Franciscan priest and theologian of church-state relations in Ireland; b. Moortown, County Kildare, c. 1615;d. London, March 15, 1688. He studied as a Franciscan cleric in St. Anthony's College, Louvain. On returning to Ireland (1639), he was appointed to teach philosophy and later (1647) theology in Kilkenny, the seat of the Catholic Confederation. In 1647 he was suspended from preaching and disciplined for supporting Nuncio Giovanni Battista rinuccini's opponents. In 1648, after the Inchiquin Truce, he sided openly with those bishops and priests who resisted Rinuccini's censure. When the schism resulting from Redmond caron's visitation of the Irish Franciscans ended in 1650 with the submission of Caron and his supporters (Walsh's followers), Walsh himself did not submit. Having lived in hiding in England during the Puritan rule, in January 1661 he was named London procurator of the Irish clergy. He was sent the Remonstrance formulated in Dublin in December 1661 by a group of mostly lay Anglo-Irish Catholics to present to Charles II and James Butler, 12th Earl and 1st Duke of Ormond. This Remonstrance contained a formal statement of grievances, a protestation of allegiance (the part generally known as the Remonstrance), and a petition for protection from persecution. The protestation of allegiance was objectionable because it was disrespectful to the pope and Holy See, and it repudiated the indirect power of the pope in the temporal realm. At Ormond's insistence, Walsh spent the next five years in an intensive but unsuccessful campaign, involving a national synod (1666), to persuade the Irish clergy to sign the Remonstrance. He was excommunicated in 1670 when, despite frequent warnings, he went too far. The remainder of his life was spent in England, devoting much time to writing books and pamphlets in defense of the Remonstrance. He did not embrace Protestantism. On March 13, 1688, shortly before his death, he signed a recantation and submission to the Holy See. He was a well-educated man of keen intellect, and a fluent speaker given to loquacity—he was born for political intrigue. He was not ambitious or immoral in the accepted sense. His writings are egotistical, and his pride and stubbornness explain his insubordination. His most valuable publication is The History and Vindication of the Loyal Formulary or Irish Remonstrance.
Bibliography: r. bagwell, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 1885–1900; repr. with corrections, 21 v., 1908–09, 1921–22, 1938; suppl. 1901–) 20:675–681. b. millett, The Irish Franciscans, 1651–1665 (Rome 1964), 418–463, 502–503. Father Luke Wadding: Commemorative Volume (Dublin 1957) 190–191, 200, 201–223. j. ware, The History and Antiquities of Ireland … with the History of the Writers of Ireland, ed. w. harris, 2 v. in 1 (Dublin 1764) 195–198. d. g. wing, Short-title Catalogue of Books Printed in England … 1641–1700 3 v. (New York 1945–51) 3:447–448. m. j. hynes, The Mission of Rinuccini (Dublin 1932). Collectanea Hibernica 1 (1958) 117, 119, 124:3 (1960) passim; 6 (1963) passim; 7 (1964) passim. Archivium Hibernicum 24 (1961) 173–183, 194; 25 (1962) passim; 26 (1963) 36. j. brennan, "A Gallican Interlude in Ireland: The Irish Remonstrance of 1661" The Irish Thrological Quarterly 24 (1957) 219–237, 283–309.