English Liturgy

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXV

All efforts to establish the new religion during this reign was equally unsuccessful. On Easter Sunday, A.D. 1551, the liturgy was read for the first time in the English tongue, in Christ Church Cathedral. As a reward for his energy in introducing the reform in general, and the liturgy in particular, Edward VI. annexed the primacy of all Ireland to the see of Dublin by Act of Parliament. There was one insuperable obstacle, however, in the way of using the English tongue, which was simply that the people did not understand it. Even the descendants of the Anglo-Norman were more familiar with the Celtic dialect, and some attempt was made at this time to procure a Latin translation of the Protestant communion service.[7]

Dr. Dowdall had been appointed, in 1543, to the primatial see of Armagh, by Henry VIII., who naturally hoped he would prove a ready instrument in his service ;but, to the surprise of the court, he put himself at the head of the orthodox party, and was one of the most faithful opposers of the introduction of the Protestant form of prayer. In 1552 he was obliged to seek refuge on the Continent. On the death of Dr. Wauchop, petitions were sent to Rome, requesting his appointment to the see of Armagh. He was proposed in Consistory on the 1st of March, 1553.


[7] Service.—Shirley's Original Letters, p. 47. Dr. Browne gives an account of his signal failures in attempting to introduce the Protestant form of prayer in his letters to Cromwell. He says one prebendary of St. Patrick's "thought scorn to read them." He adds: "They be in a manner all the same point with me. There are twenty-eight of them, and yet scarce one that favoureth God's Word."—State Papers, vol. iii. p. 6.