John Charles McQuaid

John Charles McQuaid

John Charles McQuaid, CSSp (28 July 1895 - 7 April 1973) was Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland between December 1940 and February 1972. infobox bishopbiog
name = John Charles McQuaid

religion=Roman Catholic
See = Dublin
Title = Archbishop of Dublin
Period = 1940 —1972
consecration = 27 December 1940
Motto = unknown
Predecessor = Edward Joseph Byrne
Successor = Dermot J. Ryan
post = Teacher | ordination = 29 June 1924
bishops = none
date of birth = July 28, 1895
place of birth = Cavan|

John Charles McQuaid was born in Cootehill, County Cavan in 1895. He joined the religious congregation, the Holy Ghost Fathers, where he taught at the highly regarded school Blackrock College in Dublin, which had educated many senior Irish political and business leaders. McQuaid was close to Eamon de Valera, a future Taoiseach, himself a former Blackrock College teacher. He would later influence de Valera in drafting the modern Irish constitution (Bunreacht na hEireann).

Early Education and Ministry

He studied at University College, Dublin where he was awarded both a first class honours BA and MA in Ancient Classics. He was awarded an honours Higher Diploma in Education in 1919. He was immersed in the theology of the French church through his studies in the order's house of studies at Kimmage, Dublin. He retained close intellectual links with academic developments in France throughout his life. Besides his Francophile upbringing, McQuaid was also trained in Rome where he completed a doctorate in theology. His recall to Blackrock in 1925 prevented him from completing his course in Biblical studies. Among his students was Eamon de Valera (future Taoiseach). He would rise to become President of Blackrock College, maintaining a very strict regime at his school.

Archbishop of Dublin

In 1940, he was made Archbishop of Dublin. McQuaid oversaw a massive expansion of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin during his term. He also established a wide range of social services for the poor of the city under the aegis of various Catholic Agencies. During his episcopate the number of clergy increased from 370 to 600 and the number of religious from 500 to 700 and the number of parishes from 71 to 131. He was also affectionetly known as 'Batman' to the Dublin people. [McMahon, Deirdre: "The Politician - A Reassessment"; Studies (Winter 1998)]

The Politician

As Archbishop, he proved to be a highly influential political figure. In the early 1950s, Noel Browne, the First Inter-Party Government's Minister of Health, - shocked by the absence of ante-natal care for pregnant women, and the resulting infant mortality rates in deeply-Catholic Ireland - proposed providing free access to health care for mothers and children in a new Mother and Child Scheme. The Archbishop's criticism of the scheme, compounded by political misjudgements by Browne, as well as tensions between Browne and Sean MacBride, his political party leader, and Browne's behaviour towards other ministers, helped pave the way for the government's decision to withdraw the scheme.

There was continuing conflict between McQuaid and de Valera. In 1946 he supported the national teachers’ strike, to de Valera’s considerable annoyance. McQuaid was never made a cardinal. Joseph Walsh, the Irish minister to the Holy See, had warned the Vatican that if McQuaid was elevated "“the Nuncio would have endless difficulties, with every sphere of his activities, owing to this deplorable weakness in [ McQuaid’s] character, already so well known to the Holy See”". [Dermot Keogh – "Ireland and the Vatican." (1995)]

infobox bishopstyles
name=John Charles McQuaid
dipstyle=The Most Reverend
offstyle=Your Grace
deathstyle=none |

econd Vatican Council

McQuaid attended the Second Vatican Council but was critical of post-Vatican II Catholicism. After returning from the Council in 1965 he famously announced that "nothing has changed" and when preaching in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral assured the congragation that "nothing in this council will disturb the tranquility of your Christian lives". When making his automatic offer of retirement from his See to Pope Paul VI, at the age of 75, he was stunned to have it accepted in December 1971, and further stunned when one of his internal critics, the liberal Dermot J. Ryan, was appointed to his post instead. McQuaid formally relinquished the government of the Archdiocese of Dublin when his successor was ordained Archbishop in February 1972.

McQuaid died suddenly in his private residence in Killiney in Dublin in April 1973. He is buried in St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop.


*John Whyte – "Church and State in Modern Ireland 1923-1979"
*Bernard J Canning – "Bishops of Ireland 1870-1987"
*Patrick Corish – "The Irish Catholic Experience"
*Joe Dunn - "No Lions in the Hierarchy".

External links

* [ Archdiocese of Dublin, Child Protection Service]
* [ Ultimate Disposal]

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