In this time Mark had several times recalled the curious
Hardly had the Acts of Royal Supremacy and Uniformity been passed when a commission was addressed to a number of judges and officials to administer the oath of supremacy. Of the bishops within the sphere of English jurisdiction at this period Curwen had already given his adhesion to these measures, William Walsh of Meath promptly refused, as did also Thomas Leverous of Kildare (Feb. 1560). Later on, when the Lord Deputy returned from London, another attempt was made to induce these bishops to change their minds, but without success. In reply to the Deputy the Bishop of Kildare declared that all jurisdiction was derived from Christ, "and since Christ did not deem it right to confer spiritual authority on women, not even on His own Blessed Mother, how, he asked, could it be believed that the Queen of England was the supreme governor of the Church?" Thereupon the Deputy threatened him with deprivation and the consequent loss of his revenues unless he made his submission, but the bishop reminded him of the words of Sacred Scripture, "What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world if he suffer the loss of his own soul?" He was driven from the See, and for a time taught a private school in the County Limerick, but he returned to his diocese, where he died near Nass (1577). The Bishop of Meath continued to oppose the religious policy of the government. In 1565 he was summoned once more by the commissioners, but "he openly protested before all the people the same day that he would never communicate or be present where the service should be ministered, for it was against his conscience and against God's word." As he was a man "of great credit among his countrymen, upon whom in causes of religion they wholly depend," he was thrown into prison, where he languished in great suffering till 1572, when he contrived to make his escape to France. Later on funds were supplied by the Holy See to enable him to continue his journey to Spain. He died amongst his brethren, the Cistercians, at Alcalá in 1577. John O'Tonory, too, who had been appointed to Ossory after the precipitate flight of Bale, seems to have given offence to the government. Though the latter preferred to devote himself to historical studies after the accession of Elizabeth rather than to entrust himself to the tender mercies of the people of Kilkenny, his rival does not seem to have been regarded by the government as the lawful Bishop of Ossory. His name does appear on a list of ecclesiastical commissioners appointed in 1564, but this seems to have been a mistake on the part of the officials or possibly a bait thrown out to induce O'Tonory to make his submission. At any rate it is certain that in 1561 the Bishopric of Ossory was returned as vacant, and it was suggested that the appointment should be conferred on the Dean of Kilkenny, and in July 1565, before the death of O'Tonory, in the instructions drawn up for Sir Henry Sidney and corrected by Cecil, her Majesty is made to say that the "Bishopric of Ossory has been long vacant." As this can refer only to the death of Bale, who died in 1563, it is clear that O'Tonory was bracketed with Walsh and Leverous as far as Elizabeth's ministers were concerned. Had it been possible for the government to do so, similar measures would have been taken against the bishops in the other parts of Ireland, but, faced as it was with Shane O'Neill in the North and a threatened confederation of the whole Geraldine forces in the South, it was deemed prudent not to precipitate a crisis by a violent anti-Catholic propaganda in those parts of the country not yet subject to English influence.
Commissioners were appointed to administer the oath of supremacy to the bishops, the judges, and higher officials, to the justices of the peace, etc., in Kildare (1560), and to the officials in Westmeath. But unless bishops could be found willing to take the place of those who refused to accept the new laws, no progress could be made. Curwen of Dublin, following his old rule of accepting the sovereign's religion as the true one, submitted to the Act of Supremacy and the Act of Uniformity. In accordance with the queen's instructions he removed the pictures and statues from Christ's Church and St. Patrick's, blotted out the paintings and frescos on the walls, so as to cover up all signs of "idolatry" and to prepare a back-ground for carefully assorted Scriptural texts. He was not, however, happy in his new position. He petitioned to be transferred from Dublin to Hereford, basing his claim on the fact that "he was the man that of his coat hath surlyest stood to the crown either in England or Ireland." But his petition was not granted. Two years later Adam Loftus, who though nominally Archbishop of Armagh feared to visit his diocese, charged Curwen with serious crimes which he was ashamed to particularise, and probably as a result of this the queen instructed her Deputy to induce him to resign on the promise of an annual pension of ￡200 (1563). But Curwen, fearing that "the leaving of the archbishopric and not receiving another" might lead people to believe that he was deprived, stood out boldly for better terms. Hugh Brady, the queen's Bishop of Meath, then proceeded to attack him. According to him everybody in Dublin from the archbishop to the petty canons were "dumb dogs," "living enemies to the truth," "neither teaching nor feeding any save themselves," and "disguised dissemblers." As this did not produce any effect, he wrote once more, demanding that the authorities should "call home the old unprofitable workman," a petition in which he was supported by Adam Loftus. Their prayers were heard at last, and Curwen was translated to Oxford. When the news of his recall was announced to him he merely expressed the wish that he could get "the last half-year's rent of the Bishopric of Oxford," and that he should be allowed to change quickly so that "he might provide fire for the winter and hay for his horses."
