Patrick Francis Moran

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His Eminence
Patrick Francis Moran
Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney
Patrick Cardinal Moran.jpg
Portrait of Cardinal Moran, taken in Brisbane, Queensland circa 1900
Archdiocese Sydney
Installed 1884
Term ended 1911
Predecessor Roger Vaughan
Successor Michael Kelly
Other posts Bishop of Ossory 1872–1884
Ordination 19 March 1853 (Priest)
Consecration 5 March 1872 (Bishop)
Created Cardinal 27 July 1885
Rank Cardinal priest of S. Susanna
Personal details
Born 16 September 1830
Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Ireland
Died 16 August 1911(1911-08-16) (aged 80)
Sydney, Australia
Buried St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney
Nationality Irish
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Parents Patrick Moran and Alicia Mary Cullen
Alma mater Irish College, Rome
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}

Patrick Francis Moran (16 September 1830 – 16 August 1911) was the third Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney[1] and the first Australian cardinal. [2]


Moran was born at Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Ireland in 1830. His mother and father died by the time he was 11 years old. In 1842, at the age of twelve, he left Ireland to pursue studies for the priesthood at the minor seminary and then major seminary in Rome at the Pontifical Irish College.

Moran was considered so intellectually bright that he gained his doctorate by acclamation. Among the principal objectors was Cardinal Gioacchino Pecci, the future Pope Leo XIII, who was impressed by the genius of the Irish student.

Moran was appointed vice-rector at the Irish College and also took the chair of Hebrew at Propaganda Fide. He was also some-time vice-rector of the Scots College in Rome. In 1866 Moran was appointed secretary to his mother's half-brother, Cardinal Paul Cullen. Moran was also appointed professor of scripture at Clonliffe College, Dublin. He founded the "Irish Ecclesiastical Record" (on which he later modelled the "Australasian Catholic Record").

In 1869 he accompanied Cardinal Cullen to the First Vatican Council, a council also attended by Melbourne's then first archbishop, James Alipius Goold. While in Rome and Ireland he was very active politically in opposing English Benedictine plans for monastic foundations undergirding the Catholic Church in Australia.

Moran was appointed coadjutor bishop of Ossory on 22 December 1871 and was consecrated on 5 March 1872 in Dublin by his uncle Cardinal Paul Cullen. On the death of Edward Walsh he succeeded as Bishop of Ossory on 11 August 1872.[1]

Statue of Cardinal Moran at St Mary's Cathedral

He was personally chosen and promoted by Pope Leo XIII to head the Archdiocese of Sydney – a clear policy departure from the previous English Benedictine incumbents (Polding, Vaughan) who were experiencing tension leading the predominantly Irish-Australian Catholics. Moran was appointed to Australia on 25 January 1884 and arrived on 8 September 1884. He was created Cardinal-Priest on 27 July 1885 of the title of St Susanna. The new Irish-Australian cardinal made it his business to make his presence and leadership felt.

In the year 1886 it is estimated that Moran travelled 2500 miles over land and sea, visiting all the dioceses of New Zealand. In 1887 he travelled 6000 miles to consecrate fellow Irishman Matthew Gibney at Perth.[3] He also travelled to Ballarat, Bathurst, Bendigo, Hobart, Goulburn, Lismore, Melbourne and Rockhampton for the consecration of their cathedrals.

During his episcopate, Moran consecrated 14 bishops (he was the principal consecrator of William Walsh, Michael Verdon, Patrick Vincent Dwyer, Armand Olier and also assisted in consecrating Patrick Clune, among others). He ordained nearly 500 priests, dedicated more than 5000 churches and professed more than 500 nuns. He made five journeys to Rome on church business between 1885 and 1903, but did not attend the 1903 conclave because of the relatively short notice and the distance.

From 1900 to 1901, Moran's leadership survived a crisis when his personal secretary, Denis O'Haran, was named as co-respondent in the divorce case of the cricketer Arthur Coningham. Moran vigorously defended O'Haran and a jury found in his favour.

Moran did not participate in the papal conclave of 1903 because he was unable to reach Rome within ten days of the death of Pope Leo XIII.

Moran died in Manly, Sydney, in August 1911, aged 80. A quarter of a million people (the largest crowd ever to gather in Australia until that date) witnessed his funeral procession through the centre of Sydney. He is buried in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.


  • "Memoir of the Most Rev. Oliver Plunkett" (1861)
  • "Essays on the Origin, etc., of the Early Irish Church"
  • "History of the Catholic Archbishops of Dublin" (1864)
  • "Historical Sketch of the Persecutions, etc., under Cromwell and the Puritans" (1866)
  • "Acta S. Brendani" (1872)
  • "Monasticon Hibernicum" 2 vols. by Mervyn Archdall, as editor (1873)
  • "Spicilegium Ossoriense, being a Collection of Documents to illustrate the History of the Irish Church from the Reformation to the Year 1800" (3 vols., 4to, 1879)
  • a volume of poems entitled "Fragmentary Thoughts"
  • "The Federal Government of Australasia,"
  • "Letters on the Anglican Reformation" (1890).[2]


  1. ^ a b Miranda, Salvador. "Francis Patrick Moran". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Mennell, Philip (1892). "Wikisource link to Moran, His Eminence Patrick Francis, Cardinal". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource
  3. ^ Gibney, Matthew (1835–1925) Biographical Entry – Australian Dictionary of Biography Online at

Further reading[edit]

  • Philip Ayres, Prince of the Church: Patrick Francis Moran, 1830–1911, Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, 2007.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Edward Walsh
Bishop of Ossory
Succeeded by
Abraham Brownrigg
Preceded by
Roger Bede Vaughan, O.S.B.
Archbishop of Sydney
Succeeded by
Michael Kelly
Preceded by
Bartolomeo D'Avanzo
Cardinal-Priest of Santa Susanna
Succeeded by
François-Virgile Dubillard