Joseph MacRory

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His Eminence
Joseph MacRory
Cardinal, Archbishop of Armagh
Primate of All Ireland
Cardinal MacRory October 7, 1930 (restoration).jpg
See Armagh
Installed 1928
Term ended 1945
Predecessor Patrick O'Donnell
Successor John D'Alton
Other posts Bishop of Down and Connor 1915–1928
Ordination 13 September 1885 (Priest)
Consecration 14 November 1915 (Bishop)
Created Cardinal 16 December 1929
Rank Cardinal priest of San Giovanni a Porta Latina
Personal details
Born 19 March 1861
Ballygawley, County Tyrone, Ireland
Died 13 October 1945(1945-10-13) (aged 84)
Armagh, Northern Ireland
Buried St Patrick's Cathedral Cemetery, Armagh
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Parents Francis MacRory and Rose Montague

Joseph MacRory (Irish: Seosamh Mac Ruairí; 19 March 1861 – 13 October 1945) was an Irish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Armagh from 1928 until his death. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1929.[1]


Joseph MacRory was born in Ballygawley, County Tyrone, as one of the ten children of Francis MacRory, a farmer, and his wife, Rose Montague. He studied at St. Patrick's College, Armagh, and St. Patrick's College in Maynooth. He was ordained to the priesthood on 13 September 1885 and served as the first president of St. Patrick's Academy, Dungannon from 1886 to 1887. MacRory taught Scripture and Modern Theology at St Mary's College, Oscott in England until 1889, when he was appointed Professor of Scripture and Oriental Languages at his alma mater of Maynooth College. In 1906, he co-founded the Irish Theological Quarterly.[citation needed] In 1912 he was made Vice-President of Maynooth.

MacRory was appointed Bishop of Down and Connor by Pope Benedict XV on 9 August 1915, and received his episcopal consecration on 14 November from Cardinal Michael Logue. He chose as his episcopal motto Fortis in Fide ("Strong in Faith"). During his tenure, his life was threatened repeatedly due to the turbulent atmosphere in Belfast. From 1917 to 1918 he was a member of the Irish Convention.

On 22 June 1928 MacRory was promoted to Archbishop of Armagh and thus Primate of All Ireland, in succession to Patrick O'Donnell, and in the consistory of 16 December 1929, Pope Pius XI created him Cardinal Priest of San Giovanni a Porta Latina.

MacRory was the papal legate at the 1933 laying of the foundation stone of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, in England, and one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 1939 papal conclave, which selected Pope Pius XII.

MacRory was a strenuous opponent of social injustice, National Socialism,[2] Protestantism[3] and the Partition of Ireland.[4] It was MacRory who suggested to Eoin O'Duffy that he raise an Irish Brigade to aid Generalissimo Franco during the Spanish Civil War.[5] In 1940, he voiced strong objections to conscription in the North.

MacRory was a supporter of the Gaelic League, and Errigal Ciaran, one of the most famous GAA clubs in Ireland, play at Cardinal MacRory Park, Dunmoyle, which was built in 1956 in his honour.

After a brief illness, Cardinal MacRory died at the age of 84 from a heart attack at Ara Coeli, the residence in Armagh. He was interred in St Patrick's Cathedral Cemetery, Armagh.


"The Protestant Church in Ireland – and the same is true of the Protestant Church anywhere – is not only not the rightful representative of the early Irish Church, but it is not even a part of the Church of Christ"[6]


  1. ^ Miranda, Salvador. "Joseph MacRory". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved 23 June 2009. 
  2. ^ O'Riordan, Thomás A. "Joseph MacRory". Multitext Project in Irish History. University College Cork, Ireland. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Time magazine "St. Patrick's Successor" 12 October 1942
  4. ^ Time magazine "Milestones" 22 October 1945
  5. ^ Cunningham, Niall (2 March 2001). "General Eoin O'Duffy: Ireland's Answer to Mussolini". The Irish Post. Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2009. 
  6. ^ The Thin Green Line – The History of the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC, Richard Doherty, published by Pen & Sword Books – ISBN 1-84415-058-5, p. 27

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Tohill
Bishop of Down and Connor
Succeeded by
Daniel Mageean
Preceded by
Patrick O'Donnell
Archbishop of Armagh
Primate of All Ireland

Succeeded by
John D'Alton