Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dialogue on Sheol / Hades (Limbo of the Fathers) and Luke 16 Rich Man and Lazarus) with a Baptist (vs. "Grubb")

By Dave Armstrong (2-28-08)

This was from an exchange in one of my comboxes (oddly enough under a post about spanking). Grubb's words will be in blue. The first comment I responded to (in green) was from fellow Catholic Keith Rickert, Jr.

* * * * *

How did God ultimately deal with the rebellion of his children? Did He give us some sort of cosmic spanking? Quite the opposite. He lowered himself. He appealed to our hearts, He tried to win them over through love. He lowered himself to become one of us. Even then he didn't take to the streets telling people how wrong they were. Instead he went about healing people infirmities. He served us. Gave himself to us. Washed our feet. Then He gave up his life for us.

I'm surprised you would make this argument. Surely you know how God dealt with His rebellious children throughout the Old Testament. When Adam and Eve rebelled, they were kicked out of the garden. When the Jews rebelled in the wilderness under Moses, God judged and killed thousands of them on the spot. When the Jews rebelled over and over again with idolatry, they would often lose battles, because God wasn't with them. Saul and his army (including Jonathan) went down this way.

After a number of bad kings, God used Nechuchadnezzar and the Babylonians to defeat Israel, destroy the temple, and lead the Jews away into captivity for over 100 years. When the Jews rejected Jesus, the Romans came in and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple once again, in 70 A.D.

The point is that, in cases of wanton rebellion and "not listening", God would be harsh. In the OT period, this was the equivalent of the Jews being (spiritually) "children." God was trying to get through to them the basic notion of obeying a fundamentally superior Being and Creator. So He was relatively more harsh, because that was all they could relate to at that primitive stage. God loved them the whole time. Even His judgments were an act of love. You see the analogy, I trust, by now . . .

Once Jesus and the New Covenant came, then God could exercise much more outward mercy and love and tenderness than before. But there is still a strong motif of "chastisement" in the NT, as I have shown. Indeed, purgatory itself is another analogy. Because we won't be obedient we have to learn the hard way, and so we will have to suffer again before we can go to heaven.

Of course, if you want to go the Protestant route, where everything is all warm fuzzies and peaches and cream when you die, and you go right to the throne of God the Father, like Jesus did, then that would be the analogy there. No spanking; just pure mercy. But we believe that when we are again "infants" in terms of entering heaven, there will have to be some suffering to be endured first.

I agree with most of your comment Dave. Obviously I disagree with the "Protestant route" portion. Setting aside purgatory, God says in multiple places in the NT that true followers who are disobedient get disciplined. Heb 12:6-7 says, "because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline, God is treating you as sons, for what son is not disciplined by his father?" That's not to say every hardship is the result of disobedience, but I bet if each of us was honest about it, we'd agree that we have far less hardships (aka discipline) than we have disobedient actions.

He also says in Rev 3:19, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent." God indicates in multiple places that we'll be rebuked and disciplined by Him while we're on earth.

There are no CLEAR indications in the Bible that we'll be punished after we die.

What do you do with 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, then? For that matter, Luke 16 and the "parable" of the rich man and Lazarus is quite clear. He died (16:22) and then was "in anguish in this flame" (16:24). 1 Corinthians 3:15 also mentions a (non-hell) fire or something akin to it: "he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." So that's two passages I would say are quite clear enough.

[Grubb then provided exegesis for 1 Corinthians 3, but I replied: " I don't have time to get into purgatory and 1 Cor 3, but I'll do Luke 16 with ya" -- he had exegeted that passage too]

The story of Lazarus:
Luke 16:22, "The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,"
Why wasn't the poor man carried to purgatory first? It appears he went straight to heaven.

Nope; this is Hades, or the Limbo of the Fathers. It clearly says so in 16:23. It's neither heaven nor hell. So it proves that there is such a thing as a third state after death and thus indirectly touches upon purgatory as a possibility of another "third state."
Luke 16:23, "and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side."
Hades = Hell not purgatory.

It's not hell. The word for hell in Greek is Gehenna. This is Sheol / Hades.

Can those in hell really see and speak with those in heaven?

No. That's why this isn't referring to hell and heaven. The rich man may end up in hell. We don't know. But we know he's not in hell here because he still has charity towards his brothers.

This leads us to believe it's a parable rather than a true story.

It's called a parable, but it really isn't. It isn't introduced as such, and reads like true history. But even if it were a parable, Jesus couldn't include false categories in it, because that would mislead His hearers.

Sounds more like the great divide between heaven and hell than a temporary cleansing doesn't it?

It's the divide between the wicked and the righteous in Hades.

Not really sure how this supports purgatory at all. It's certainly not crystal clear in doing so.

I didn't say it directly supported purgatory. You forget what I am responding to. This was in reply to your claim that there is no biblical indication of punishment after death. I showed you this passage which is indeed a clear instance of that. The argument for purgatory is more involved. I give many biblical arguments for that in my first book. I'll send an e-book copy to you for free if you want one.

I can see how I Cor 3 might be interpreted to support the idea of purgatory, but Luke 16 doesn't even come close as near as I can tell. My point wasn't that there's no scripture that can be used to support the idea of purgatory but that it's not clear and irrefutable. I still stand by that.

You wrote:

God indicates in multiple places that we'll be rebuked and disciplined by Him while we're on earth. There are no CLEAR indications in the Bible that we'll be punished after we die.
I have shown that Luke 16 fits this category perfectly. You haven't overcome that. You've only shown that you are confused about the various biblical categories of the afterlife.

I've already sparred with Bishop James White on 1 Corinthians 3 and purgatory, which is one reason I don't want to spend more time on that passage.

Thanks for responding. I'll do some checking on your points and hope to respond later today or Monday. I know you've already discussed this at length, and re-discussing something over and over (even with a different person) can get old and monotonous. Maybe I'll post my reply here and in the open forum to see if anyone else wants to discuss it. Actually, you didn't address one of my best points. It says that Lazarus was carried directly to Abraham's side. Why didn't he go to Sheol for a brief cleansing?

Abraham and Lazarus and the rich man were all in Sheol. The Jews believed (and Jesus agrees by virtue of this story) that Sheol / Hades had a divide between the righteous and the wicked. Christians believe that Jesus went and "rescued" these people after His death (see Eph. 4:8-10; 1 Pet 3:19-20). The reprobate in Hades eventually are sentenced to hell (Rev 20:13-15).

Plus Abraham said no one could go from here to there or there to here, but one WOULD go from purgatory to heaven after being purified.

That was the nature of Sheol / Hades, as determined by God. It is analogous to purgatory mainly insofar as it is a third state after death that is neither heaven nor hell, but which has foreshadowings of both, as we see in Luke 16.

If Sheol is a temporary stopping point that leads to heaven, Abraham lied; but we both know Abraham wouldn't lie.

I don't see why you would have to think anyone lied. Again, you need to become more acquainted with the doctrine of Hades in Scripture. It's a fascinating topic, for sure.

Here is a Protestant page that talks about Hades and takes essentially the same position I have; and another, that is virtually identical with what I have argued in this discussion. I was making these arguments 25 years ago in debating Jehovah's Witnesses, as a Protestant, and opposing their doctrines of annihilationism and soul sleep. It's not just an argument used by Catholics. It's an exegetical biblical argument that anyone can make.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Biblical Evidence for Purgatory: 25 Bible Passages

By Dave Armstrong (2-27-08; all book material from 1996)

[from my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, pp. 123-145. The introductory material of the chapter (definitions) is omitted; also a few quotations. Footnoting numbers are from my original manuscript and differ from the present Sophia edition. All Bible passages are from RSV]

Psalm 66:12 Thou didst let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet thou hast brought us forth to a spacious place.
This verse was considered a proof of purgatory by Origen [4] and St. Ambrose, [5] who posits the water of baptism and the fire of purgatory.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Isaiah 4:4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. (see also Isaiah 1:25-26)

St. Francis de Sales, the great Catholic apologist of the 16th century, commented on this verse as follows:

This purgation made in the spirit of judgment and of burning is understood of Purgatory by St. Augustine, in the 20th Book of the City of God, chapter 25. And in fact this interpretation is favoured by the words preceding, in which mention is made of the salvation of men, and also by the end of the chapter, where the repose of the blessed is spoken of; wherefore that which is said -- "the Lord shall wash away the filth" -- is to be understood of the purgation necessary for this salvation. And since it is said that this purgation is to be made in the spirit of heat and of burning, it cannot well be understood save of Purgatory and its fire. [6].

Isaiah 6:5-7 And I said: "Woe is me! for I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven."

This passage is a noteworthy example of what happens when men experience God's presence directly. An immediate recognition of one's own unholiness occurs, along with the corresponding feeling of inadequacy. Like Isaiah, we must all undergo a self-conscious and voluntary purging upon approaching God more closely than in this present life.

Few doctrines are clearer in Scripture than the necessity of absolute holiness in order to enter heaven. On this, Protestants and Catholics are in total agreement. Therefore, the fundamental disagreement on this subject is: how long does this purification upon death take? Certainly, it cannot be logically denied as a possibility that this purging might involve duration.

