Patrick Neeson Lynch

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Right Rev. Patrick Neeson Lynch
Bishop of Charleston
Patrick Lynch bishop - Brady-Handy.jpg
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Charleston
In office December 11, 1857—February 26, 1882
Predecessor Ignatius A. Reynolds
Successor Henry P. Northrop
Ordination April 5, 1840
Consecration March 14, 1858
Personal details
Born (1817-03-10)March 10, 1817
Clones Parish, County Fermanagh, Ireland
Died February 26, 1882(1882-02-26) (aged 64)
Charleston, South Carolina, United States

Patrick Neeson Lynch (March 10, 1817 – February 26, 1882) was an Irish-born clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Charleston from 1857 until his death in 1882.


Patrick Lynch's birthplace is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Clones, County Monaghan but he was actually born in the County Fermanagh portion of the Parish of Clones, most likely in the townland of Kibberidogue where his family had settled in the mid to late 17th century. His parents were Conlaw Peter and Eleanor (née Neison) Lynch. In 1819, he and his parents came to the United States, where they settled in Cheraw, South Carolina.

He was ordained to the priesthood in Charleston in 1840 and consecrated as bishop in 1858. On February 20, 1864 he was named by President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States of America to be its delegate to the Holy See which maintained diplomatic relations in the name of the Papal States. Pope Pius IX, as had his predecessors, condemned chattel slavery. Despite Bishop Lynch's mission, and an earlier mission by A. Dudley Mann, the Vatican never recognized the Confederacy, and the Pope received Bishop Lynch only in his ecclesiastical capacity.[1][2] During his visit the Pope suggested that ""something might be done looking to an improvement in [the slaves'] position or state, and to a gradual preparation for their freedom at a future opportune time."[3]

He was the third bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston which at the time covered North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, the Bahamas and Bermuda. It was later subdivided leaving the Diocess of Charleston to cover only the state of South Carolina.

Bishop Lynch was a granduncle of pioneering US Naval aviator Patrick N. L. Bellinger.


  1. ^ Lonn, Ella (2002). Foreigners in the Confederacy. UNC Press. p. 592. ISBN 9780807854006. 
  2. ^ John Bigelow, The Southern Confederacy and the Pope, in 157 The North American Review 462, 468-75 (1893).
  3. ^ Heisser, David C.R. (October 1998). "Bishop Lynch's Civil War Pamphlet on Slavery". The Catholic Historical Review. 84 (4). 

Further reading[edit]

  • Corr, Seán. “Bishop Patrick Lynch of Charleston and his visit to Roslea in 1864.” Clogher Record, vol. 20, no. 2, 2010, pp. 359–372.,
  • Heisser, David C. R., and Stephen J. White Sr. Patrick N. Lynch, 1817-1882: Third Catholic Bishop of Charleston (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2015) 271 pp.
  • Madden, Richard C. (1985). Catholics in South Carolina: A Record. University of America Press. ISBN 978-0-8191-4458-4. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Ignatius A. Reynolds
Bishop of Charleston
Succeeded by
Henry P. Northrop