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!! Ballina Chronicle; March 27, 1850; The Burial of Constable Greer

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    BALLINA CHRONICLE Ballina, Mayo, Ireland Wednesday, March 27, 1850 PRIESTLY INTOLERANCE Father O Neill of fighting notoriety is once more before the public in
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 15, 2005
      Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
      Wednesday, March 27, 1850


      Father O'Neill of fighting notoriety is once more before the public in
      another though no less creditable phase of character. His holy oil, more
      harmless than his "skull-cracker," has lately been in requisition to secure
      a safe transit form this world for a poor deluded heretic. The reverend
      minister, however, is not an exception among his brethren. The desire to
      gain converts is deeply and universally inculcated in the Romish church. The
      edict has gone forth. By every means and at every point those who have
      protested against the errors of that church must be assailed; every
      advantage must be taken and exulted over as a victory achieved. An end is to
      be accomplished and that end justifies the means and the means are regulated
      by the circumstances of the times and the country. Nothing is deemed too
      trifling to gain and therefore we find the priest hastening whenever he can
      to the unconscious dying Protestant to perform an useless and unscriptural
      rite, that he may glory over what he considers to be a successful thrust at
      the Protestant cause. Frequently have instances come before our notice of
      emissaries from Rome obtaining access through a servant or other friendly
      person to the bed side of a Protestant in a dying state unconscious of what
      was going on, and there use the "holy oil" and then claim the dead as a true
      convert to the Roman Catholic faith; but never have we heard of a more
      barefaced and unchristian transaction than that recorded by a correspondent
      of the Sligo Guardian which we here give as an additional instance of
      Priestly intolerance and as a cautionary example:-
      A Police Constable named Greer, a native of Antrim, and a Protestant,
      was attacked by paralysis during the assizes and placed under Dr. Homan's
      care, until the night of the 18th inst. when a sudden fit of convulsions
      deprived him of life.
      The Rev. Samuel Shone, curate of this parish accompanied the police to
      the cemetery, and when about performing the burial service, was strangely
      interrupted by the celebrated fighting priest O'Neill, who followed by a
      large assemblage of pickpockets and low ruffians, insisted on his right of
      burying the constable, because, forsooth, on the evening of his death, when
      inward agony had deprived him of all consciousness, he gave him some holy
      oil! as a passport to another world, at the instigation of some country girl
      to whom the deceased had been clandestinely married some time previous.
      The scene that followed baffles all description. The police officer was
      asked by the priest with that calm dignity and angelic expression of
      countenance peculiar to the son of the church, "would he dare to stop him,"
      and the motley group shouted out a savage negative-stones were flung, and a
      constable had to be sent for Capt. Whelan.
      During the interim the light-fingered gentry had a rich harvest from
      the pockets of the few respectable persons present, and the search for
      handkerchiefs, shouts of "O'Neill for ever," "save the poor peeler from the
      devil," only equalled the similar scenes now and then enacted in Dingle.
      While the presiding genius of the affray, "grinned horribly a ghastly
      smile," as he awaited the decision of the authorities.
      I cannot tell how it occurred, but brute force was triumphant - a
      Northern Protestant was consigned to a popish grave, without a single
      relative near him, and the feeling of his comrades may be learned from the
      words of one to whom I spoke on the matter. - "Poor Greer, when I was in
      church with him at the assizes I little thought a priest would bury him." -
      Further comment is useless.

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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