Translating the Vatican: Paul Cullen, power and language in nineteenth-century Ireland
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Anne O'Connor (2014) 'Translating the Vatican: Paul Cullen, power and language in nineteenth-century Ireland'. Irish Studies Review, 22 (4):450-465.
This paper examines how one of the most influential figures in nineteenth-century Ireland, Cardinal Paul Cullen, used language and translation to further his career and his vision for the Catholic Church in this period. It shows how Cullen's language skills served him throughout his life in his role as an agent and liaison, a linking figure between different worlds. The paper demonstrates how Cullen's linguistic abilities and translations gave an early jump-start to his career and subsequently expanded his sphere of influence from the confines of the Vatican to the vast expanses of the Catholic English-speaking world. Through language, Cullen positioned himself as a vital conduit for Irish–Vatican relations and came to be the dominant force in Irish Catholicism for almost thirty years, connecting Ireland to Rome and translating his ambitions and those of the Vatican into reality in Ireland. The paper will demonstrate how language was a forceful tool for change and an instrument of power when wielded by Cullen.