Edward Clancy (cardinal)

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Styles of
Edward Clancy
Coat of arms of Edward Bede Clancy.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Sydney (emeritus)

Edward Bede Clancy, AC (born 13 December 1923) is an Australian Roman Catholic bishop. Clancy was the seventh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, from 1983 to 2001. He was made Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Vallicella in 1988.

Early life and ordination[edit]

Clancy was born in Lithgow, New South Wales on 13 December 1923. He has stated that he wanted to be a priest from an early age and that he celebrated his first Mass while still a child, to the amusement of his brother and sisters. After completing his studies at Marist Brothers College, Parramatta, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1949, the same year as Australian Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy.

Priest and bishop[edit]

Clancy continued his education, eventually earning his doctorate in theology in 1965. He then started as a teacher and later accepting the position of chaplain at the University of Sydney. He also served as the official spokesperson for the archdiocese at this time and became very well known on that basis.

On 19 January 1974, he was ordained titular Bishop of Árd Carna and Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney.

Archbishop and cardinal[edit]

On 24 November 1978, he was appointed Archbishop of Canberra (and Goulburn). In the little over four years that he was Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Clancy was respected by the people of Canberra Goulburn as a very friendly and approachable archbishop who was also very supportive of his people and his priests. He had a great rapport with young people in the archdiocese.

On 12 February 1983 he was appointed Archbishop of Sydney and on 28 June 1988 he was elevated to cardinal. He also continued his education career throughout this time, becoming the Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University in 1992.

Major work on St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney took place under his episcopacy. In 1999 a substantial new pipe organ was built by Orgues Létourneau Ltée of Montreal, Québec. In the year 2000 the spires of the cathedral were finally completed.

During his term as archbishop the neo-Gothic diocesan seminary of St Patrick's at Manly (founded by Cardinal Patrick Moran in 1889) was closed with an international catering school renting the property. A new seminary, the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, has been opened in the inner-western Sydney suburb of Homebush.

Abuse scandal[edit]

His tenure was not without controversy because of allegations surrounding the abuse scandal within his diocese.[citation needed]


After his retirement as archbishop, in the period from 21 October (when George Pell was made cardinal) until his own 80th birthday on 13 December 2003, there were three Australian cardinal electors (had a papal election become necessary) including George Pell and Edward Cassidy.

Cardinal Clancy is a Fellow of Warrane College UNSW.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Edward Bede Clancy", Biography Resource Center Online. Gale Group, 2001.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Thomas Cahill
Archbishop of Canberra – Goulburn
1978 – 1983
Succeeded by
Francis Carroll
Preceded by
James Darcy Freeman
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney
1983 – 2001
Succeeded by
George Pell