Michael Kelly (bishop)

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A statue of Archbishop Michael Kelly by Bertram Mackennal at St Mary's Cathedral

Michael Kelly (13 February 1850 – 8 March 1940) was an Irish-born Roman Catholic clergyman who became the fourth Archbishop of Sydney.

Early Life[edit]

Born at Waterford, Ireland, to James Kelly, a master mariner,[1] and Mary née Grant, Kelly was educated at Christian Brothers’, Enniscorthy and the Classical Academy, New Ross.

Kelly received his seminary formation at St Peter's College, Wexford and the Irish College in Rome, before being ordained at Enniscorthy on 1 November 1872 by Bishop Thomas Furlong.

Kelly served on the staff of the House of Missions, Wexford and was made vice-Rector of the Irish College, Rome, in 1891.[1] In 1894 Kelly become Rector of the Irish College in Rome and as such an important figure in Anglophone Catholicism.

Episcopal Ministry[edit]

Elected Archbishop of Achrida In Partibus Infidelium and coadjutor cum jure successionis of Sydney on 20 July 1901, Kelly received episcopal consecration as Coadjutor Archbishop on 15 August 1901 at St Joachim's Church, Rome, by Cardinal Francesco Satolli.

Kelly eventually succeeded to the See of Sydney on 16 August 1911 on the death of Cardinal Moran.

As Archbishop Kelly continued his crusade for temperance and he undertook extensive fund-raising for Catholic schools. It is estimated £12,000,000 was spent on scholastic and church properties from the time of Kelly's arrival in Sydney until his death. St Mary's Cathedral was completed in 1928 and statues of Kelly and Moran stand in the main portal.[1] He took a less belligerent attitude to sectarian tensions and political questions such as Irish affairs than Archbishop Mannix of Melbourne.[2]

In recognition of his extensive service to the Church, Kelly was named Bishop Assistant at the Papal Throne and Count of the Holy Roman Empire on 25 June 1926. Kelly died in Sydney aged 90, still of sound mind.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Percival Serle (1949). "Kelly, Michael". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Angus & Robertson. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  2. ^ P. O'Farrell, Archbishop Kelly and the Irish question, Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society, 4 (3) (1974), 1-19.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Patrick Francis Moran
4th Catholic Archbishop of Sydney
Succeeded by
Norman Thomas Gilroy