George F. Dillon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

George Francis Dillon
Dublin, Ireland
Died29 January 1893
Rome, Italy
OccupationMissionary, writer, theologian
NationalityIrish, Australian
Alma materAll Hallows College, Dublin
SubjectAnti-Masonry, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Irish history
Notable worksWar of Anti-Christ with the Church and Christian Civilization

Monsignor George Francis Dillon DD (1836 – 29 January 1893)[1][2] was a 19th-century Catholic missionary and writer from Ireland. He became well known in 1884 for having given conferences in Edinburgh about what he claimed to be a Masonic war against Christian civilisation. His speeches were later compiled with his best-known book, War of Anti-Christ with the Church and Christian Civilization. After being read a summary of this work, Pope Leo XIII approved it and funded the publication of an Italian version.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Dillon was educated at All Hallows College in Dublin.

In 1861, he left Ireland to serve as a Catholic missionary in the Australian bush country, where he founded a mission for the aboriginals at Burragorang, about 65 mi from Sydney.[3]

Throughout his years in Australia, Dillon worked under the supervision of the Archbishop of Sydney. John Bede Polding was Archbishop of Sydney from 1842 to 1877, and Roger Vaughan (brother of Cardinal Herbert Vaughan) was Archbishop of Sydney from 1877 to 1883.

In his career as a Roman Catholic priest and missionary, Dillon served in several parishes in New South Wales, Australia. He served as a curate[4] at St. Mary and Joseph's Cathedral, in St. Mary and St. Joseph's parish (Armidale), from November 1861 to August 1864. Next, he was transferred to the Sydney parish of Balmain, where it is known that he served from at least March 1868 to at least 1876. While there, Pope Pius IX commissioned him to undertake a special investigation,[5] due to which he became authorised to use the title "Missionary Apostolic".[6] After serving in Balmain, Dillon moved on to St. Paul's Catholic Church in the parish of Camden.[7]

Dillon had a Doctor of Divinity degree, giving him license to teach Christian theology in Roman Catholic seminaries and universities.


In 1877, journalist and politician Joseph Graham O'Connor (1839–1913) had launched The Catholic Times, an Australian Catholic newspaper, in opposition to The Freeman's Journal. In 1880 Roger Vaughan, Archbishop of Sydney, bought The Catholic Times and changed its title to The Express. Vaughan and Dillon were co-editors of The Express, but the arrangement lasted for only a short time as Dillon moved to Rome, Italy, in 1882 because of ill-health. Journalist John Cyril Marie des Anges Weale (1857–1942)[8] became a co-editor of The Express in 1883, but the newspaper soon failed, and O'Connor took it back in 1884,[9] retaining only Weale as the editor.

Later life[edit]

In 1884, Pope Leo XIII, in recognition of Dillon's services to the church, made him a "Monsignor" and gave him the title "Cameriere Segreto" (Secret Waiter). The title "Cameriere Segreto" made Dillon an official member of the "Famiglia Pontificia" (Pontifical Family). In his final years in Italy, Dillon was assisted by the Passionist Fathers with whom he had cultivated a great friendship.

According to his obituary in The Tablet (issue of 4 Feb 1893, p. 24) Dillon died on 29 Jan 1893 in the "Palazzo di Rossi" located in the Piazza d'Aracoeli in Rome, where he had lived for several years after moving to Italy. However, that may not be altogether correct, as research has not been able to locate a palazzo named "Palazzo di Rossi" in the Piazza d'Aracoeli.[10]

Dillon openly denounced the known collaboration between the Bavarian Illuminati and the Freemasons and the alleged collaboration between Lord Palmerston and the Carbonari. He was also critical of the Alta Vendita document, Napoleon Bonaparte's supposed ties with the Masons and the secretive character of the Fenian organisation.

Generally, most of Dillon's other book releases dealt with religious topics, such as a book about the Virgin Mother of Good Counsel, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a short piece on Irish history, specifically centred on Irish monasticism.


