John T. Mullock

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The Right Reverend
John T. Mullock
Mullock 550.jpg
Archdiocese Archdiocese of St. John's
Predecessor Michael Anthony Fleming
Successor Thomas James Power
Personal details
Birth name John Thomas Mullock
Born 27 September 1807
Limerick, Co. Limerick, Ireland
Died 26 March 1869
St. John's, Newfoundland
Buried Basilica of St. John the Baptist
Nationality  Ireland
Denomination Roman Catholic
Alma mater St. Isidore's College
Styles of
John T. Mullock
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Right Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style none

John Thomas Mullock (September 27, 1807 – March 26, 1869) was Roman Catholic bishop of St. John's, Newfoundland and did much to establish and develop the church in the region. Born in Limerick, Co. Limerick, Ireland, he died in St. John's and is buried in the crypt of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist.

Academic Life[edit]

Mullock became a Franciscan in 1825, having been educated at St. Bonaventure's College, Seville. He went on to St. Isidore's College, Rome, where, in 1829, he was ordained priest. After long service in Ireland — at Ennis, Cork, and Dublin — he was appointed, in 1847, coadjutor with right of succession to Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming of St. John's, Newfoundland, and was consecrated by Cardinal Fransoni on 27 December 1847, at St. Isidore's, Rome.

Life of Bishop[edit]

In July, 1850, he succeeded Bishop Fleming. The church made great progress in Newfoundland during the episcopate of Dr. Mullock, a new diocese, Harbour Grace, being erected. The splendid cathedral of St. John's, begun in 1841, was consecrated on 9 September 1855. He also opened in 1857 St Bonaventure's, a school for middle-class boys, a new episcopal palace and library, eleven convents, and numerous churches.

He took a keen interest in the commercial development of Newfoundland, and was most enthusiastic about its natural resources. He was frequently consulted by the Governor on matters relating to the welfare of the country, and many of his suggestions relating to the fisheries and other matters were adopted. Before leaving Ireland he was a frequent contributor to the periodical literature of the day, and took an active part in the Irish literary movement of the 1840s.

Long before the first attempts to lay a submarine cable across the Atlantic was made (1857), Dr. Mullock had on several occasions publicly propounded the feasibility of connecting Europe with North America by means of submarine telegraph. A good linguist in Spanish, French, and Italian, he was the first to bring before the English-speaking world the life and works of the great Saint Alphonsus Maria Liguori, publishing his Life at Dublin in 1846, and in the following year a translation of the saint's History of Heresies and their Refutation. In 1847 appeared at Dublin his Short History of the Irish Franciscan Province translated from the Latin work of Francis Ward; he also wrote The Cathedral of St. John's, Newfoundland and its consecration (Dublin, 1856) and published "Two Lectures on Newfoundland"(New York, 1860).

Unlike his great predecessor, Bishop Fleming, he regarded himself as a Newfoundlander, and not just an Irish missionary, and was eager to profess local nuns and ordain local priests. Believing that "It is the duty of a Bishop to aid and advise his people in all thaeir struggles for justice" he took an active part in political life and did not scruple to use his religious position to bring about desirable political reforms.

When in 1852 the Colonial Office refused to grant responsible government to Newfoundland he denounced it in extreme terms in a published letter. He and his priests became active and open supporters of the Liberal Party which became the government when responsible government was granted in 1855. But he soon became disillusioned with politicians "who take care of themselves, and do nothing for the people". When the government finally fell, he nevertheless urged Catholics to vote for it, probably because the Anglican Bishop Edward Feild had endorsed the Conservatives. In the ensuing election and its aftermath he pursued a somewhat inflammatory course culminating in his putting the inhabitants of Cat's Cove under the Episcopal Ban for political actions which displeased him.

However, in his later years he threw his influence on the side of order, reminding his people that "the powers that be are ordained of God". His actions had always sprung from generous motives, and were not unusual in Ireland in the nineteenth century. A kindly, hospitable man, greatly respected for his religious actions, he was yet indignant at what he saw as any insult to his community. When he died the Governor, Sir Anthony Musgrave, attended the Requiem Mass, all the flags flew at half-mast, and all the shops closed. He and his contemporary Feild, the Anglican Bishop, were among the most influential people in nineteenth century Newfoundland.

External links[edit]