Denis Fahey - Maria Duce

Maria Duce

Fahey had been closely involved with Edward Cahill's An Ríoghacht study group, although following Cahill's death in 1941 this organisation became more mainstream and less concerned with conspiracy theories. As a result, Fahey began to organise his own group, Maria Duce, the following year to continue this work. With a membership drawn from various facets of society and with a programme largely the same as Fahey's, Maria Duce came to prominence in 1949 by launching a campaign to amend Article 44 of the Constitution of Ireland. This article had recognised the "special position" of the Catholic Church in Ireland although it also recognized various Protestant creeds, as well as Judaism. Ireland became the first country to recognise the rights of minority faiths such as Judaism as equal with the majority faith in its constitution. Fahey argued that this was insufficient and that the Constitution should recognize the Catholic Church as being divinely ordained and separate from 'man-made' religions. Fahey called into question the loyalty of Irish Jews to the Irish State. The campaign succeeded in securing a resolution of support from Westmeath county council in 1950, but no further progress towards the goal of a constitutional amendment was made.

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Maria Duce

Maria Duce (Latin for " Mary Leader") was a small ultra-conservative Catholic group in Ireland, founded in 1945 by Fr Denis Fahey.

The group's principal aim was to embed Catholic doctrine in the legal structure of the Irish state, including recognition of the Catholic Church as the established church of Ireland, as it had been in Spain until 1931. This latter step had been contemplated during the drafting of √Čamon de Valera's 1937 Constitution of Ireland, but it was ultimately rejected in recognition of the obstacle posed by Ireland's relatively large Protestant minority. It did emphasise the "special position" of the church, with no specific legal entitlements.

Though Maria Duce's membership probably did not much exceed one hundred, its monthly journal Fiat enjoyed a fairly wide circulation in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The movement was not encouraged by the Irish bishops, who viewed its extremism with suspicion and desired not to become associated with Fr. Fahey's writings and statements. It was ordered to change its name by the Church authorities in 1955, a year after Fahey's death, by the Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid (a former pupil of Fahey's and a fellow member of the Holy Ghost Fathers), in order to make it clear that it did not have official Church approval. As Firinne it remained in existence until the early 1970s, publishing FIAT and organising pilgrimages to Fr. Fahey's grave in the belief that he would one day be canonised as a saint.

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