Why are Wiberals always blaming Jansenism for the fall of Irish Catholicism? The opposite is true.


Staff member
PI Member
Oct 30, 2015
I was accused by a Russian Orthodox friend of being more "a strange type of Anglican" than a Catholic to which I replied that actually what I am is really a lot more close to being a Jansenist and than I explained exactly what Jansenism was which caused her to agree with me on this issue. The actual levels of Jansenism that existed ever in Ireland is a matter of dispute and it would seem more of a case that indigenous Gaelic Catholicism shared similarities with so-called Jansenist currents in the Church in France and Italy in the 17 th, 18 th and 19 th centuries. One thing though is very clear Jansenism had been completely flushed out of Irish Catholicism by the end of the 19 th century.

Rather than Jansenism being to blame for the problems in contemporary Irish Catholicism I in fact believe that the opposites to it were.

One of the ways that I am Jansenistic is that I am a minimalist in terms of the extent of Clerical authority and believe strongly in the duty of the laity to rebuke the Clergy when they step out of line in terms either of Faith and Morals. For instance if your local Priest is always acting effeminately when as someone supposed to represent Christ he should be embodying masculine virtue I believe that you have the duty to tell him to stop playing the pansy puff. Now Irish Catholicism since Maynooth has and still does have in general a maximalist approach to clerical authority and what is worse that before sexual abuse scandals there were strong tendencies to put the Clergy up on a pedestal- in fact I think the rationale behind the cover up was basically to keep them on that pedestal which they should not have been on in the first place. Something that I find incredibly disturbing is when people say that they lost their Faith due to the scandals, was their Faith in Christ or in the Clergy?

Another way in which I am Jansenistic is that I believe in the necessity for the laity to be thoroughly instructed in Theology- that we are to love God in our minds as much as in our hearts. Irish Catholicism for a long time has generally avoided the Theological instruction of the laity- just ask a lot of Irish Catholics you know whether or not was Christ a human Person? Very many will answer yes which means that they have never been taught properly about the Incarnation. Christ had a human nature but His Person was that of the Second Person of the Uncreated Trinity. Along with this was the in a lot of occasions discouragement of the laity for leading a really serious inner Spiritual life with the idea that Novenas and well be a "good person" was good enough for them. Again this is the complete opposite of Jansenism.

And I could go on, there are some ways in which Irish Catholicism since the foundation of Maynooth has taken an opposite path to Jansenism.

Visit of Pope Francis heralds the end of the Church as we know it

"The Counter-Reformation arrived here 200 years late and in an entirely different context. Jansenism, a particularly guilt-ridden and gloomy view of the world more interested in sin than redemption, had already taken hold in Maynooth…."

And there countless other examples of people claiming this.....
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