4 Homily 25 on Numbers.
5 In Ps. 36; Sermon 3 on Ps. 118.
6 St. Francis de Sales, The Catholic Controversy (CON), tr. Henry B. Mackey, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1989 (orig. 1596), 358 (Part 3, Article 2: "Purgatory").

Micah 7:8-9 Rejoice not over me, O mine enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I shall behold his deliverance. (see also Leviticus 26:41,43, Job 40:4-5, Lamentations 3:39)

St. Jerome (d.420) considered this a clear proof of purgatory. [7]

Malachi 3:2-4 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

7 Ibid., 358.
St. Francis de Sales recounts the patristic views on this passage:
This place is expounded of a purifying punishment by Origen (Hom. 6 on Exodus), St. Ambrose (On Ps 36), St. Augustine (City of God, Bk. 20, ch. 25), and St. Jerome (on this place). We are quite aware that they understand it of a purgation which will be at the end of the world by the general fire and conflagration, in which will be purged away the remains of the sins of those who will be found alive; but we still are able to draw from this a good argument for our Purgatory. For if persons at that time have need of purgation before receiving the effects of the benediction of the supreme Judge, why shall not those also have need of it who die before that time, since some of these may be found at death to have remains of their imperfections . . . St. Irenaeus in this connection, in chapter 29 of Book V, says that because the militant Church is then to mount up to the heavenly palace of the Spouse, and will no longer have time for purgation, her faults and stains will there and then be purged away by this fire which will precede the judgment. [9]

2 Maccabees 12:39-42,44-45 . . . Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen . . . Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear . . . So they all . . . turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out . . . For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

The Jews offered atonement and prayer for their deceased brethren, who had clearly violated Mosaic Law. Such a practice presupposes purgatory, since those in heaven wouldn't need any help, and those in hell are beyond it. The Jewish people, therefore, believed in prayer for the dead (whether or not this book is scriptural -- Protestants deny that it is). Jesus Christ did not correct this belief, as He surely would have done if it were erroneous (see Matthew 5:22,25-26, 12:32, Luke 12:58-59, 16:9,19-31 below). When our Lord and Savior talks about the afterlife, He never denies the fact that there is a third state, and the overall evidence of His utterances in this regard strongly indicates that He accepted the existence of purgatory.

Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, "You fool!" shall be liable to the hell of fire.

St. Francis de Sales elucidates the implications of this statement of Christ:

It is only the third sort of offence which is punished with hell; therefore in the judgment of God after this life there are other pains which are not eternal or infernal, -- these are the pains of Purgatory. One may say that the pains will be suffered in this world; but St. Augustine and the other Fathers understand them for the other world. And again may it not be that a man should die on the first or second offence which is spoken here? And when will such a one pay the penalty due to his offence? . . . Do then as the ancient Fathers did, and say that there is a place where they will be purified, and then they will go to heaven above. [10]

9 St. Francis de Sales, CON, 359-360.
10 Ibid., 373-374.

Matthew 5:25-26 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny. (see also Luke 12:58-59)

St. Francis de Sales:

Origen, St. Cyprian, St. Hilary, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine say that the way which is meant in the whilst thou art in the way [while you are going with him to court] is no other than the passage of the present life: the adversary [accuser] will be our own conscience, . . . as St. Ambrose expounds, and Bede, St. Augustine, St. Gregory [the Great], and St. Bernard. Lastly, the judge is without doubt Our Lord . . . The prison, again, is . . . the place of punishment in the other world, in which, as in a large jail, there are many buildings; one for those who are damned, which is as it were for criminals, the other for those in Purgatory, which is as it were for debt. The farthing, [penny] . . . are little sins and infirmities, as the farthing is the smallest money one can owe.

Now let us consider a little where this repayment . . . is to be made. And we find from most ancient Fathers that it is in Purgatory: Tertullian, [11] Cyprian, [12] Origen, [13] . . . St. Ambrose, [14] St. Jerome [15] . . . Who sees not that in St. Luke the comparison is drawn, not from a murderer or some criminal, who can have no hope of escape, but from a debtor who is thrown into prison till payment, and when this is made is at once let out? This then is the meaning of Our Lord, that whilst we are in this world we should try by penitence and its fruits to pay, according to the power which we have by the blood of the Redeemer, the penalty to which our sins have subjected us; since if we wait till death we shall not have such good terms in Purgatory, when we shall be treated with severity of justice. [16]

Matthew 12:32 And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

If sins can be pardoned in the "age to come" (the afterlife), again, in the nature of things, this must be in purgatory. We would laugh at a man who said that he would not marry in this world or the next (as if he could in the next -- see Mark 12:25). If this sin cannot be forgiven after death, it follows that there are others which can be. Accordingly, this interpretation was held by St. Augustine, [17] St. Gregory the Great, [18] Bede, [19] and St. Bernard, [20] among others.

11 The Soul, 100,10.
12 Epistle 4,2.

13 Homily 35 on Luke 12.

14 Commentary on Luke 12.

15 Commentary on Matthew 5.

St. Francis de Sales,CON, 372-373.

17 City of God, 21:24.
18 Dialogues, 4,39.
19 Commentary on Mark 3.
20 Homily 66 in Cant.

Luke 16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations. (read Luke 16:1-13 for the context)

St. Francis de Sales

To fail, -- what is it but to die? -- and the friends, -- who are they but the Saints? The interpreters all understand it so; whence two things follow, -- that the Saints can help men departed, and that the departed can be helped by the Saints . . . Thus is this passage expounded by St. Ambrose, and by St. Augustine. [21] But the parable Our Lord is using is too clear to allow us any doubt of this interpretation; for the similitude is taken from a steward who, being dismissed from his office and reduced to poverty [16:2], begged help from his friends, and Our Lord likens the dismissal unto death, and the help begged from friends unto the help one receives after death from those to whom one has given alms. This help cannot be received by those who are in Paradise or in hell; it is then by those who are in Purgatory. [22]

Luke 16:19-31 There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; . . . the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, "Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame." But Abraham said, "Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us." And he said, "Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment." But Abraham said, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." And he said, "No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent." He said to him, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead."

Zechariah 9:11 As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your captives free from the waterless pit.

Ephesians 4:8-10 . . . "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." (In saying, "he ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

1 Peter 3:19-20 . . . he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. (see also 4:6)

21 City of God, 12:27.

22 St. Francis de Sales, CON, 374-375.

Catholic commentator George Leo Haydock states:

Abraham's bosom -- The place of rest, where the souls of the saints resided, till Christ had opened heaven by his death . . . The bosom of Abraham (the common Father of all the faithful) was the place where the souls of the saints, and departed patriarchs, waited the arrival of their Deliverer. It was thither that Jesus went after his death; as it is said in the Creed, he descended into hell, to deliver those who were detained there, and who might at Christ's ascension enter into heaven (see 1 Peter 3:19, Matthew 8:11) . . .

[on 1 Peter 3:19-20]: These spirits in prison, to whom Christ went to preach after his death, were not in heaven, nor yet in the hell of the damned; because heaven is no prison, and Christ did not go to preach to the damned . . . In this prison souls would not be detained unless they were indebted to divine justice, nor would salvation be preached to them unless they were in a state that was capable of receiving salvation. [23]

At the very least, these passages prove that there can and does exist a third (and intermediate) state after death besides heaven and hell. Thus, purgatory is not a priori unthinkable from a biblical perspective (as many Protestants casually assume). True, the Hebrew Sheol (Greek Hades -- netherworld) is not absolutely identical to purgatory (both righteous and unrighteous go there), but it is nevertheless strikingly similar. Sheol is referred to frequently throughout the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 32:22, 2 Samuel 22:6, Psalm 16:10, 18:5, 55:15, 86:13, 116:3, 139:8, Proverbs 9:18, 23:14, Isaiah 5:14, 14:9,15, Ezekiel 31:16-17, 32:21,27). In Jewish apocalyptic literature (in the few hundred years before Christ), the notion of divisions in Sheol is found (for instance, in Enoch 22:1-14).

The Christian hell is equivalent to the New Testament Gehenna or "Lake of Fire". Gehenna was literally the burning ash-heap outside Jerusalem, and was used as the name for hell by Christ (Matthew 5:22,29-30, 10:28, 18:9, 23:15,33, Mark 9:43,45,47, Luke 12:5 -- cf. James 3:6). "Lake of fire" occurs only in Revelation as a chilling description of the horrors of hell into which the damned would be thrown (Revelation 19:20, 20:10,14-15, 21:8).

We know from Scripture that a few Old Testament saints went to heaven before Christ went to Sheol and led (presumably) the majority of the pre-Christian righteous there (Ephesians 4:8-10 and 1 Peter 3:19-20). Elijah went straight to heaven by a whirlwind, as we are informed in 2 Kings 2:11. It is also generally thought by all sides that Enoch went directly to heaven as well (Genesis 5:24). Moses came with Elijah to the Mount of Transfiguration to talk with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-3, Mark 9:4, Luke 9:30-31). By implication, then, it could be held that he, too, had been in heaven, and by further logical inference, other Old Testament saintly figures.

