IRISH ARTICLES: The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England were not introduced in Ireland till the time of Charles I. In their place a shorter collection of eleven articles was published in 1566 by authority of the deputy and the archbishops and bishops. At the first convocation of the Irish Episcopal Church (1613-15) a series of 104 articles was adopted and approved by the deputy in 1615, which was probably composed by James Ussher, then at the head of the theological faculty in Dublin (afterward archbishop of Armagh). They are important as proving the decided Calvinism of the Irish Church at that time, and still more so as the connecting link between the Thirty-nine Articles and the Westminster Confession, and as the chief source of the latter, "as is evident from the general order, the headings of chapters and subdivisions, and the almost literal agreement of language in the statement of several of the most important doctrines." By a decree of the convocation, the teaching of any doctrine contrary to these articles was forbidden. But the Irish convocation of 1635, under the lead of the Earl of Strafford, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and his chaplain, John Bramhall, formally adopted the Thirty-nine Articles, and quietly ignored the others. Archbishop Ussher required subscription to both. Eventually, however, the Irish articles were lost eight of, and no mention was made of them, when, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the United Church of England and Ireland was organized.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, i. 662-665, iii. 526-544, New York, 1877; T. Olden, The Church of Ireland, 323-324, 342-344, 352-354, Lonon, 1892.


IRREGULARITY: In canon law, a defect or impediment which excludes a person otherwise qualified from due reception or exercise of holy orders. Canonists divide these into two classes, irregularities through defect and through fault. Under the former come (1) those through natal defects, affecting all who are not born of a legitimate or at least a putative marriage, and removable by subsequent legitimation or by taking monastic vows. (2) Through bodily defects, affecting those whom illness or mutilation has rendered incapable of performing sacred functions, or of performing them without lowering the dignity of the office or giving offense to the people. (3) Through defects in age, when the canonical age (q.v.) has not been attained. (4) Through defects in knowledge, when the requisite knowledge for the order in question is lacking. (5) Through defects of faith, affecting neophytes and those not yet confirmed, who are presumably insufficiently established in the faith. (6) Through sacramental defects, arising from certain conditions in regard to a previous marriage of the candidate. (7) Ex defectu perfectae lenitatis, attaching to those who (though in a lawful way) have contributed to the death or maiming of a fellow-man, such as soldiers, criminal judges, prosecutors, jurymen, or witnesses, but not physicians and surgeons. (8) Through defects in reputation. (9) Through defects in the matter of liberty, preventing the ordination of slaves without their masters' consent, married men without that of their wives, or guardians and trustees before release from their obligations. Irregularity through faults occurs as a consequence of criminal acts publicly known or proved before a court or of certain misdeeds, even if not known; the latter include the killing or maiming of another person, heresy, apostasy, abuse of the sacraments of baptism or orders; and the same effect is produced


by what is technically known as constructive bigamy, the marriage (if consummated) with any woman not a virgin, which, though not forbidden by ordinary law, is yet considered a sufficient declension from the ideal of marriage (cf. Lev. xxi. 13, 14) to disqualify a man for ordination. In case a man has been ordained in spite of his irregularity, his orders are valid, but he is not permitted to exercise them. Dispensation from irregularity can be granted as a rule by the pope alone?only in some exceptional cases by the bishop.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bingham. Origines, IV., iii.-vii.; L. Thomassin, Vetus et nova ecclesiae disciplina, II., i. 62-63, 3 vols., Paris, 1728; F. E. a Boenninghausen, Tractatus juridicocanonicus de irregularitatibus, part iii.. Münster, 1867; P. Hinschius, Das Kirchenrecht . . . in Deutschland, i. 7 sqq., Berlin. 1869; E. Friedberg, Lehrbuch des . . . Kirchenrechts, pp. 134 sqq., Leipsic, 1895.


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely