Conflicting loyalties: the Irish Franciscans and the English Crown in the High Middle Ages
Muller, Anne (Catholic University, Eichstätt)
Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Vol. 107C, (2007)
This paper seeks to identify the ways in which religious orders dealt with the problem of conflicting loyalties in the medieval period in Ireland. The English crown expected the Franciscan community to play a vital part in the Anglicisa tion of the Irish church, usually by way of nominating members of the order to episcopal sees. These appointments could have considerable implications from a political point of view and often resulted in ethnic divisions among the Franciscan bishops. Furthermore, from the second generation of friars onwards, the problem of conflicting loyalties spread to the Franciscan communities in Ireland. In addition to these issues, this article will examine how both the order’s own authorities and the secular rulers reacted to disobedience and divided loyalties. The aim of the ecclesiastical authorities was to restore unity to the Franciscan order in this fringe province, while the intention of the English crown was to weaken the influ-ence of the Irish faction within the order, especially in the English colony.