It follows that, even before Christ, there was a "two-tiered" afterlife for the righteous: some, such as Elijah, Enoch and likely Moses and others, went to heaven, whereas a second, larger group went temporarily to Sheol. Likewise, now the elect of God can go straight to heaven if sufficiently holy, or to purgatory as a necessary stopping-point in order to attain to the proper sanctity becoming of inhabitants of heavenly glory. Therefore, it is neither true that all righteous dead before Christ went solely to Sheol, nor that all after His Resurrection went, and go, to heaven. On the other hand, the reprobate dead in Sheol (or Hades) eventually are sentenced to hell (Revelation 20:13-15).
John Henry Cardinal Newman comments:

Our Saviour, as we suppose, did not go to the abyss assigned to the fallen Angels, but to those mysterious mansions where the souls of all men await the judgment. That He went to the abode of blessed spirits is evident, from His words addressed to the robber on the cross, when He also called it Paradise; that He went to some other place besides Paradise may be conjectured from St. Peter's saying, He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient (1 Peter 3:19-20). The circumstances then that these two abodes of disembodied good and bad, are called by one name, Hades, . . . seems clearly to show that Paradise is not the same as Heaven, but a resting-place at the foot of it. Let it be further remarked, that Samuel, when brought from the dead, in the witch's cavern, said Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? (1 Samuel 28:15), words which would seem quite inconsistent with his being then already in Heaven. [24]

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble - each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

This is a clear and obvious allusion to purgatory, or at least, even for the most skeptical person, something exceedingly similar to it. Thus thought the Fathers, such as St. Cyprian, [25] St. Ambrose, [26] St. Jerome, [27] St. Gregory the Great, [28] Origen, [29] and St. Augustine:

Lord, rebuke me not in Your indignation, nor correct me in Your anger [Psalm 38:1]. . . . In this life may You cleanse me and make me such that I have no need of the corrective fire, which is for those who are saved, but as if by fire . . . For it is said: He shall be saved, but as if by fire [1 Corinthians 3:15]. And because it is said that he shall be saved, little is thought of that fire. Yet plainly, though we be saved by fire, that fire will be more severe than anything a man can suffer in this life. [30]

St. Francis de Sales observes:

The Apostle uses two similitudes. The first is of an architect who with solid materials builds a valuable house on a rock: the second is of one who on the same foundation erects a house of boards, reeds, straw. Let us now imagine that a fire breaks out in both the houses. That which is of solid material will be out of danger, and the other will be burnt to ashes. And if the architect be in the first he will be whole and safe; if he be in the second, he must, if he would escape, rush through fire and flame, and shall be saved yet so that he will bear the marks of having been in fire . . . The fire by which the architect is saved can only be understood of the fire of Purgatory . . . . . .

When he . . . speaks of him who has built on the foundation, wood, straw, stubble, he shows that he is not speaking of the fire which will precede the day of judgment, since by this will pass not only those who have built with these light materials, but also those who shall have built in gold, silver, etc. All this interpretation, besides that it agrees very well with the text, is also most authentic, as having been followed with common consent by the ancient Fathers. [31]

1 Corinthians 15:29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

St. Francis de Sales:

This passage properly understood evidently shows that it was the custom of the primitive Church to watch, pray, fast, for the souls of the departed. For, firstly, in the Scriptures to be baptized is often taken for afflictions and penances; as in Luke 12:50 . . . and in St. Mark 10:38-9 . . . -- in which places Our Lord calls pains and afflictions baptism [cf. Matthew 3:11, 20:22-3, Luke 3:16].

This then is the sense of that Scripture: if the dead rise not again, what is the use of mortifying and afflicting oneself, of praying and fasting for the dead? And indeed this sentence of St. Paul resembles that of 2 Maccabees 12:44 [cited above]: It is superfluous and vain to pray for the dead if the dead rise not again. . . . Now it was not for those in Paradise [heaven], who had no need of it, nor for those in hell, who could get no benefit from it; it was, then, for those in Purgatory. Thus did St. Ephraim [d.373] expound it. [32]

The "penance" interpretation is supported contextually by the next three verses, where the Apostle speaks of being in peril every hour, and dying every day. St. Paul certainly doesn't condemn the practice, whatever it is (his question being merely rhetorical). Given these facts, and the striking resemblance to 2 Maccabees 12:44, the traditional Catholic interpretation seems the most plausible.
In any event, Protestants are at almost a complete loss in coherently explaining this verse -- one of the most difficult in the New Testament for them to interpret. It simply does not comport with their theology, which utterly disallows any penitential or prayerful efforts on behalf of the deceased.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.

Our sins are judged here rather than forgiven, and this takes place in the next life. The standard Protestant theology of the judgment seat of Christ is not dissimilar to the notion of the chastising purifications of purgatory. There is a direct relation between judgment and the purging of sin. We are punished, in some fashion -- or so St. Paul tells us in this verse -- for evil deeds done. The pains of purgatory are roughly identical, or else highly akin, to this punishment, since they are the taking away of those sinful habits, tendencies, and affinities to which we have become attached. Conversely, we are rewarded for good deeds. As there are differential rewards for righteousness, so there are differential sufferings in purgatory for unrighteousness, so that a certain parallelism exists between the two concepts.

This passage is a sort of liaison between the theological categories justification and purgatory (and penance) -- the former being the "positive" establishment of sanctity, and the latter being the "negative" removal of unholiness. This congruity between reward and punishment is even more clearly seen in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 above, where St. Paul freely intermingles rewards and punishments, in the context of purgatorial fire. Given the obvious affinity of that passage with this one, each can be legitimately interpreted in light of the other. In doing so, the Catholic interpretation, with its distinctive understanding of faith and works, penance and purgatory, is more satisfactory exegetically than the usual Protestant interpretations, which are uncomfortable, by and large, with differential rewards and punishments (seeing these as somewhat incompatible with faith alone).

2 Corinthians 7:1 . . . let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God. (see also 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 4:7)

Here is a description of that analogous process of sanctification in this life which will be greatly intensified and made completely efficacious in the next, in purgatory.

Philippians 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Revelation 5:3,13 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. . . . And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, "To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever!"

If God refuses to receive prayer, praise and worship from the unrepentant sinner (Psalm 66:18, Proverbs 1:28-30, Isaiah 1:15, 59:2, Jeremiah 6:20, Amos 5:21-24, Micah 3:4, Malachi 1:10, John 9:31, Hebrews 10:38), why would He permit the damned to undertake this practice?
Furthermore, if God does not compel human beings to follow Him and to enjoy His presence for eternity contrary to their free will, then it seems that He would not -- as far as we can tell from Scripture -- compel them to praise Him, as this would be meaningless, if not repulsive.

Therefore, "under the earth" must refer to purgatory. Revelation 5:13 especially makes sense under this interpretation, as the praise spoken there does not in any way appear forced, but rather, heartfelt and seemingly spontaneous (which would not be at all expected of persons eternally consigned to hell -- see Matthew 8:29, Luke 4:34, 8:28, James 2:19).

Some Protestant commentators readily admit that "under the earth" is a reference to those in Sheol or Hades. Granting this interpretation for the sake of argument, most Protestants would presumably regard Hades in this instance (after Christ's death -- see Revelation 5:12) as simply the "holding tank" for those ultimately destined for hell (the elect having been taken to heaven by Christ). But this leads straight back to the exegetical problem of God neither desiring nor accepting such praise from even the obstinate sinner, let alone the damned.

The acceptance of a third, intermediate state in the afterlife for the righteous as well as the reprobate, even after Christ's Resurrection, is a seriously troublesome position if one holds to the tenets of mainstream Reformational eschatological theology. For -- given the Protestant view on justification -- why would (or should) there be any second state for the "saved" once the road to heaven was paved by Christ? This state of affairs leads inexorably to considerations of differential merit and reward, such that a whole class is relegated to continued separation from Christ in some partial sense, and by implication, punishment, since these children of God have not yet attained to full union with God in eternal happiness and bliss.

Once it is conceded that (dead) righteous men praise God from "under the earth," the standard Protestant position of all the saved "going straight to heaven at death" crumbles, for the simple reason that this group is contrasted with those in heaven. Furthermore, a position that "under the earth" refers metaphorically to merely all dead righteous (who, according to Protestantism are in heaven), makes the phraseology of Philippians 2:10 and Revelation 5:3,13 absurdly redundant, since St. Paul and St. John would be saying, "Those in heaven, and on earth, and in heaven . . . ."

Again, the only reasonable alternate interpretation, given all the above data, is to posit the existence of purgatory, from which praise to God emanates -- it being that portion of the Church stationed for a time in the portico of heaven, so to speak.

2 Timothy 1:16-18 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me -- may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day -- and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

Onesiphorus appears to be dead at the time St. Paul writes this letter to Timothy. If that is true, then Paul is praying for the dead. One well-known Protestant commentary [33] admits that Onesiphorus is likely dead, citing the cross-reference of 2 Timothy 4:19, yet takes the remarkably incoherent position that St. Paul is praying for his conduct in life and reward at the Judgment. Thus, the admitted prayer (1:18), since it supposedly refers to the earthly life of the intended recipient, somehow thereby ceases to be a prayer for the dead even though it is pleading for mercy on the Day of Judgment for one who has indeed departed!