The See of Armagh which was vacant by the death of Primate Dowdall was conferred by the Pope on Donat O'Teige (Feb. 1560). The latter was consecrated at Rome, and arrived in Ireland probably towards the end of the same year. In the summer of 1561 he was present at Armagh with the army of Shane O'Neill whom he encouraged to go forward boldly against the forces of the Deputy. Needless to say such a primate was not acceptable to Elizabeth who determined to appoint one Adam Loftus, then a chaplain to the Earl of Sussex. Loftus was a young man only twenty-eight years of age, who had made a favourable impression on the queen as well by his beauty as by his learning. Letters were dispatched immediately to the Chapter of Armagh commanding the canons to elect him, but as they refused to obey the order, nothing remained except to appoint him by letters patent (1562). As he dare not visit the greater part of his diocese he applied for and received the Deanship of St. Patrick's, Dublin, and about the same time he became a suitor for his brother that he might get the rectory of Dunboyne. In 1563 Elizabeth thought of changing him to Kildare, and in 1566 the Deputy recommended him for Meath, believing that "he would thankfully receive the exchange, and willingly embase his estate to increase so much his revenue." But Loftus had set his heart on securing the Archbishop of Dublin. Time and again he made the most damaging charges against Curwen so as to secure his removal, although when the removal was arranged he learned to his surprise that the authorities intended to promote not himself, but his fellow-labourer, Hugh Brady of Meath. In April 1566, when he thought that Brady had no chance of succeeding to Dublin, he had recommended him for the appointment, but in September, when he learned that there was danger of his recommendation being followed, he wrote to warn Cecil that "if it would please his honour to pause a while he could show such matter as he would, except it were for the Church of God's sake, be loath to utter by any means, but least of all by writing, upon knowledge whereof the matter, he knows, should go no further." Brady having learned that Loftus had gone to England wrote to Cecil to put him on his guard against believing any charges against him that might be made by the Primate. He returned in November without having succeeded, only to find that Shane O'Neill had overrun his diocese so that it was not worth more than ￡20 a year. He petitioned to be allowed to resign, "for," he said, "neither is it [Armagh] worth anything to me, nor [am] I able to do any good in it, for that altogether it lieth among the Irish." At last in 1567 his wishes were granted, and he became Archbishop of Dublin. But he was still dissatisfied. As the diocese, according to him, was worth only ￡400 (Irish) a year (over ￡30,000) and had only two hundred and forty acres of mensal land, he insisted that he should be allowed to hold with it the Deanship of St. Patrick's, a request, however, that was refused peremptorily by the queen. In Dublin he continued the same policy of grabbing everything for himself, his relatives and dependents until at last the chapter, weary of his importunities, obliged him to promise not to ask for anything more. Fortunately his guarantee was entered in the records, as he appeared soon again to solicit one last favour.
In place of Dr. Walsh of Meath, who refused to take the oath of supremacy, Hugh Brady was appointed (1563). In his letters to Cecil he complained that the payment of his fees and the expenses of the consecration would beggar him, that he was opposed by both the clergy and laity of his diocese in such a stubborn way that he would "rather be a stipendiary priest in England than Bishop of Meath in Ireland," and that unless her Majesty pardoned the debts she was claiming he must lose all hope, as he was very poor and obliged to entertain right royally, "for these people," he wrote, "will have the one or the other, I mean they will either eat my meat and drink or else myself." The relations existing between Loftus of Armagh and the Bishop of Meath were of the most strained kind. When Brady learned that Loftus had been made Dean of St. Patrick's he addressed an indignant protest to Cecil, but as both Loftus and himself aspired to become Archbishop of Dublin, both united to attack Curwen so as to secure his removal. Grave charges were made by Loftus against Brady in 1566, but once he had attained the object of his desires, namely his promotion to Dublin, he had no scruple in attaching his name to a very laudatory commendation of Brady's labours and qualifications (1567).
A certain Dr. Craik was appointed by Elizabeth to Kildare in opposition to Dr. Leverous. The new bishop was far from being content with the honour that had been conferred upon him. Writing to his patron, Lord Robert Dudley, he complained that he was in continual and daily torment owing to the fact that he was bishop in a diocese where he could neither preach to the people nor could the people understand, and where he had no one to assist him. He succeeded in securing for himself the Deanship of St. Patrick's in Dublin, and was a strong suitor for the Bishopric of Meath. Not content with his revenues, he sold most of the episcopal lands in Kildare so that he reduced the diocese "to a most shameful state of poverty." Finally, he went over to England to petition the queen for a remission of his fees, but he was thrown into the Marshalsea prison from which he was released only a few months before his death. Donald Cavenagh was appointed by the queen to Leighlin (1567), where he devoted himself principally to enriching himself by disposing of the diocesan property; and John Devereux, who, according to Loftus, was most unfit owing to the fact that he had been deprived of the Deanship of Ferns "for confessed whoredom," was appointed Bishop of Ferns (1566).
