The Anglo Irish Church
Henry II’s son, Prince John, eventually took over the Ireland campaign. One of his first moves was to give the Diocese of Dublin to his Norman candidate. With it, he gave him grants of land and spiritual jurisdiction. Most notable of which was the area of Glendalough. Taking this off the Irish clergy took years to suppress and get handed over in 1192. It was the start of a clergy war that would last decades. It was a mess of Irish Clergy trying to keep a hold of their positions and rights to succession while the Normans countered by having their nominees often “violently installed” in the positions. Often times, after the Normans would successfully install their own candidate, the candidate would later resign due to not being able to communicate with the Irish locals. You know, because they didn’t speak Irish.
The Irish clergy and the locals needed the backing of the Pope if they wanted any semblance of control over their own country. But the Normans, their armies and the King of England were right at their doorstep and the Pope was a long way away. While he sided with the Irish many times, he sided with the Normans just as much, depending on who he had heard from last.
By 1220, Pope Honorius III was condemning the English customs. The Norman laws were manipulated to discriminate against the natives. Irish Clerics were excluded from ecclesiastical promotion. The Irish were also discriminated against in the administration of justice and controversies over ownership. Inability to speak the invader’s language was enough to ruin an Irish person’s case.
In 1221, Arch-bishop of Cashel, an Irishman, had been kidnapped and hidden away by English magnates with the support of the English King. This kind of thing had become very common. The king put his case forward to the pope that the rules had to be harsh against the Irish as they were so ferocious. He also reminded him that the Normans had moved into the country at the approval of the pope.
There became evidence of two types of churches in Ireland. Dublin, where the most fresh blood was introduced from England on a regular basis, was run the way all corporate papal churches were run on the continent. The rest around Ireland were still in their pre-Norman form, for the most part. They still taught and spread the Catholic word but they didn’t need the protection of the pope for their positions, except if the Normans moved into the area. The division of the corporate church and the Irish church is reflected in the Papal register. Letters sent to the English clergy in Ireland were addressed to Anglia while the Irish clergy were addressed to Hibernia. The divide was very evident.