; if the perjurer had been the means of depriving his neighbour of his property or character unjustly, it would be enjoined on him to restore the ill-gotten property, or, if he had not got it himself, to compel the party who has got it to do it; if he was the cause of loss of life or limb, he was bound, as far as he could, to make adequate atonement to those concerned, then the atonement between himself and his God would be prayer, fasting, alms-deeds, and self-denial, practised in every way. : Would the atonement be a preliminary condition to absolution, or only a contingent condition ?--The atonement to justice must be preliminary, that must be satisfied in the first
instance; if any person comes and accuses himself of robbery, or fraud, he cannot receive absolution till he has made restitution, if he be able; if a person connected with an illegal association were to come to confession, he must withdraw himself from that association before he is absolved; I should also add, that all persons coming to confession, and professing to bring with them the necessary conditions, are not immediately absolved, they are deferred from time to time, according to the nature and enormity of their sins, until the confessor is satisfied of their being truly penitent.
What has been the feeling of Catholic priests in general, with respect to schools for the education of the lower classes; have they felt it consistent with their duties to encourage them, or have they felt any difficulty on that subject ? -Not the slightest difficulty, provided the mode of education were consistent with the principles of their religion ; on the contrary, we should all hail with gratitude those benefactors that would assist us in conveying moral instruction to the poor people.
Have the priesthood generally objected to schools, the object of which was merely to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, unless those schools conveyed moral and religious instruction, according to the form of the Catholic church? They have not objected to such schools; they would prefer schools in the way described, but as they cannot get them in that way, they would have no objection to the establishinent of schools that would give elementary instruction to the poor, it would enable the poor to acquire religious knowledge afterwards. :
Have they objected to the reading of the scriptures in those schools ?-_They have.
Is that an objection generally founded upon the principles. of the Catholic church, or does it arise from a particular view taken by individual priests?--It is an objection founded upon the discipline of the Catholic church, and partly their principles too ; I will state my reasons.
Will you state the extent to which their objection goes ? It is a principle with Catholics, that the right of private judgment in the interpretation of the scriptures must be excluded, and can never be admitted ; and therefore placing the scriptures in the hands of youth, unaccompanied with interpreta. . tion, or with the means of interpreting them according to the sense of the church, would in the mind of a Catholic, be laying a foundation for diversity of opinion in religious matters. Indeed the ultimate principle upon which Protestants differ from Catholics, is the right of private judgment allowed by
Protestants, and the exclusion of that right by the Catholics ; any principle that goes to establish the right of private opinion in matters of faith, instead of the public sense of the church, is a principle that Catholics cannot recognise ; putting the scriptures into the hands of uninstructed persons unaccompanied by interpretation, would, in the opinion of many Catholics, lead to establish that right of private opinion which they consider to be the root and fountain of all the sects that have appeared throughout the world.
Are there editions of the scriptures accompanied by any comments, the reading of which in schools is sanctioned by Catholic priests ?-Yes; the priests would be very glad to put the scriptures into the hands of their people generally, accompanied by the comments, or unaccompanied by the comment, if the people were prepared to receive them; but putting them into the hands of youth as school-books, they consider would make them too familiar with them, and tend to lessen the reverence due to them.
Is there any school with which you are connected, at Skibbereen?-Yes ; I have got a school under my own care.
How many children are there in that school ?-One hundred and fifty; the reason there are not more is, that the poor cannot spare their children. I suppose I would have five hundred children in the school, if I had the means of feeding them.
Is there a great anxiety on the part of the people in the country for education ?-A great anxiety.
What funds have you for that?-I pay the master 201. a. year, which I raise by a tax of two ten-pennies, which I lay upon the sponsors at each baptism; there are two sponsors at each baptism, and they each pay me a ten-penny; that does not make up the whole salary; I pay the rest out of my own pocket.
Is Reeves's History of the Bible used in that school ! It is.
