Mahony, Connor (DNB00)
MAHONY, CONNOR, CORNELIUS, or CONSTANTINE, called also Cornelius à Sancto Patricio (fl. 1650), Irish jesuit, was born in Muskerry, co. Cork. He resided at Lisbon, and Patrick Plunkett, titular bishop of Ardagh, and subsequently of Meath, made his acquaintance there between 1650 and 1660. John Serjeant, an English secular priest, who studied at Lisbon, also met him there. Both to Plunkett and Serjeant Mahony owned himself author of the small book which has alone preserved his memory, and to the former he gave a copy. The title-page of this volume is ‘Disputatio Apologetica de Jure Regni Hiberniæ pro Catholicis Hibernis adversus hæreticos Anglos. Authore C. M. Hiberno Artium et Sacræ Theologiæ Magistro. Accessit ejusdem authoris ad eosdem Catholicos exhortatio. Francofurti Superiorum permissu typis Bernardi Govrani. Anno Domini 1645,’ 4to.
The object of these treatises, which were really printed at Lisbon, is to claim Ireland for the Irish in the strictest sense, and to show that the kings of England had no right to it. ‘The Irish Catholics,’ says Mahony (p. 98), ‘had a perfect right to cast off the heretic government as they did in 1641, and are still doing while I write. … The Portuguese did the same thing for the same reason in 1640, and chose for themselves King John IV, hitherto Duke of Braganza.’ And he strongly advises the Irish (p. 103) ‘never again to admit the yoke of English heretics, but to elect a Catholic King for themselves, who should also be a vernacular or aboriginal Irishman—vernaculum seu naturalem Hibernum.’ The natives were exhorted to kill heretics, and to drive out even Irishmen who gave them any help.
In 1647, or perhaps earlier, some copies of this inflammatory book reached Ireland through France or direct from Portugal. One was found with John Bane, parish priest of Athlone, and the nuncio Rinuccini was called upon by the confederate catholics at Kilkenny to punish him. This the nuncio refused to do; but they had the book burned by the common hangman, and rigorous search for copies was made at Galway. Peter Walsh, by command of the supreme council, preached nine sermons running against it in Kilkenny Cathedral, all on the text Jer. ix. 12: ‘Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth?’ Rinuccini says (1 Oct. 1647): ‘The great outcry was roused by the judges and lawyers, who abhor the proposition that the heretical king is not a legitimate sovereign, because this would bring overwhelming ruin on all who hold ecclesiastical property from him.’ Complaints of Mahony's book were lodged at Lisbon by an English priest (perhaps John Serjeant). King John condemned it in December 1647, and it was made penal to possess a copy (Gilbert, i. 739). The author is described as ‘Constantine Mahun, an Irishman … of the Company of Jesus called Cornelius of St. Patrick.’ In the National Congregation of the Roman catholic clergy held in Dublin in June 1666, Walsh procured a unanimous decision in favour of burning the ‘Apologia,’ but it may be doubted whether this was done.
[Peter Walsh's Hist. of the Remonstrance, 1674, pt. ii. sec. xxii.; Rinuccini's Embassy in Ireland, Engl. transl., Dublin, 1873; Irenæi [Belling's] Vindiciæ Catholicorum Hiberniæ, Paris, 1650, lib. ii.; Contemporary Hist. of Affairs in Ireland, ed. Gilbert, vol. i.; Carte's Ormonde, bk. iv.; Smith's Hist. of Cork, bk. iii. ch. v.]