William G. Fallon, in The Joyce We Knew, ed. Ulick O’Connor (Cork: Mercier Press 1967; Brandon 2004), pp.39-59.

[…] I think it appropriate to mention here a few observations or what I knew of Joyce’s religious attitude as a schoolboy and a student. Stanislaus Joyce has recorded in his Dublin Diary of August 1904 that ‘Jim had ceased to believe in Catholicism for many years’. This to my mind is an unjustifiable conclusion. It shows an inability to distinguish between commonplace irreverence or negligence and dogmatic disbelief.

I remember very well at University College that Jim continued to attend to his religious duties. He was a member of the College Sodality. This included going to Confession and Communion. He was also a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Academy. His sister, Sister Gertrude, who had become a nun in New Zealand , corresponded with me until her death in March 1964. She had exchanged letters with her brother, Jim, until his death in 1941. She prayed constantly for him during his lifetime and after his death.

I often think that Joyce would have been attracted to Teilhard de Chardin’s interpretation of Catholicism, joyce with his H.C.E. (Here Comes Everybody) who revolves in four cycles of human evolution. Perhaps Joyce got only halfway there. Teilhard’s notion that man is progressing, that science and astronomy all converge on the infinite, would, Ibelieve, have greatly appealed to that side of Joyce’s character which I feel was spiritual. (p.49.)

[On not going to Trinity:] At University College, at least, he would realise how native traditions and culture, held in common, were the bonds that linked his Dublin with the provinces. That revelation was Joyce’s simple conception of Irish nationalism, but in the awakening political enthusiasm of those years he was wholly disinterested. (Fallon, p.50; note ftn: ‘But Joyce took a keen interest in Arthur Griffith’s Sinn Féin and thought it the only political group likely to succeed – Editor’s note [i.e., Ulick O’Connor].

Mentions Rory O’Connor (of ‘the Civil War’) as one of the talent of the L & H. [51]

Note: Fallon’s contribution was written specially for the book.

 

[ back ]
[ top ]