Ranald MacDonald (bishop)

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The Right Reverend
Ranald MacDonald
Vicar Apostolic of the Western District
Bishop Ranald MacDonald.jpg
Church Roman Catholic Church
Appointed 13 February 1827
Term ended 20 September 1832
Successor Andrew Scott
Other posts Titular Bishop of Arindela
Ordination 1782
Consecration 25 February 1820
by Alexander Paterson
Personal details
Born 1756
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 20 September 1832 (aged 76)
Fort William, Scotland
Buried Fort William, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Ranald MacDonald and Margaret MacDonald
Previous post Vicar Apostolic of the Highland District
Alma mater Scotch College, Douay

Ranald MacDonald (1756–1832) was a Roman Catholic bishop who served as the Vicar Apostolic of the Highland District from 1819 to 1827, then the Vicar Apostolic of the Western District from 1827 to 1832.[1][2][3][4]

Born in Edinburgh in 1756, he was the elder child of Ranald MacDonald, MacDonald VII of Fersit and Margaret MacDonald, daughter of Donald MacDonald II of Cranachan. He was educated at the Scotch College, Douay, France. He was ordained a priest in 1782, and returned to his native country in that same year. He was first stationed at Glengairn, Aberdeenshire, from which he was transferred to Glengarry, and thence to Uist.[1][3]

He was appointed the Vicar Apostolic of the Highland District and Titular Bishop of Arindela by the Holy See on 27 August 1819, with his residence at Lismore. He was consecrated at Edinburgh by Bishop Alexander Paterson on 25 February 1820.[1][2][3]

In 1827, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was reorganised into three vicariate apostolics, the Eastern District (formerly the Lowland District), the Northern District (formerly the Highland District), and the Western District (created from territory of the other two districts). As a result of those changes, Bishop MacDonald became the Vicar Apostolic of the newly formed Western District on 13 February 1827.[1][2][3]

Bishop MacDonald's scholarly attainments were of a high order. He was a man of polished manners and liberality of sentiment, and was beloved by persons of all persuasions. He did much by his work and conversation to soften down prejudices, and was ever ready to lend his aid in forwarding any scheme which had for its object the advancement of his fellow Highlanders.[1][4]

He died in office at Fort William, on 20 September 1832, aged 76, and was buried there.[1][2][3]

During his time as bishop there came into his possession one of the Scotland's greatest ecclesiastical relics, the Last Chalice of Iona. Of fine beaten gold, upon which the marks of the hammer were quite distinct, its whole design indicated its great antiquity. It had passed from the possession of Sir Charles Lachlan Maclean, to that of Aeneas created by Charles II., Lord Macdonnell and Aros, and was gifted by Colonel Ranaldson Macdonell of Glengarry, to Bishop Ranald Macdonald, on whose death it came into the custody of his successor, Bishop Scott.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Rev. A. Macdonald, Minister of Killearnan; Rev. A. Macdonald, Minister of Kilarlity (1904). The Clan Donald. Volume 3. Inverness: The Northern Counties Publishing Company, Ltd. p. 455. 
  2. ^ a b c d William Maziere Brady (1876). The Episcopal Succession in England, Scotland and Ireland, A.D. 1400 to 1875. Volume 3. Rome: Tipografia Della Pace. pp. 467–468 and 471. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Bishop Ranald MacDonald". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Gordon, James Frederick Skinner (1867). Journal and Appendix to Scotichronicon and Monasticon (Appendix 3). Glasgow: J. Tweed. pp. 464–465. ISBN 1-152-98585-X. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Aeneas Chisholm
Vicar Apostolic of the Highland District
Succeeded by
James Kyle
(Vicar Apostolic of the Northern District)
New title Vicar Apostolic of the Western District
Succeeded by
Andrew Scott