Now, of course, St. Paul could also pray for a living person to be recompensed justly by God, but this is missing the point, and is an example of the classic logical fallacy of proposing a "distinction without a difference." For what distinguishes prayers for a living or a dead man, where the final Judgment is concerned?

Protestants say that it is impermissible to pray for the dead on this score since their fate is already sealed and it will be to no avail. The error here lies in the fact that the person's fate had always been known (God being omniscient and out of time, foreordaining in a mysterious way the beginning and end of all things). In both cases our knowledge is paltry and altogether insufficient as to the person's destiny. We pray out of charity (or, "desire," as it were), and because we are commanded to, having been assured by the inspired biblical revelation that it has an effect.

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary, another respected evangelical reference, takes a different position: "His household would hardly retain his name after the master was dead . . . Nowhere has Paul prayers for the dead, which is fatal to the theory . . . that he was dead." [34]
But Word Pictures in the New Testament, a six-volume linguistic commentary by the great Greek scholar A.T. Robertson, states: "Apparently Onesiphorus is now dead as is implied by the wish in 1:18." [35]

On the face of it, why couldn't St. Paul be referring to the house of Onesiphorus in the same sense in which we speak of a deceased person's "surviving wife and children?" His statement in 1:18 is similar to our spontaneous utterances at funerals, such as "May God rest his soul," etc. (sometimes spoken or thought despite theologies to the contrary). And if Paul is "wishing" for benefits for the soul of a dead man, as Robertson holds, how is this essentially any different from praying for the dead?

To conclude, of the three prominent evangelical Protestant commentaries surveyed, two hold that St. Paul is "praying," and one that he is "wishing." Two conclude that Onesiphorus is probably dead, with a third denying this. It might be supposed with good reason that if reputable, scholarly Protestant commentators are more or less forced into (for them) uncomfortable positions due to the inescapable clarity of a text, perhaps the Catholic interpretation is the best one, as it requires no unnatural straining. All that is necessary is the willingness to accept the practice of prayers for the dead, for which there is ample scriptural warrant, Jewish precedent, and abundant support in the early Christian Church, as will be demonstrated subsequently.

Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (see also 12:1,5-11,15,23, Ephesians 5:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:3 1 John 3:2-3)

John Henry Cardinal Newman writes:

The truth itself is declared in one form or another in every part of Scripture. It is told us again and again, that to make sinful creatures holy was the great end which our Lord had in view in taking upon Him our nature, and thus none but the holy will be accepted for His sake at the last day. The whole history of redemption, the covenant of mercy in all its parts and provisions, attests the necessity of holiness in order to salvation; as indeed even our natural conscience bears witness also . . .

Even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there; so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter . . . We conclude that any man, whatever his habits, tastes, or manner of life, if once admitted into heaven, would be happy there . . . [But] here every man can do his own pleasure, but there he must do God's pleasure . . . . . Let us alone! What have we to do with thee? is the sole thought and desire of unclean souls, even while they acknowledge His majesty. None but the holy can look upon the Holy One; without holiness no man can endure to see the Lord . . .

Heaven is not heaven, is not a place of happiness except to the holy . . . There is a moral malady which disorders the inward sight and taste; and no man labouring under it is in a condition to enjoy what Scripture calls the fulness of joy in God's presence, and pleasures at His right hand forevermore. [36]

Newman explains (in effect) why purgatory (which he accepts elsewhere, even before his conversion to Catholicism in 1845) is a necessary and indeed, ultimately desirable process for all of us imperfect sinners to undergo, in order to properly approach God in His unfathomable majesty and holiness.

Hebrews 12:29 . . . our God is a consuming fire.

(see also Exodus 3:2-6, 19:18, 24:17, Numbers 31:23, Deuteronomy 4:24, 9:3, Psalm 66:10-12, Malachi 3:2, 4:1, Hebrews 10:27, 31)

Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practises abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

The relevance of this biblical data in terms of its analogy to the idea of purgatory is clear. The abundance of such scriptural evidence for purgatory led to a consensus among the Church Fathers as well. Protestant church historian Philip Schaff, who can definitely be considered a "hostile witness" as pertains this topic, summarized the belief of the early Christian Church:

These views of the middle state in connection with prayers for the dead show a strong tendency to the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory . . . there are traces of the purgatorial idea of suffering the temporal consequences of sin, and a painful struggle after holiness . . . The common people and most of the fathers understood it of a material fire; but this is not a matter of faith . . . A material fire would be very harmless without a material body. [37]

Despite all this, Protestantism rejected the beliefs in purgatory and prayers for the dead, with the exception of Anglicans, many of whom have retained some form of these. Popular Christian apologist C. S. Lewis was one of these traditional Anglicans. In one of his last books, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, [38] he stated that he prayed for the dead, among whom were many of his loved ones, and that he believed in purgatory, comparing it to an intense rinsing of the mouth at the dentist's office. He thought no one would want to enter heaven unclean, as this would be downright embarrassing.

23 Haydock's Catholic Family Bible and Commentary, New York: 1859; rep. Monrovia, CA: Catholic Treasures, 1991, 1376-1377, 1611.
24 Sermon: "The Intermediate State," 1836.
25 Book 4, epistle 2.
26 Commentary on 1 Cor 3; Sermon 20; Commentary on Ps 116.
27 Commentary on Amos 4.
28 Dialogues 4,39.
29 6th Homily on Exodus.
30 Explanations of the Psalms, 37, 3. From Jurgens, William A., ed. and tr., The Faith of the Early Fathers (FEF), 3 volumes, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1979, vol. 3, 17.
31 St. Francis de Sales, CON, 360-362.
32 Ibid., 368-369.
33 Guthrie, D. and J.A. Motyer, eds., The New Bible Commentary, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 3rd ed., 1970, 1178. The Lutheran Johannes Bengel (1687-1752), and the Anglican Henry Alford (1810-71), both highly-respected expositors, also held that Onesiphorus was dead.
34 Jamieson, Robert, Andrew R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1961 (orig. 1864), 1376.
35 Robertson, A.T., Word Pictures in the New Testament, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1930, 6 volumes., vol. 4, 615.
36 Sermon: "Holiness Necessary for Future Blessedness," 1834 (On Hebrews 12:14).
37 Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, "Ante-Nicene Christianity: A.D. 100-325," 5th ed., New York: 1889; rep. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans,ch. 12, sec. 156, 604-606.
38 New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1964, 107-109.

Mary as Ark of the Covenant, in the Church Fathers and the Bible (Links)

By Dave Armstrong (2-27-08; updated on 11 March 2015)

I was asked on the CHNI board about patristic support for this analogical notion, and ran across a great and helpful compilation of quotes from the Church fathers, from my friend Steve Ray. His post on the topic includes also a general article and a six-minute audio clip. See also related materials:

Ark of the New Covenant (Patrick Madrid: This Rock, Dec. 1991) [all Internet Archive links]

The Blessed Virgin Mary (Scripture Catholic: see Section II)

Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant (Steve Ray: This Rock, October 2005) [all Internet Archive links]

Mary: The Ark of the New Covenant (Sonja Corbitt; Catholic Online)

* * * * *

444 Irish Catholic Martyrs and Heroic Confessors, Persecuted by English Royalty, Anglicans, Cromwellians: 1565-1713

By Dave Armstrong (2-27-08)

161 English and 269 Irish Catholic Martyrs During the Reign of the Tyrant Henry VIII: 1534-1544 [at the Very Least: 430 Martyrs]

312 English Catholic Martyrs and Heroic Confessors During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth: 1558-1603

123 English Catholic Martyrs and Heroic Confessors in the Post-Elizabethan Era: 1603-1729 s / Martyr Resources)

[names not linked are found on the Irish Confessors and Martyrs page, from The Catholic Encyclopedia]

[ adding the 269 Irish martyrs during the reign of Butcher Henry VIII, we arrive at a grand total of 713 documented Irish martyrs and confessors ]

Total of all documented martyrs and heroic confessors for the Catholic faith, persecuted by English "head of the Church" royalty and its minions, in these four papers:


Conacius Macuarta (Conn McCourt)

Franciscan. Flogged to death in Armagh, 16 December 1565, for refusing to acknowledge the queen's supremacy.

Roger MacCongaill (McConnell)

Franciscan. Flogged to death in Armagh, 16 December, 1565, for refusing to acknowledge the queen's supremacy.

Edmund Fitzsimon

Franciscan. Hanged on 21 January, 1575 in Downpatrick.

John Lochran

Franciscan. Hanged on 21 January, 1575 in Downpatrick.

Donagh O'Rorke

Franciscan. Hanged on 21 January, 1575 in Downpatrick.

Edmund MacDonnell (or, O'Donnell)

Jesuit priest. Died on 16 March 1575 in Cork.

Fergall Ward

Franciscan guardian, Armagh -- hanged, 28 April 1575, with his own girdle.

