Wolfe Tone and Leo McCabe

Published in Issue 1 (Spring 1998), Letters, Letters, Volume 6

Sir,—In 1938 a book was published entitled Wolfe Tone and the UnitedIrishmen—for or against Christ?, under the name of Leo McCabe. Sometimebefore that another book by the same author was published that dealtwith Henry VIII and the English Reformation. The theme of the 1938 bookwas that Irish separatism from the time of Tone onwards was part of aJudeo-Masonic-Communist conspiracy to destroy Christianity,particularly Catholicism. There was nothing new in that; in theprevious century a Monsignor Dillon wrote a book in which he claimedthat Fenianism was part of a world-wide Masonic plot directed by LordPalmerston with the principal aims of overthrowing the Habsburg Empireand the Papal States. While much in vogue in Catholic circles beforethe last war, the conspiracy theory was by no means a monopoly of theCatholic right-wing, there were Protestant versions of it going back tothe time of Titus Oates that placed the Catholic Church as the sourceof all evil; it is at present the stock-in-trade of NorthernPaisleyites. While people like McCabe and Dillon used the conspiracytheory to attack modern Irish nationalism, yet it had its devotees inthe nationalist camp as well; they would simply reverse the formula andplace the British Empire in the anti-Catholic Masonic camp.
It has been claimed that the name ‘Leo McCabe’ was a pseudonym usedby a Maynooth clerical student at that time. Can anyone tell me who wasthe real Leo McCabe and furnish details of his subsequent career?—
Yours etc.,
Co. Dublin


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