Patrick O'Donoghue (bishop)

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For other people with the same name, see Patrick O'Donoghue.
The Right Reverend
Patrick O'Donoghue
Bishop emeritus of Lancaster
Church Roman Catholic Church
Province Liverpool
Diocese Lancaster
Appointed 5 June 2001
Installed 4 July 2001
Term ended 1 May 2009
Predecessor John Brewer
Successor Michael Campbell
Ordination 25 May 1967
Consecration 29 June 1993
by Cardinal Basil Hume
Personal details
Born (1934-05-04) 4 May 1934 (age 82)
Mourne Abbey, County Cork, Ireland
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Daniel and Sheila O'Donoghue
Previous post Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster

Patrick O'Donoghue (born 4 May 1934) is a retired Roman Catholic prelate who served as the fifth Bishop of Lancaster, from 2001 to 2009.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

He was born in the small parish of Mourne Abbey in County Cork, Ireland on 4 May 1934, one of five children of farmers Daniel and Sheila O'Donoghue. O'Donoghue came to Britain in 1959 to train for the priesthood first at Campion House, Osterley, Middlesex, then from 1961-67 at Allen Hall seminary when it was at St Edmund's, Ware. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Westminster in England on 25 May 1967.[1][2]

Episcopal career[edit]

He was appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Titular Bishop of Tulana on 18 May 1993.[1][2] His consecration to the episcopate took place on 29 June 1993, the principal consecrator was Basil Hume, Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster and the principal co-consecrators were John Patrick Crowley, Bishop of Middlesbrough and Patrick Joseph Casey, Bishop Emeritus of Brentwood.[1][2]

Following of the sudden death of John Brewer while in office,[3] O'Donoghue was appointed the Bishop of Lancaster on 5 June 2001, and installed at St Peter's Cathedral, Lancaster on 4 July 2001.[1][2] His portrait was painted for Westminster Cathedral in 2002 by Christian Furr.[4]

Diocesan situation[edit]

In recent years he has led a major diocesan review of the diocese called Fit for Mission? to prepare the diocese for the future with fewer priests and practising Catholics and attempting to encourage all Catholics to be more missionary-focussed.

Catholic schools[edit]

In November 2007, he brought out his teaching document on Catholic education, Fit for Mission? - Schools. Hailed in the Catholic press as 'groundbreaking' and 'courageous', it was also praised by the Holy See. The Congregation for Clergy 'hopes it will become an example for other Dioceses in the country in their implementation of the General Directory for Catechesis and the Catechism of the Catholic Church', and the Congregation for Catholic Education wrote, it will undoubtedly be a reliable resource for renewing the vitality of Catholic Education in today's society.

O'Donoghue was an opponent of attempts to secularise the culture of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lancaster. For instance, he gave instructions to the schools to halt promotion of contraceptives, remove anti-Catholic books from their libraries and prevent the presentation of ideas contrary to the Catholic Church's official teaching. Some secularist critics, such as Barry Sheerman, a Labour MP and Steve Sinnott of the National Union of Teachers attacked him for his advocation of a Catholic education in Catholic schools.[5]

Catholic Caring Services[edit]

In October 2008 he came into direct conflict with trustees of the local Catholic-founded adoption agency, Catholic Caring Services (CCS), which was attempting to enact homosexual adoption contrary to Church teachings, following the UK government's Sexual Orientation Regulations.[6] In a letter to the agency he threatened them with eviction from church property, warned that he would sue the CCS for money left in wills by Catholics to the agency if they did not change their stance within one week, threatened to inform the Charities Commission that the organisation was no longer Catholic, and would break its link with the Lancaster diocese:

I find it unthinkable, indeed heart-breaking, that Catholic Caring Services, so linked to the Catholic Church since its inception, would abandon its position and capitulate to recent same-sex adoption legislation.


O'Donoghue retired on 1 May 2009, with a special Mass at St Peter's Cathedral, Lancaster, and assumed the title Bishop Emeritus of Lancaster.[1] He left the Diocese of Lancaster on 29 May 2009 and retired as an assistant priest to the parish of Bantry on the west coast of County Cork, Ireland.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "O'Donoghue, Patrick - Retired Bishops". Catholic Church in England and Wales. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Bishop John Brewer". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Christian Furr – Biography. Retrieved on 13 June 2001.
  5. ^ Asthana, Anushka (30 December 2007). "MPs challenge 'doctrinaire' bishops". The Observer. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "Church leader in gay adoption row". BBC. 6 October 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
Religious titles
Preceded by
John Brewer
Bishop of Lancaster
Succeeded by
Michael Gregory Campbell