The Young Priest's Keepsake eBook

Michael D. Phelan
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 98 pages of information about The Young Priest's Keepsake.

[Side note:  Law]

We are as essentially a race of lawyers as the Jews are a race of moneylenders.

For eleven years I watched the sons of Irish parents going from an Australian college to professional careers.  Ninety-eight per cent., following the natural bent of their minds, turned to the lawyer’s office.

From the year 1858 to the present hour the robes of Victoria’s Chief Justice have been uninterruptedly worn by Irishmen.  From 1873 the Chief Justiceship of New South Wales has been exclusively held by sons of the green isle.  But, above all, turn to the lawyers’ streets in the new worlds of America and Australia and see the amazing number of brass plates adorned with O’s and Mac’s.

[Side note:  Politics]

The political organisations in the labour world of England to-day are mainly captained by Irishmen.  Two of them have been sent to Parliament, and two more will probably join them in the next Parliament.

The rapidity with which the Irish emigrant, following the law of natural selection, plunges into politics has passed into a proverb in America and furnished a humorous parody on a well-known stanza:—­

 “There came to the beach a poor exile of Erin,
    The dew on his thin robe was heavy and chill,
  The ship that had brought him scarce from harbour was steerin’,
    When Senator Mike was presenting a Bill.”

[Side note:  Theology]

The great Cardinal Franzelin said to one of his most distinguished pupils[2]—­“As a professor of theology at Rome for many years I had every day opportunities of studying the character and mental equipment of various nations, and, though in favour of the Germans, I give it as my opinion that the Irish, as a race, have the most theological minds of any people.”  Judgment from such an authority is conclusive.

[2] Dr. Croke, late Archbishop of Cashel.

The first essential for a preacher is the power of lucid reasoning.  That this faculty is ours is now abundantly established.  The next talent requisite is imagination.  That we have imagination, often teeming in tropical luxuriance, but shared in great or less degree by all, has never been questioned.  One more requisite and the oratorical outfit is complete.

[Side note:  Sensibility]

On this score it is sufficient to say that we are Celts, endowed with the ardent nervous temperaments.  But suffering has given to ours an acute refinement that nothing else could impart.

    “Never soul could know its powers
     Until sorrow swept its chords.”

“We give preference to Jews and Irishmen on our staff,” said the proprietor of a leading journal.  “Both have suffered, and a man with a grievance writes passionately.  He dips the pen into his own heart and electric energy thrills his sentences; hence the crisp pungency and compressed fire of our columns.”

What gift that goes to make an orator has God denied us?  Reason, fancy, passion, a pathos and humour where the smile trembles on the borderland of tears.

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Project Gutenberg
The Young Priest's Keepsake from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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