What other books are used in the school ?-Chaloner's 66 Think well on't," and Fleury's Historical Catechism ; then there is Dr. England's System of Education for children, which consists of reading lessons, conveying moral and useful illustrations taken from sacred history, and a little natural history ; Murphy's Catholic Education, in three volumes. Those also contain moral instruction, and some inquiry into natural history, or pleasing and attractive stories that excite moral feelings, or convey some knowledge of arts and sciences.
Do you make use of the tablets, as they are called, published by the Kildare-street Society ?-I do not know whether
distinguish the preman.ca
they are the tablets of the Kildare-street Society, but we have tablets. · Is Dr. England a dignitary of the Roman Catholic church? -He is now bishop of Charlestown in America, but he was a distinguished clergyman in Cork.
Has not the great objection which has been made in some places by the Roman Catholic clergy against reading the scriptures, been principally against the introduction of the Bible in schools as a school book ?-Certainly, they consider it altogether an unfit book to be put into the hands of children.
Have you ever heard the Catholic clergy and the dignitaries of the Catholic church admitting the principle of reading in the school the gospel of the day, reserving to the priest, after school hours, the right of explaining that gospel to the chil, dren ?-I have heard, since I came to town, of such a thing ; but I did not know it till I came here. The bishops in the south are averse to any communication with the Kildare-street Society, because they conceive there is a latent purpose in the perseverance with which the Society adhere to the introduction of the scriptures into the schools ; they conceive there are ulterior views to Protestantism; and that it is now only laying the foundation of proselytism, expecting to get hereafter a hold on the minds of the people ; and therefore the bishops are adverse to any communication with the Kildare-street Saciety.
Have you seen any tract of that description put into circus lation in the south of Ireland ? (handing a tract to witness). I did not see this exactly, but I know there are many of that character in circulation. · What is the title of it! " Latin prayers, not fit for Irishmen.”
Do you think, that the circulation of tracts of that description amongst the Catholic peasantry has augmented their dislike to the reading of the scriptures ?-Undoubtedly it has ; they cannot distinguish the Kildare-street Society from the Hibernian Society, or the " Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,” the grand object of which societies is the proselyting of the Irish peasantry by educating them with Protestant masters and Protestant books.
Is it not the professed and declared object of some of those societies to make proselytes ?-It certainly is the object of the Hibernian society, and it is an avowed and known object of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. There is a school established upon that principle in my parish, and there was an attempt made to force the children of my parish to go to it, but the attempt failed.
Have you known any attempt made to carry the children to Protestant places of worship ? Yes. Some of the Catholic children attended it, and they were taken to church: in fact, the school is held in the church. There was another attempt in Bandon ; Catholic children were lured into the school by promises of clothing and food occasionally, and after being there some weeks or months, they were marched to the Protestant place of worship. I think it was a meeting-house, not the church.
In fact, has not the opposition which has been made by Ca. tholic priests to the establishment of schools in different parts of Ireland, been with a view of preventing this progress of making proselytes ? --Certainly, we should hajl education most çordially if it were given to us upon fair terms.
Do not you conceive, that it would have a very beneficial effect in Ireland if it were possible to educate the Protestants and Catholics among the peasantry in the same schools !--In many parts of Ireland that is impossible, because you would find no Protestants : if it were possible I do not know that it would have effect, either one way or the other. I do not think it would have any effect either good or bad.
Do not you think it might tend to do away the spirit of acrimony between the two sects ?-I do not think that will be ef, fectually done away by the common intercourse of life, if they were upon one common level in the eye of the law.
Do not you think it would be mainly accessory to such a happy effect, if the children of the two persuasions could be put together, and educated together, without causing jealousy on the part of the Catholic priesthood ?-I do not think it would have any material effect either for or against it altogether ; practically, the great bulk of children are educated together at the same schools: I myself was educated at the school of a Protestant minister.
The question refers to the peasantry of the country ?-Even those persons are educated together, for you will find Catholic children in the schools of Protestants, and Protestant children in the schools of Catholics.
Do not you think, that if the means of mixing them together could be found, that it would facilitate the means of education, and be a great encouragement to Catholics to contribute to those funds without fear or jealousy? I think it would be a desirable thing, but I do not think it would have the effect that is anticipated.
You have stated, that it being the doctrine of the Catholic