William Walsh

Born c. 1512. Bishop of Meath (Cistercian). When Queen Elizabeth introduced a Protestant liturgy into Ireland, Walsh resisted strenuously in Convocatio, and preached at Trim against the Book of Common Prayer. On 4 Feb., 1560, he refused the oath of supremacy, was deprived of his temporalities, and by the Queen's order committed to custody and was later committed to Dublin Castle in July 1565, in a dark and filthy cell. At Christmas, 1572, his friends contrived his escape to Nantes in Brittany. After six months of destitution he was aided by the nuncio in France to proceed to Spain. He reached Alcalá almost moribund through privations, fatigues. Afterwards he removed to the Cistercian convent and died on 4 January 1577, among his former brethren, esteemed a martyr to the Faith.

Thomas Courcy

Vicar-general at Kinsale. Hanged on 30 March 1577.

David Hurley

Dean of Emly -- died in prison in 1578.

Thomas Moeran

Dean of Cork -- taken in the exercise of his functions and executed in 1578.

John O'Dowd

Franciscan priest. Refused to reveal a confession, put to death at Elphin by having his skull compressed with a twisted cord, in 1579.

Thomas O'Herlahy

Bishop of Ross. Consecrated about 1560, he was one of three Irish bishops attending the Council of Trent. He incurred such persecution through enforcing its decrees that he fled with his chaplain to a little island, but was betrayed to Perrot, President of Munster, who sent him in chains to the Tower of London. Simultaneously with Primate Creagh, he was confined until released after about three years and seven months on the security of Cormac MacCarthy, Lord of Muskery. Intending to retire to Belgium, ill health contracted in prison induced him to return to Ireland. He was apprehended at Dublin, but released on exhibiting his discharge, and proceeded to Muskery under MacCarthy's protection. Disliking the lavishness of that nobleman's house, he withdrew to a small farm and lived in great austerity. Relieving distress to the utmost of his power he made a visitation of his diocese yearly, and on great festivals officiated and preached in a neighbouring church. Thus, though afflicted with dropsy, he lived until his sixtieth (or seventieth) year, dying exhausted by labours and sufferings, in 1579.

Thaddæus Daly and Companion

Franciscans. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Limerick, 1 January 1579. The bystanders reported that his head when cut off distinctly uttered the words: "Lord, show me Thy ways."

Edmund Tanner

Born c. 1526. Bishop of Cork and Cloyne, Ireland, 1574-1579. In May, 1575, he set out for Ireland with exceptional faculties for his own diocese and for those of Cashel, Dublin, and its suffragan sees in the absence of their respective prelates. Not long after his reaching Ireland he was captured while exercising his functions at Clonmel, and was thrown into prison; here, as Holing tells, he was visited by a schismatical bishop whom he reconciled to the Church. A few days later he was himself released through the influence of a noble earl. Thereafter he did not venture into his own diocese but as commissary-Apostolic he traversed the other districts assigned him, administering the sacraments and discharging in secret the other duties of his office. Four years he laboured thus in continual peril and distress, and at length succumbed to his privations and fatigues in the Diocese of Ossory, 4 June, 1579. Bruodin states that he died in Dublin Castle after eighteen months of imprisonment and cruel torture.

Blessed Patrick O'Healey (or, O'Healy, or Pádraig Ó Héilí)

Born c. 1545. Bishop of Mayo (Franciscan). Denied the royal supremacy, replying that he could not barter his faith for life or honours; his business was to do a bishop's part in advancing religion and saving souls. To questions about the plans of the pope and the King of Spain for invading Ireland he made no answer, and thereupon was delivered to torture. As he still remained silent, he was sent to instant execution by martial law. The execution by hanging took place outside one of the gates of Kilmallock, on 22 August 1579.

Blessed Cornelius (Or, Conn) O'Rourke

Franciscan priest. Tortured and hanged in Kilmallock, on 22 August 1579.

Prior at the Cistercian monastery of Graeg

Killed in 1580.

Daniel O'Neilan (or, O'Duillian)

Franciscan priest. Fastened round the waist with a rope and thrown with weights tied to his feet from one of town-gates at Youghal, finally fastened to a mill-wheel and torn to pieces, 28 March 1580.

Daniel Hanrichan
Maurice O'Scanlan
Philip O'Shee (O'Lee)

Franciscan priests. Beaten with sticks and slain, 6 April 1580, before the altar of Lislachtin monastery, Co. Kerry.

Laurence O'Moore

Priest. Tortured and hanged, 11 November 1580, after the surrender of Dun-an-oir in Kerry.

Oliver Plunkett

Gentleman. Tortured and hanged, 11 November 1580, after the surrender of Dun-an-oir in Kerry.

William Walsh (or Willick)

Englishman. Tortured and hanged, 11 November 1580, after the surrender of Dun-an-oir in Kerry.

John Clinch
John Eustace
Thomas Eustace
Robert Fitzgerald
Walter Lakin (or, Layrmus)

Matthew Lamport
Thomas Netherfield (or, Netterville)
Nicholas Nugent (Chief Justice)
David Sutton
Robert Sherlock
John Sutton
William Wogan

Executed on a charge of complicity in rebellion with Lord Baltinglass, in 1581.

Richard French

Priest, Ferns Diocese. Died in prison in 1581.

Blessed Patrick Cavanaugh (or, Cavanagh, or, Pádraigh Caomhánach)
Blessed Edward Cheevers
Blessed Robert Meyler (or, Tyler)
Blessed Matthew Lambert
John O'Lahy
Anonymous Sailor

Matthew Lambert was a Wexford baker who had arranged with five sailor acquaintances to provide safe passage by ship out of Wexford for Viscount Baltinglass and his Jesuit chaplain Robert Rochford when English troops were pursuing them after the fall of the Second Desmond Rebellion (1579-83). The authorities heard of the plan beforehand and Matthew was arrested together with his five sailor friends. Thrown into prison, they were questioned about politics and religion. Lambert’s reply was: “I am not a learned man. I am unable to debate with you, but I can tell you this, ‘I am a Catholic and I believe whatever our Holy Mother the Catholic Church believes.’” They were found guilty of treason and hanged, drawn, and quartered in Wexford on 5 July 1581.

Nicholas Fitzgerald

Cistercian. Hanged, drawn, and quartered, September 1581 at Dublin.

Maurice Eustace

He secretly took Holy Orders. His servant, who was aware of the fact, told his father, who had his son immediately arrested and imprisoned in Dublin and put on trial for high treason. During his imprisonment Adam Loftus, Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, offered him his daughter in marriage, and a large dowry if he would accept the reformed religion. Yielding neither to the bribery nor persecution, Eustace was sentenced to public execution, and hanged, in November 1581.

Henry O'Fremlamhaidh (anglicized Frawley)

Died in 1582.

Thaddæus O'Meran (or O'Morachue)

Franciscan. Guardian of Enniscorthy. Died in 1582.

John Wallis

Priest. Died, 20 January 1582, in prison at Worcester.

Cahill McGoran
Peter McQuillan
Roger O'Donnellan
Patrick O'Kenna
James Pillan

Franciscan priests. Died on or near 13 February 1582, Dublin Castle.

Roger McHenlea (or, O'Hanlon)

Franciscan lay brother. Died on or near 13 February 1582, Dublin Castle.

Henry Delahoyde
Phelim O'Hara (or, O'Corra)

Franciscans of Moyne, Co. Mayo. Hanged and quartered, 1 May 1582.

Æneas Penny

Parish priest of Killatra (Killasser, Co. Mayo). Slain by soldiers while saying Mass, 4 May 1582.

Donagh O'Reddy

Parish priest of Coleraine. Hanged and transfixed with swords, 12 June 1582, at the altar of his church.

Blessed Margaret Birmingham Ball

Born in 1515. When she was fifteen years old Margaret married Alderman Bartholomew Ball of Ballrothery. Margaret had ten children. Her husband was elected Mayor of Dublin in 1553, making Margaret the Mayoress. She had a comfortable life with a large household and many servants, and she was recognised for organising classes for the children of local Irish families in her own home.

Margaret's eldest son, Walter Ball, embraced the "new religion" and was appointed Commissioner for Ecclesiastical Causes in 1577. Margaret was disappointed with her son's change of faith and tried to change his mind. On one occasion, she told him that she had a "special friend" for him to meet. Walter arrived early with a company of soldiers, and found that the "special friend" was Dermot O'Hurley, Archbishop of Cashel. He was celebrating Mass with the family. Walter had his mother arrested and locked in the dungeons of Dublin Castle.

When the family protested, Walter declared that his mother should have been executed, but he had spared her. She would be allowed to go free if she "Took the Oath", which probably referred to the Oath of Supremacy. Her second son, Nicholas, who supported her, was elected Mayor of Dublin in 1582. However, Walter was still Commissioner for Ecclesiastical Causes, which was a crown appointment. He outranked Nicholas and kept him from securing the release of their mother. Nicholas visited her daily, bringing her food, clothing, and candles.

Margaret died in 1584 at the age of sixty-nine, which was an advanced age at the time. She was crippled with arthritis and had lived for three years in the cold, wet dungeon of Dublin Castle with no natural light. Margaret had lived in the dungeon when she could have returned to a life of comfort at any time by simply "taking the oath." Although she could have altered her will, she still bequeathed her property to Walter upon her death.

John O'Daly

Franciscan priest. Trampled to death by cavalry in 1584.

Blessed Dermond (or, Dermot) O'Hurley

Born c. 1530. Archbishop of Cashel. He was committed to Dublin Castle in October, 1583 and tortured. Early in March, 1584, the archbishop's legs were thrust into boots filled with oil and salt, beneath which a fire was kindled. Some groans of agony were wrung from the victim, and he cried aloud, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!," but rejected every proposal to abandon his religion. Ultimately he swooned away, and fearing his death, the torturers removed him; as the boots were pulled off, the flesh was stripped from his bones. In this condition he was returned to prison. Queen Elizabeth approved of the torture, and execution by martial law. He was secretly taken out at dawn, and hanged with a withe on the gibbet near St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, on 20 June, 1584. He spoke to the crowds before he was killed:
Be it therefore known unto you . . . that I am a priest anointed and also a Bishop, although unworthy of so sacred dignities, and no cause could they find against me that might in the least deserve the pains of death, but merely for my function of priesthood wherein they have proceeded against me in all points cruelly contrary to their own laws . . . and I do enjoin you (dear Christian brethren) to manifest the same to the world and also to bear witness on the Day of Judgment of my Innocent death, which I endure for my function and profession of the most holy Catholic Faith.
Thaddæus Clancy

Died on 15 September 1584, near Listowel.

Gelasius (or, Glaisne) O'Cullenan

Cistercian Abbot of Boyle. Tortured and hanged on 21 November 1584 at Dublin.

Eugene Cronius (or Hugh or John Mulcheran, or Eoghan O'Maoilchiarain)

Either Abbot of Trinity Island, Co. Roscommon, or a secular priest. Tortured and hanged on, 21 November 1584, at Dublin.

Blessed Maurice Kenraghty (or, McKenraghty)

Priest. In September, 1583, he was handed over to the Earl of Ormond. By Ormond's command he was chained to one Patrick Grant, and sent to prison at Clonmel. Here he lay in irons, exhorting, instructing, and hearing confessions at his prison grate until April, 1585. His jailer was then bribed by Victor White, a leading townsman, to release the priest for one night to say Mass and administer the Paschal Communion in White's house. The jailer secretly warned the President of Munster to take this opportunity to capture most of the neighbouring recusants (those refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy) at Mass. In the morning an armed force surrounded the house, arrested White and others, seized the sacred vessels, and looked for the priest everywhere. He had hidden under straw at the first alarm, and, though wounded when the heap was probed, ultimately escaped to the woods. Learning, however, that White's life could only be saved by his (Kenraghty's) surrender, he gave himself up, and was at once tried by martial law. Pardon and preferment were offered him if he agreed to conform, but he resolutely maintained the Catholic faith and the pope's authority, and was hanged as a traitor at Clonmel on 20 April 1585. His head was set up in the market-place.

Patrick O'Connor, Cistercian
Malachy O'Kelly
, Cistercian

Hanged and quartered, 19 May 1585, at Boyle.

Maurice (or Murtagh) O'Brien

Bishop of Emly. Died in prison at Dublin in 1586.

Donagh O'Murheely (or, O'Murthuile, wrongly identified with O'Hurley) and Companion

Franciscans. Stoned and tortured to death at Muckross, Killarney in 1586.

John Cornelius

Franciscan of Askeaton. Died in 1587.

Walter Farrell

Franciscan of Askeaton. Hanged with his own girdle in 1587.

Peter (or Patrick) Meyler

Native of Wexford, executed at Galway in 1588.

Patrick O'Brady, Franciscan Prior at Monaghan, and Six Friars

Killed in 1588 by soldiers.

Dermot O'Mulrony (Franciscan priest)
Brother Thomas (Franciscan)
Franciscan of Galbally, Co. Limerick

Put to death in Limerick on 21 March 1588.

Thaddæus O'Boyle

Guardian of Donegal, slain there, 13 April 1588, by soldiers.

Patrick Plunkett

Knight. Hanged and quartered, 6 May 1588, Dublin.

Peter Miller

Diocese of Ferns. Tortured, hanged, and quartered, 4 October, 1588.

Geoffrey Farrell
John O'Molloy
Cornelius O'Dogherty

Franciscan priests. Hanged, drawn, and quartered, 15 December 1588, at Abbeyleix.

Christopher Roche

Layman. ied on 13 December 1590, under torture, Newgate, London.

Matthew O'Leyn

Franciscan priest. Died on 6 March 1590, at Kilcrea.

Terence Magennis
Magnus O'Fredliney (or O'Todhry)
Loughlin og Mac O'Cadha (or, Mac Eochadha, Keogh)

Franciscans of Multifarnham. Died in prison in 1591.

Andrew Strich

Priest, Limerick. Died in Dublin Castle in 1594.

John Stephens

Priest, Dublin province. Hanged and quartered, 4 September 1597, for saying Mass.

George Power

Vicar-General of Ossory. Died in prison in 1599.

John Walsh

Vicar-General of Dublin. Died in prison at Chester in 1600.

Nicholas Young

Priest, died in Dublin Castle in 1600.

James Dudall (or, Dowdall)

He was a merchant of Drogheda, Ireland. In the summer of 1598, when returning from France, his ship was driven by stress of weather onto the coast of Devonshire, and he was arrested by William Bourchier, Earl of Bath, who had him under examination. Dowdall publicly avowed that he rejected the queen's supremacy, and only recognized that of the Roman pontiff. The earl forwarded the examination to Sir Robert Cecil, and had Dowdall committed to Exeter jail. Whilst in prison he was tortured and put to the rack, but continued unchanged in his fidelity to the ancient faith. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Exeter, England, 20 September, 1600.

Patrick Hayes (or, O'Hea)

Shipowner of Wexford and layman, charged with aiding bishops, priests, and others. Died in prison on 4 December 1600 (possibly after at least twenty years of incarceration).

Donagh O'Cronin

Clerk. Hanged and disembowelled in Cork, in 1601.

Bernard Moriarty

Dean of Ardagh and Vicar-General of Dublin. Having his thighs broken by soldiers, died in prison, Dublin, in 1601.

Redmond O'Gallagher

Bishop of Derry. Slain by soldiers, 15 March 1601, near Dungiven.

Daniel (or, Donagh) O'Mollony

Vicar-General of Killaloe. Died of torture, 24 April 1601, Dublin Castle.

John O'Kelly

Priest. Died on 15 May 1601, in prison.

Two priests and seven novices of Limerick and Kilmallock, assembled in 1602 with forty Benedictine, Cistercian, and other monks, at Scattery Island in the Shannon to be deported under safe conduct in a man-of-war, were cast overboard at sea.

Blessed Dominic Collins

Born in 1566. Ordained as a Jesuit in 1589. After the Battle of Kinsale he retreated with O'Sullivan Beare to Dunboy Castle in west Cork, where after a siege he was captured, bribed to change his religion and tortured. No effort was spared in the attempt to break Dominic's resolution. We are told that he was savagely tortured, though the form of torture is not mentioned. He was promised rich rewards and high ecclesiastical office if he would accept the doctrines of Anglicanism. Ministers of religion were sent to persuade him of the error of his beliefs. Even some of his own family visited him, urging him to save his life by pretending a conversion which he could afterwards repudiate. He was in his middle thirties with much to live for. But he rejected all the offers, and chose a martyr's death.

Taken to his hometown of Youghal on 31st October 1602, he was marched by a troop of soldiers through the streets to the place of execution. It was the first time he had seen his home town in fifteen years. He wore the black gown of his order, which he had desired so long and loved so greatly. He knelt at the foot of the gallows and greeted it joyfully: “Hail, holy cross, so long desired by me!” Then he addressed the crowd in a mixture of Spanish, Irish and English, telling them that he had come to Ireland to defend the faith of the Holy Roman Church, which was the one true path to salvation and for which he was about to die. He was so cheerful that an English officer remarked, “He is going to his death as eagerly as I would go to a banquet”. Dominic overheard him and replied, “For this cause I would be willing to die not once but a thousand deaths”.

His words and demeanour so touched the crowd that the hangman refused to do his work. The soldiers eventually seized on a passer-by, a poor fisherman, and forced him to accept the office. He asked the victim for forgiveness, which Dominic gladly granted before mounting the ladder with the rope around his neck. Reciting a psalm, he had just reached the words "Into your hands I commend my spirit", when the fisherman pulled away the ladder; and so he died. In his life and in his death he remains one of the most attractive and lovable of all the Irish martyrs.

The following Dominicans suffered under Elizabeth (1558-1603), but the dates are uncertain:

Father MacFerge
, prior of Coleraine
24 friars of Coleraine,
32 members of the community of Derry, slain there the same night.

Eugene O'Gallagher

Abbot of the Cistercians of Assaroe, Ballyshannon -- slain there by soldiers in 1606.