With men such as these in charge of the new religious movement it was almost impossible that it could succeed. In spite of the various royal commissions appointed between the years 1560 and 1564 to secure submission to the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity, the people still clung tenaciously to the old faith. Though Elizabeth and her advisers were anxious to destroy the Catholic religion in Ireland they deemed it imprudent to do so immediately in view of the threatening attitude of O'Neill and of several of the other Irish and Anglo-Irish nobles. In case of the Act of Uniformity it had been laid down expressly that in places where the people did not understand Irish the service might be read in Latin, and as not even the people in Kildare knew English at this time, it followed that outside of Dublin the Book of Common Prayer was not obligatory. Indeed outside Dublin, Meath, Kildare, and portion of Armagh very little attempt seems to have been made to put these laws into execution. From the draft instructions drawn up for Sir Henry Sidney in 1565 it is perfectly clear that outside the Pale territory zealous measures had not been taken to enforce the new doctrines, and that even within the Pale the authorities were not inclined to press matters to extremes. In the various agreements concluded between Shane O'Neill and Elizabeth, O'Neill was not called upon to renounce the Pope. It was thought to be much more prudent to pursue a policy of toleration until the English power could be placed upon a sound footing, and that if this were once accomplished the religious question could be settled without much difficulty.
Although the Lord Deputy was empowered to punish those who refused to attend the English service by imprisonment (1561), he was obliged to report in the following year that the people were "without discipline," and "utterly devoid of religion," that they came "to divine service as to a May game," that the ministers were held in contempt on account of their greediness and want of qualifications, that "the wise fear more the impiety of the licentious professors than the superstition of the erroneous Papists," and that nothing less than a Parliamentary decree rigorously enforced could remedy the evil. The commissioners who had been appointed to enforce the religious innovations reported in 1564 that the people were so addicted to their old superstitions that they could not be induced to hear the new gospel, that the judges and lawyers, however, had promised to enforce the laws, that they had cautioned them not to interfere with the simple multitude at first but only "with one or two boasting Mass men in every shire," and that with the exception of Curwen, Loftus, and Brady, all the rest of the bishops were Irish about whom it was not necessary to say anything more." In a document presented to the privy council in England by the Lord Deputy and council of Ireland (1566) a good account is given of the progress and results of the so- called Reformation. They reported that Curwen, Loftus, and Brady were diligent in their pastoral office, but that "howbeit it [the work] goeth slowly forward within their said three dioceses by reason of the former errors and superstitions inveterated and leavened in the people's hearts, and in [on account of] want of livings sufficient for fit entertainment of well-chosen and learned curates amongst them, for that these livings of cure, being most part appropriated benefices in the queen's majesty's possession, are let by leases to farmers with allowance or reservation of very small stipends or entertainments for the vicars or curates, besides the decay of the chancels, and also of the churches universally in ruins, and some wholly down. And out of their said dioceses, the remote parts of Munster, Connaught, and other Irish countries and borders thereof order cannot yet so well be taken with the residue till the countries be first brought into more civil and dutiful obedience."
In Dublin, where it might be expected that the government could enforce its decrees, the people refused to conform, and even in 1565, after several commissions had finished their labours, it was admitted that the canons and clergy of St. Patrick's were still Papists. From Meath the queen's bishop received such a bad reception that he declared he would much rather have been a stipendiary priest in England than Bishop of Meath. "Oh what a sea of trouble," he wrote, "have I entered into, storms rising on every side; the ungodly lawyers are not only sworn enemies to the truth, but also for the lack of due execution of law, the overthrowers of the country; the ragged clergy are stubborn and ignorantly blind, so as there is left little hope of their amendment; the simple multitude is through continual ignorance hardly to be won so as I find /angustiae undique/." But while Brady was involved in a sea of difficulties, the Catholics of Meath rallied round their lawful bishop, Dr. Walsh. According to the report of Loftus, who ordered his arrest (1565), "he was one of great credit amongst his countrymen, and upon whom as touching causes of religion they wholly depended." Loftus petitioned to be recalled from Armagh because it was not worth anything to him nor was he able to do any good in it, since it lay among the Irish; and Craik, who was appointed to Kildare, announced that he could not address the people because they were not acquainted with the English language, nor had he any Irish clergymen who would assist him in spreading the new gospel.