During the eighteenth century the major problem confronting the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland was that of survival. Throughout most of the century the Irish Catholic clergy had to live and work under a code of laws designed to destroy the ecclesiastical organization of their church and, thereby, to end Catholic religious observances in Ireland. In their effects, however, the Popery laws failed their purpose. Ireland was not transformed into a state, “Protestant and past all danger of relapsing again into Popery.” In all of their respective parts, the laws against priests were impossible to enforce, perhaps never even meant to be enforced. Although the laws were sufficiently enforced to affect profoundly Catholic religious institutions and religious practices, Ireland's Catholic environment was never destroyed and never replaced by a Protestant one. The Irish language, divisions among Protestants, self-interest, jobbery, politics, missed opportunities, and stupidity combined to prevent rigorous enforcement of the laws and to frustrate the missionary and educational schemes planned by the leaders of the Established Church.