Bernard O'Trevir

Prior of the Cistercians of Assaroe, Ballyshannon -- slain there by soldiers in 1606.

Bernard O'Carolan

Priest. Executed by martial law, Good Friday, 1606.

Sir John Burke

From Brittas, County Limerick. Rescued and defended with arms a priest seized by soldiers, and so was executed at Limerick, 20 December 1606.

Dermot Bruodin

Franciscan. Tortured at Limerick and died as a result in 1607.

Francis Helam (or, Helan)

Franciscan priest. Apprehended saying Mass in Drogheda, and died in prison in 1607.

Patrick O'Derry

Franciscan, priest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered at Lifford in 1607.

John O'Luin

Dominican. Hanged at Derry in 1607.

Niall O'Boyle

Franciscan. Beheaded or hanged, 15 January 1607, Co. Tyrone.

Donagh (or, William) O'Luin

Dominican prior of Derry. Hanged and quartered there in 1608.

John Lune

Priest, Ferns Diocese. Hanged and quartered, 12 November 1610, Dublin.

Blessed Cornelius (or, Conor) O'Devany (or, Conchobhar O'Duibheannaigh)

Born c. 1532. Franciscan Bishop of Down and Connor. In 1588 he was committed to Dublin Castle. Failing to convict him of any crime punishable with death, Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam sought authority from Burghley to "be rid of such an obstinate enemy of God and so rank a traitor to her Majesty as no doubt he is". He lay in prison until November, 1590, being then released ostensibly on his own petition but doubtless through policy. He was protected by O'Neill until 1607, and escaped arrest until the middle of 1611, when, almost eighty years old, he was taken while administering confirmation and again committed to Dublin Castle. On 28 January, 1612, he was tried for high treason, found guilty by the majority of a packed jury, and sentenced to die.

He was drawn on a cart from the Castle to the gallows beyond the river on 1 February 1612, in Dublin; the whole route was crowded with Catholics lamenting and begging his blessing. Protestant clergymen pestered him with ministrations and urged him to confess he died for treason. "Pray let me be", he answered, "the viceroy's messenger to me here present, could tell that I might have life and revenue for going once to that temple", pointing to a tower opposite.

On reaching the top step of the scaffold the bishop prayed aloud for all who were present. He prayed for the Catholics of Dublin and of Ireland, urging them to persevere in their faith. He prayed for all heretics and for their reunion with the Church and he forgave his persecutors. He kissed the hangman's rope, placed it around his neck, drew the veil over his face and held out his hands to be tied.
It was at this moment that an event occurred which was recorded by almost all the sources and evidently was remembered by all the witnesses. The sky had been dark and overcast all that day. Now as the sun was setting the clouds parted and the scaffold was bathed in the red glow of the setting sun. While the bishop hung on the gallows the clouds closed over again. After the bishop had been hanged the executioner cut off his head and held it up with the customary cry: 'Look on the head of a traitor'.

Blessed Patrick O'Lochran (or, Loughran, or, Pádraig Ó Lochráin)

Born c. 1577. Priest, Cork Diocese. Hanged, drawn, and quartered, on 1 February 1612, Dublin.

William McGillacunny (MacGiolla Coinigh)

Dominican. Executed at Coleraine in 1614.

Michael Fitzsimon, layman
Conn O'Kiennan

Hanged, drawn, and quartered in 1615.

Lewis O'Laverty

Priest, hanged, drawn, and quartered, 1615.

Thomas Fitzgerald

Franciscan priest. Died in prison, 12 July 1617, Dublin.

John MacConnan (or, John Oonan, or Conan)

Priest, executed by martial law, Dublin, 1618.

John Honan

Franciscan priest. Tortured, hanged, and quartered, 14 October 1618, Dublin.

Blessed Francis Taylor

Born c. 1550 in Swords, County Dublin, he was elected Dublin's mayor in 1595. Later he was imprisoned for his Catholic faith, and died in the Castle on 29 January 1621, after seven years of refusing to accept his freedom by giving up his religion.

James Eustace

Cistercian. Hanged and quartered, 6 September 1621.

Edmund Dungan

Bishop of Down and Connor -- died, 2 November 1628, Dublin Castle.

Paul (or, Patrick) Fleming

Franciscan, priest. Put to death by Protestants, 13 November 1631, at Benesabe, Bohemia.

Matthew Hore

Put to death by Protestants, 13 November 1631, at Benesabe, Bohemia.

Arthur MacGeoghegan

Dominican priest. Hanged, drawn, and quartered, 27 November 1633, Tyburn.

John Meagh

Jesuit priest. Shot, 31 May 1639, by the Swedish army near Guttenberg, Bohemia.

Philip Clery

Priest. Died in 1642.

Cormac Egan

Dominican lay brother. Died in 1642.

Raymund Keogh

Dominican priest. Shot while hearing confessions on the battlefield, in 1642.

Francis O'Mahony

Franciscan. Guardian at Cork -- tortured and hanged, regaining consciousness, he was again hanged with his girdle, in 1642.

Stephen Petit

Dominican prior at Mullingar -- shot while hearing confessions on the battlefield, in 1642.

John Clancy Edmund Hore

Priests, Waterford Diocese -- put to death, March 1642, at Dungarvan.

Blessed Peter O'Higgin (or, Higgins)

Born 1600. Ordained as a Dominican before 1627. During the Rebellion of 1641 when the Irish Ulstermen came south of the Boyne, the Catholic Lords of the Pale opted to join them while the Governor of Dublin, Sir Charles Coote, opted for a policy of "exterminate all Catholics". Law and order collapsed and plunder became a daily occurrence. Both Protestant landowners and even Catholics known to be government supporters were looted by the rebels.

Peter Higgins as Prior of Naas made efforts to restrain the violent and sheltered the homeless. He intervened to save the Protestant rector of Donadea, William Pillsworth, who was about to be put to the gallows by Catholics and upbraided the Catholics for their unchristian behaviour. In January 1642 the Earl of Ormond mobilised a Protestant force in Dublin to strike back at Catholics. Among those taken into custody was Peter Higgins, who in fact did not resist arrest, knowing he had done so much to save and protect Protestants and that he was innocent of any crime. Ormond tried to intervene on Higgins's behalf presenting petitions from at least twenty Protestants who had known Higgins urging that the priest's life be spared. But Ormond was amazed when on the morning of 23rd March 1642 he heard that Higgins's body was hanging from a gallows in Dublin; Sir Charles Coote had executed him without trial. At the gallows Higgins was offered a chance to deny his faith, but declined saying: "I die a Catholic and a Dominican priest. I forgive from my heart all who have conspired to bring about my death. Deo gratias." Among the crowd stood William Pillsworth, rector of Donadea. He cried out: "This man is innocent, this man is innocent. He saved my life." His words fell on deaf ears. The soldiers hacked his body to pieces so that it could not be given an honourable burial.

Angelus of St. Joseph

O.D.C. Hanged, 4 May 1642, Newry.

Robert (or, Malachy) O'Shiel

Cistercian priest. Hanged, 4 May 1642, Newry.

Thomas Aquinas of Jesus

Priest, O.D.C., hanged, 6 July 1642, Drogheda.

Cornelius O'Brien

Hanged on board ship in the Shannon, by parliamentarians, October 1642.

Fergal Ward

Franciscan. Hanged on board ship in the Shannon, by parliamentarians, October 1642.

Peter of the Mother of God

Lay brother, O.D.C. Died in 1643.

Christopher Ultan (or, Donlevy)

Franciscan priest. Died in Newgate prison, London, 1644.

Cornelius O'Connor Eugene O'Daly
O.SS.T. -- drowned at sea by a Parliamentarian commander, 11 January 1644.

John Flaverty

Dominican priest. Died in 1645.

Hugh MacMahon, layman, and Conor Maguire, Baron of Enniskillen -- executed for complicity in the outbreak of the Confederate War, 1645.

Thaddæus O'Connell

Priest, O.S.A. -- executed by Parliamentarians after the battle of Sligo in 1645.

Henry White

Priest -- hanged at Rathconnell, Co. Meath, 1645.

Edmund Mulligan

Cistercian priest. Slain in July 1645, near Clones, by Parliamentarians.

Malachy O'Queely (Maolsheachlainn O Cadhla)

Archbishop of Tuam; executed at Ballipodare, 27 October, 1645.

At the storming of the Rock of Cashel by Inchiquin, 15 September 1647, Richard Barry, priest, O.P., William Boyton, priest, S.J., Richard Butler, priest, O.S.F., James Saul, lay brother, O.S.F., Elizabeth Carney, Sister Margaret, a Dominican tertiary, Theobald Stapleton, priest, Edward Stapleton, priest, Thomas Morrissey and many others, priests and women, were slain in the church.

Gerald FitzGibbon, cleric, and David Fox, lay brother at Kilmallock, Dominic O'Neaghten, lay brother, Roscommon, Peter Costello, priest, sub-prior, Straid, Co. Mayo, all Dominicans; Andrew Hickey, priest, O.S.F. -- hanged near Adare in 1648.

