George Dwyer

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George Dwyer
Archbishop emeritus of Birmingham
ChurchLatin Church
Appointed5 October 1965
Installed5 October 1965
Term ended1 September 1981
PredecessorFrancis Grimshaw
SuccessorMaurice Couve de Murville
Other postsBishop of Leeds (1957–1965)
Ordination1 November 1932
Consecration24 September 1957
by John Carmel Heenan
Personal details
Born(1908-09-25)25 September 1908
Manchester, England
Died17 September 1987(1987-09-17) (aged 78)
Birmingham, England
BuriedSt Mary's College, Oscott
ParentsJohn William Dwyer
Jemima Dwyer
Alma materEnglish College, Rome
Christ's College, Cambridge
Pontifical Gregorian University
MottoSpe Gaudentes (Rejoicing in Hope)
Styles of
George Patrick Dwyer
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Grace
Religious styleArchbishop
Ordination history of
George Dwyer
Priestly ordination
Date1 November 1932
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorJohn Carmel Heenan (Liverpool)
Co-consecratorsGeorge Beck (Salford)
Cyril Restieaux (Plymouth)
Date24 September 1957
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by George Dwyer as principal consecrator
Anthony Emery4 March 1968
Patrick Leo McCartie20 May 1977

George Patrick Dwyer (25 September 1908 – 17 September 1987) was an English prelate and the Archbishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, England. Dwyer served as the sixth Archbishop of Birmingham from 1965 to 1981, succeeding Francis Grimshaw. Before that, Dwyer had served as the sixth Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds, between 1957 and 1965, being succeeded by William Wheeler.[1][2]

Early Life and ministry[edit]

The son of John William Dwyer, a wholesale egg and potato merchant, and his wife Jemima, he was also a cousin by marriage of Anthony Burgess,[3] he was educated at St Bede's College, Manchester (1919–26), then at the Venerable English College, Rome after being accepted by the Salford Diocese as a candidate for the priesthood. Dwyer proved an outstanding student, and was awarded doctorates in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds on 1 November 1932, and returned to England to study languages at Christ's College, Cambridge.[4]

Following postgraduate studies in Rome and Cambridge from 1932 to 1937, he returned to St Bede's as a member of the teaching staff before joining the Catholic Missionary Society as vice-superior in 1947. He also edited the Catholic Gazette for four years until his appointment as Superior of the Catholic Missionary Society in 1951.

Episcopal career[edit]

He was consecrated bishop on 24 September 1957 following his appointment as Bishop of Leeds by John Carmel Heenan, then the Archbishop of Liverpool, where he served a term of eight years. During his time at Leeds, Dwyer served as a Council Father for the first three sessions of the Second Vatican Council.

In October 1965, Dwyer was translated to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham to serve as the sixth Archbishop of Birmingham. In his new role he also took part in the fourth session of the Second Vatican Council.

After the death of John Carmel Heenan (who was a close friend of Dwyer's) in 1975, Dwyer was seen by some as a natural successor as Archbishop of Westminster. However, Dwyer informed the Apostolic Delegate he felt that at sixty-seven his age was too great for him to be considered for the post. He was, however, elected president of the Bishops' Conference during the first three years of Basil Hume's episcopate, becoming the first bishop to hold that position who was not also Archbishop of Westminster.[4]

His coat of arms is blazoned, 'Argent on a saltire Gules a jousting spear Or' thus incorporating the names of St Patrick and St George. His motto was Spe Gaudentes (Rejoicing in Hope).

Later life and Death[edit]

Dwyer retired as Archbishop of Birmingham on 1 September 1981, taking up the title Archbishop Emeritus of Birmingham

Dwyer died on 17 September 1987 at the age of 78. He was subsequently buried at St Mary's College, Oscott on 24 September 1987.


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Birmingham Post Year Book and Who's Who 1973-74, Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd, July 1973
  3. ^ "Liana Burgess", Daily Telegraph, 6 December 2007 .
  4. ^ a b Worlock, Derek (2004). "Dwyer, George Patrick (1908–1987)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 20 December 2007.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Carmel Heenan
Bishop of Leeds
Succeeded by
William Gordon Wheeler
Preceded by
Francis Joseph Grimshaw
Archbishop of Birmingham
Succeeded by
Maurice Noël Léon Couve de Murville