Patrick Francis Moran

Patrick Francis Moran (16 September 1830 – 16 August 1911) was the third Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and first Australian cardinal.

Moran was born at Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Ireland in 1830. His mother and father had both died by the time he was 11 years old. He left Ireland in 1842 (at the age of 12) to pursue studies for the priesthood at the minor seminary and then major seminary in Rome at the Pontifical Irish College.

Moran was considered so intellectually bright that he gained his doctorate by acclamation. Among the principal objectors was Cardinal Gioacchino Pecci, the future Pope Leo XIII, who was impressed by the genius of the Irish student.

Moran was appointed vice-rector at the Irish College and also took the chair of Hebrew at Propaganda Fide. He was also some-time vice-rector of the Scots College in Rome. In 1866 Moran was appointed secretary to his mother's half-brother, Cardinal Paul Cullen. Moran was also appointed professor of scripture at Clonliffe College, Dublin. He founded the "Irish Ecclesiastical Record" (on which he later modelled the "Australasian Catholic Record").

In 1869 he accompanied Cardinal Cullen to the First Vatican Council, a council also attended by Melbourne's then first archbishop, James Alipius Goold. While in Rome and Ireland he was very active politically in opposing English Benedictine plans for monastic foundations undergirding the Catholic Church in Australia.

Moran was appointed coadjutor bishop of Ossory on 22 December 1871 and was consecrated on 5 March 1872 in Dublin by his uncle Cardinal Paul Cullen. On the death of Edward Walsh he succeeded as Bishop of Ossory on 11 August 1872.

He was personally chosen and promoted by Pope Leo XIII to head the Archdiocese of Sydney — a clear policy departure from the previous English Benedictine incumbents (Polding, Vaughan) who were experiencing tension leading the predominantly Irish-Australian Catholics. Moran was appointed to Australia on 25 January 1884 and arrived on 8 September 1884. He was created Cardinal-Priest on 27 July 1885 of the title of St Susanna. The new Irish-Australian cardinal made it his business to make his presence and leadership felt.

In the year 1886 it is estimated that Moran travelled 2500 miles over land and sea, visiting all the dioceses of New Zealand. In 1887 he travelled 6000 miles to consecrate fellow Irishman Matthew Gibney at Perth. He also travelled to Ballarat, Bathurst, Bendigo, Hobart, Goulburn, Lismore, Melbourne and Rockhampton for the consecration of their cathedrals.

Over his episcopate, Moran consecrated 14 bishops (he was the principal consecrator of William Walsh, Michael Verdon, Patrick Vincent Dwyer, Armand Olier and also assisted in consecrating Patrick Clune, among others). He ordained nearly 500 priests, dedicated more than 5000 churches and professed more than 500 nuns. He made five journeys to Rome on church business between 1885 and 1903, but did not attend the 1903 conclave because of the relatively short notice and the distance.

From 1900 to 1901, Moran's leadership survived a crisis when his personal secretary, Denis O'Haran, was named as co-respondent in the divorce case of the cricketer Arthur Coningham. Moran vigorously defended O'Haran and a jury found in his favour.

Cardinal Moran died at Manly, Sydney, in August 1911, aged 80. A quarter of a million people (the largest crowd ever to gather in Australia until that date) witnessed his funeral procession through the centre of Sydney. He is buried in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.

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