Dominic Dillon, Dominican prior at Urlar
Bernard Horumley (or, Gormley), Franciscan priest
Richard Oveton, Dominican prior at Athy
Peter Taaffe, O.S.A., prior at Drogheda
John Vath, Jesuit priest
Thomas Vath, secular priest

Slain in Drogheda massacre, 1649.

Didacus Cheevers, lay Franciscan
John Esmond, priest
Joseph Rochford, lay Franciscan
Peter Stafford, priest
Raymund Stafford, priest
Paul Synnott, priest

Slain in Wexford massacre, 1649.

William Lynch

Dominican priest. Hanged in 1649.

James O'Reilly

Dominican priest. Slain near Clonmel in 1649.

Robert Netterville

Jesuit priest. Died at Drogheda, 19 June 1649, of a severe beating with sticks.

Hilary Conroy

Franciscan, priest. Hanged at Gowran in 1650 by the Cromwellians.

Walter de Wallis

Franciscan priest. Hanged at Mullingar in 1650.

John Dormer

Franciscan. Died in prison, Dublin, 1650.

Boetius Egan

Franciscan Bishop of Ross, celebrated for exhorting the garrison of Carrigadrehid Castle to maintain their post against Broghill -- dismembered and hanged in 1650.

Francis Fitzgerald

Franciscan priest. Hanged, Cork, 1650.

Miler Magrath (Father Michael of the Rosary)

Dominican priest. Hanged at Clonmel in 1650.

Antony Musæus (or, Hussey)

Franciscan priest. Hanged at Mullingar in 1650.

Thomas Plunkett, Eugene O'Teman, and Twelve Other Franciscans.

Flogged and cut to pieces by soldiers in 1650.

Nicholas Ugan (or, Ulagan)

Franciscan. Hanged with his girdle, 1650.

Dominicans: John Wolfe, priest, hanged, Limerick; John O'Cuilin (Collins), priest, beheaded; William O'Connor, prior at Clonmel, beheaded, and Thomas O'Higgin, priest, hanged, Clonmel; Bernard O'Ferrall, priest, slain, his brother Laurence O'Ferrall, priest, hanged, Longford; Vincent Gerald Dillon, chaplain to Irish troops in England, died in prison, York; Ambrose Æneas O'Cahill, priest, cut to pieces by cavalry, Cork; Donagh Dubh (Black) and James Moran, lay brothers; all in 1651.

Franciscans: Denis O'Neilan, priest, hanged, Inchicronan, Co. Clare; Thaddæus O'Carrighy, priest, hanged near Ennis; Hugh McKeon, priest, died in prison, Athlone; Roger de Mara (MacNamara), priest, shot and hanged, Clare Castle; Daniel Clanchy and Jeremiah O'Nerehiny (Nerny), lay brothers, Quin, hanged; Philip Flasberry, hanged near Dublin; Francis Sullivan, priest, shot in a cave, Co. Kerry, December; William Hickey, priest, hanged; all in 1651.

Laymen: Louis O'Farrall, died in prison, Athlone; Charles O'Dowd, hanged; Donagh O'Brien, burned alive; Sir Patrick Purcell, Sir Geoffrey Galway, Thomas Strich, mayor, Dominic Fanning, ex-mayor, Daniel O'Higgin, hanged after surrender of Limerick; Henry O'Neill, Theobald de Burgo; all in 1651.

Blessed Terence Albert O'Brien

Born in 1600 or 1601. Dominican Bishop of Emly. During the Irish Confederate Wars, like most Irish Catholics, he sided with Confederate Ireland. The bishop would treat the wounded and support Confederate soldiers throughout the conflict. O'Brien would sign the declaration against Inchiquin's truce in 1648, and the declaration against Ormond in 1650. In 1651 Limerick was invaded and O'Brien urged a resistance that infuriated the Ormondists and Parliamentarians. Following surrender he was denied quarter and protection. Major General Purcell, Father Wolf and O'Brien were brought before a court martial and ordered for execution by General Henry Ireton; carried out on 31 October 1651. As he went to the gallows, he spoke to the people: "Do not weep for me, but pray that being firm and unbroken in this torment of death, I may happily finish my course." After his death by strangulation his body was left hanging for three hours and treated with indignity by the soldiers. They cut off his head and spiked it on the river gate where it remained fresh and incorrupt.

Bernard Fitzpatrick

Ossory Diocese. Died in 1652.

Hugh Garrighy
Roger Ormilius (or, Gormley)

Secular priests. Hanged, Co. Clare, 1652.

Cornelius MacCarthy

Died in Co. Kerry in 1652.

Anthony Broder, deacon
Sliabh Luachra
Eugene O'Cahan, guardian at Ennis
Bonaventure de Burgo
Nielan Locheran, priest

Franciscans hanged in 1652 (first three near Tuam; last two at Derry).

Edmund O'Bern, Dominican priest
Anthony O'Ferrall, priest, Tulsk
John O'Ferrall;

Beheaded after torture, Jamestown, 1652.

Edmund Butler, Dublin
Brigid D'Arcy
Bernard McBriody
Thaddæus O'Connor Sligo, Boyle
John O'Conor Kerry, Tralee
Thaddæus O'Conor of Bealnamelly in Connaught
Conn O'Rorke

Laymen hanged in 1652.

Dominicans: Thaddæus Moriarty, prior at Tralee, hanged, Killarney; Bernard O'Kelly, priest or lay brother, Galway; David Roche, priest, sold into slavery, St. Kitts; Honoria Burke and her maid, Honoria Magan, tertiaries, Burrishoole; Daniel Delany, P.P., Arklow, hanged, Gorey; all in 1653.

Blessed John Kearney

Born 1619. Ordained a priest in 1642 after his studies in Louvain, he was captured on his return to Ireland, but managed to escape. He ministered as a priest first in Cashel and later in Waterford. In 1653 he was captured again, taken to Clonmel and charged with functioning as a priest in defiance of the law. Witnesses testified that he had celebrated and administered the sacraments. He was hanged on 11th March 1653.

Augustinians: Donagh O'Kennedy, Donagh Serenan, Fulgentius Jordan, Raymund O'Malley, John Tullis, and Thomas Deir, at Cork; all in 1654.

Bernard Conney, O.S.F., died in Galway jail
Mary Roche, Viscountess Fermoy, Cork

Died in 1654.

Blessed William Tirry

Born 1608. Augustinian priest. He returned to Ireland in 1641, and in 1649 was chosen as Prior (local superior) of the Augustinian house in Skreen. This was the same year that marked the beginning of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. A law was enacted on January 6, 1653 declaring that any Roman Catholic priest in Ireland was guilty of treason. Tirry was forced into hiding alongside other priests, but was captured when three men reported his whereabouts for money. William was imprisoned at Clonmel and refused to adopt the Protestant religion. He was executed by hanging on May 12, 1654. An account told by a friar who had been tried with William supplies some details of the day: "William, wearing his Augustinian habit, was led to the gallows praying the rosary. He blessed the crowd which had gathered, pardoned his betrayers and affirmed his faith. It was a moving moment for Catholics and Protestants alike." Many miracles were reported after this death.

Luke Bergin, Cistercian
James Murchu
Daniel O'Brien, dean of Ferns

Hanged on 14 April 1655.

Raymund O'Moore

Dominican priest. Died in 1665 in Dublin.

Felix O'Conor

Dominican priest. Died in 1679 in Sligo.

Gerald Fitzgibbon

Dominican priest. Died in 1691 in Listowel.

Patrick Russell

Born 1629. Archbishop of Dublin. After harrassment and arrest following the defeat of the Jacobite army at the Boyne, died in a filthy underground prison in Dublin in 1692.

John O'Murrough

Dominican priest. Died in 1695 in Cork.

Donchus O'Falvey (or, Daniel Falvey)

Priest or friar, at Kerry in 1703.

Clement O'Colgan

Dominican priest. Died in 1704 in Derry.

Daniel McDonnell

Dominican priest. Died in 1707 in Galway.

Felix McDowell

Dominican priest. Died in 1707 in Dublin.

James O'Hegarty

Priest, Died in the Derry Diocese around 1711.

Dominic McEgan

Dominican priest. Died in 1713 in Dublin.

Uncertain Dates

Forty Cistercians of Monasternenagh, Co. Limerick
Dominicans: John O'Loughlin, and Two Others, at Kilmallock.
Franciscans: James Chevers, James Roche, John Mocleus (or, Mockler), Daniel O'Boyle
Thomas Fleming, layman
Dermot MacCarrha (MacCarthy), priest
John O'Grady, priest
Daniel O'Hanan, layman, died in prison.

Further Irish Martyr and Confessor Resources

Irish Catholic Martyrs (Wikipedia)

The Irish Martyrs (CatholicIreland.Net)

Chapters towards a History of Ireland in the Reign of Elizabeth (book by Philip O'Sullivan Beare)

The Martyrs of Ireland (four DVDs from Bob and Penny Lord)

Irish Martyrs (New Catholic Dictionary: long listing of names)

Lives of the Irish Martyrs and Confessors (book by Myles O'Reilly)