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PAUL CULLEN (1803–1878)

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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 616 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PAUL CULLEN (1803–1878), cardinal and archbishop of Dublin, was born near Ballytore, Co. Kildare, and educated first at the Quaker school at Carlow and afterwards at Rome, where he joined the. Urban College of the Propaganda and, after passing a brilliant course, was ordained in 1829. He then became vice-rector, and afterwards rector, of the Irish National College in Rome; and during the Mazzini revolution of 1848 he was rector of the Urban College, saving the property under the protection of the American flag. In 1849, on the strong recommendation of Archbishop John MacHale of Tuam, Cullen was nominated as successor to the primatial see of Armagh; and, on his return to Ireland, presided as papal delegate at the national council of Thurles in the August of 185o. Taking a strong line on the educational question which was then agitating Ireland, he took a leading part in the national movement of 1850-1852, and at first supported the Tenant Rights League. In May 1852 he was translated to Dublin, and soon a divergence of opinion broke out between him and the more ardent Nationalists under Archbishop MacHale. When the Irish university was started, with Newman, appointed by Cullen, at its head, the scheme was wrecked by the personal opposition to the archbishop of Dublin. As time went on, his distrust of the national movement grew deeper; and in 1853 he sternly forbade his clergy to take part publicly in politics, and for this he was denounced by the Tablet newspaper. His own political opinion had best be told in his own words. " Fqr thirty years I have studied the revolution on the continent, and for nearly thirty years I have watched the Nationalist movement in Ireland. It is tainted at its sources with the revolutionary spirit. If any attempt is made to abridge the rights and liberties of the Catholic Church in Ireland, it will not be by the English government nor by a ` No Popery ' cry in England, but by the revolutionary and irreligious Nationalists of Ireland " (Purcell's Life of Manning, ii. 61o). Cullen, therefore, while an ardent patriot, was consistently an opponent of Fenianism. He was made cardinal in 1866, being the first Irish cardinal. Energetic as an administrator, churches and schools rose throughout his diocese; and the excellent Mater Misericordiae Hospital and the seminary at Clonlife are lasting memorials of his zeal. He took part in the Vatican Council as an ardent infallibilist. In 1873 he was defendant in a libel action brought against him by the Rev. R. O'Keeffe, parish priest of Callan, on account of two sentences of ecclesiastical censure pronounced by the cardinal as papal delegate. The damages were laid at £ro,000. Three of the four judges allowed the defence of the cardinal to be valid; but it was held that the papal rescript upon which he relied for his extraordinary powers as delegate was illegal under statute; and the lord chief justice decided that the plaintiff could not renounce his natural and civil liberty. After several days' trial, during which Cullen was submitted to a very close examination, the verdict was given for the plaintiff with ;d. damages. The cardinal died in Dublin on the 24th of October 1878. (E. TN.)
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