  • 1870 Ireland: what she has done for religion and civilisation
  • 1873 Sacred Heart of Jesus: a sermon preached at the solemn consecration of the Diocese of Maitland
  • 1874 An Irish missionary in the Australian bush: his life, labours and death
  • 1884 Virgin Mother of Good Counsel: A History of the Ancient Sanctuary of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Genazzano
  • 1885 War of Anti-Christ with the Church and Christian Civilization



  1. ^ Obituary of Monsignor George Dillon in The Tablet, an international Catholic news weekly, issue of 4 Feb 1893, p. 24
  2. ^ (Deceased Clergy in Australia, 1788–2013) (29 January 1893 – Rev Mgr George Francis Dillon – Armidale, Balmain, Camden, etc., NSW)
  3. ^ Kenny, John – A History of the Commencement and Progress of Catholicity in Australia, Up to the Year 1840 (Sydney: F. Cunninghame & Co., Steam Machine Printers, 1886), p. 238. The author of this work was John Kenny (1816 – 16 September 1886), who, on many websites, is erroneously referred to as R. C. Kenny (R.[oman] C.[atholic] Kenny). In bibliographies his name is cited, variously, as follows: (1) J. Kenny – see: (2) Very Revd. Dean Kenny – see: (3) John Kenny, Roman Catholic Dean of Sydney – see:
  4. ^ In Roman Catholic practice, a "curate" is a priest assigned to a parish in a position subordinate to that of the "parish priest."
  5. ^ Dowd, Christopher – Rome in Australia: The Papacy and Conflict in the Australian Catholic Missions, 1834–1884 (2 vols.) (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008), p. 449
  6. ^ "Missionary Apostolic" is an honorary title conferred on a missionary who has received a special commission from the pope.
  7. ^ The parish of Camden is in the diocese of Wollongong, adjoining the archdiocese of Sydney. Geographically speaking, the parish of Camden lies in the Macarthur Region (or southwestern part) of the Sydney metropolitan area.
  8. ^ For information on John Cyril Marie des Anges Weale (22 December 1857 – 1942) see: The Catholic Encyclopedia and its Makers (New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1917), p. 184 (article on "Weale, John Cyril Marie des Anges")
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) ("Sydney's Catholic Press 1839–2003 – A Voice for Catholics," by Dr. J. A. Morley)
  10. ^ [These websites give a comprehensive overview of the palaces and villas of Rome.[1][2][3] –Research on the matter of where Dillon lived in Rome has been unable to establish that there was ever a palazzo specifically named "Palazzo di Rossi" located in the Piazza d'Aracoeli. There are 3 possibilities that present themselves, based on our current research findings: (1) It is well known that the Italian architect Giovanni Antonio De Rossi (1616–1695) was involved in the construction and/or renovation of two palaces in the Piazza d'Aracoeli: the Palazzo Astalli and the Palazzo Muti-Bussi. De Rossi's involvement with building and/or renovating these palaces makes it is possible that either one or both of these palaces were sometimes referred to as the "Palazzo di Rossi". If that is the case, Dillon might have lived in either the Palazzo Astalli or the Palazzo Muti-Bussi.[4] (2) There is a palazzo usually referred to as the Palazzo Cavalletti (Piazza di Campitelli 1) but variously also as the "Palazzo de Rossi-Cavalletti" or the "Palazzo Cavalletti-de Rossi", in the Piazza di Campitelli. This palazzo came into the hands of Jacopo de Rossi through marriage. In the 17th century, that branch of the De Rossi family died out, but they had intermarried with the Cavalletti family, and the family surname continued in the form "Cavalletti-de Rossi". It is possible that Dillon was residing in this palazzo (located in the Piazza di Campitelli) rather than in a palazzo in the Piazza d'Aracoeli. Evidence that it might have been the case is found in The Tablet, issue of 7 June 1879, p. 17, where it is mentioned that Monsignor de Monte (Johannes Montel, Edler von Treuenfels (1831-1910), also known as Giovanni Battista de Montel), the Austrian Auditor of the Rota, then lived in an apartment in the Palazzo Cavalletti. The reference implies that the Palazzo Cavalletti had been converted into an apartment complex or at least a boarding house of some sort. If Monsignor Johannes von Montel was residing in an apartment there in 1879, it seems possible that Dillon may have taken up residence there when he moved to Rome in 1882. (3) There is also a palazzo in Rome referred to as "Palazzo De Rossi", "Palazzo De Rossi Malvezzi" or "Palazzo De Rossi Malvezzi-Campeggi" (address given as Via del Consolato 6), on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, between Via del Consolato and Via del Cimatori, facing Largo Tassoni, but it is not anywhere near the Piazza d'Aracoeli.[5]


External links[edit]