James Louis O'Donel


James Louis O'Donel

James Louis O'Donel (1737, Knocklofty, County Tipperary, Ireland–April 1, 1811, Waterford, Ireland) was the first Roman Catholic bishop of St. John's, Newfoundland.

James O'Donel was born into a prosperous family and received a classical education before entering the Franciscan order. After British-imposed laws restricting Catholicism ceased to be rigorously enforced, O'Donel was able to travel to Rome to study for the priesthood, becoming ordained in 1770. He later taught philosophy and theology in Prague, and in 1777 became the Franciscan Prior in Waterford.

Following developments in England, Catholics in Newfoundland gradually gained religious liberty, made explicit by a public declaration by the Governor in 1784. Following a request from Irish merchants in Newfoundland, O'Donel was sent to St. John's as Prefect Apostolic the same year, largely to deal with the presence of "unlicensed" and "unruly" priests on the island. In addition to his personal popularity, one of his qualifications for the position was an ability to preach in Gaelic.

O'Donel found the situation to be much as it was described, as insubordinate priests fought Irish battles. Accordingly O'Donel set about reorganizing the Catholic Church in Newfoundland. He built a chapel in St. John's, established parishes outside the capital, and gradually brought priests under his authority. During his first few years in Newfoundland, O'Donel also found that Catholic liberty was less than absolute, and was involved in an infamous incident in 1786 in which he was assaulted by Prince William Henry, later King William IV. In 1796, O'Donel was consecrated as a bishop.

O'Donel's ministry in Newfoundland was largely characterized by trying to maintain peace, both between fellow Catholics and with the British. In 1800, an incipient Irish uprising involving soldiers in the St. John's garrison was forestalled when O'Donel, upon hearing of the plans, alerted the authorities. The 19th century historian Charles Pedley alleged that O'Donel received his information via the confessional, but no credible evidence for this claim has ever been adduced.

Theologically, O'Donel subscribed to the Augustinian position that religion imposes a "reverential fear" on mankind's "naturally licentious" nature. This, and his belief in the essential mystery of the divine nature gave rise to his support for religious tolerance, since God's inscrutability would inevitably lead to theological disagreement, but furthermore, as he wrote to his contemporary John Jones, "an observant [C] hristian of any denomination is...a better man".

O'Donel's health deteriorated in the early 1800s, and he resigned his position in 1807 and returned to Ireland. He died of shock in 1811 after suffering minor injuries in a fire.

References

* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=2583 "Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]

*FitzGerald, John Edward, " [http://www.heritage.nf.ca/society/odonel.html Bishop James Louis O'Donel] "

*Rollmann, Hans, " [http://www.mun.ca/rels/rc/texts/rc_cong1.html John Jones, James O'Donel, and the Question of Religious Tolerance in Eighteenth-Century Newfoundland: A Correspondence] "

*Rollmann, Hans, " [http://www.mun.ca/rels/ang/texts/pwh.htm Prince William Henry in Newfoundland] "

*Shortt, Seamus and Gannon, Joseph E., " [http://www.thewildgeese.com/pages/unitedir.html United Irish Rising in Newfoundland] "


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Erzbistum Saint John’s, Neufundland — Basisdaten Staat Kanada Diözesanbischof Martin William Currie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Campbell (Royal Navy officer) — Infobox Military Person name=John Campbell lived=1720 1790 caption= nickname= placeofbirth=parish of Kirkbean, near Dumfries, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland placeofdeath=his house at Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London, England allegiance=Great …   Wikipedia

  • Archidiocese de Saint-Jean — Archidiocèse de Saint Jean L archidiocèse de Saint Jean, dans la province canadienne de Terre Neuve et Labrador, a été érigé canoniquement le 8 février 1904 par le pape saint Pie X. Son évêque est Monseigneur Brendan O Brien. Il siège à la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Archidiocèse De Saint-Jean — L archidiocèse de Saint Jean, dans la province canadienne de Terre Neuve et Labrador, a été érigé canoniquement le 8 février 1904 par le pape saint Pie X. Son évêque est Monseigneur Brendan O Brien. Il siège à la basilique cathédrale Saint Jean… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Archidiocèse de Saint-Jean — L archidiocèse de Saint Jean, dans la province canadienne de Terre Neuve et Labrador, a été érigé canoniquement le 8 février 1904 par le pape saint Pie X. Son évêque est Monseigneur Brendan O Brien. Il siège à la basilique cathédrale Saint Jean… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Archidiocèse de saint-jean — L archidiocèse de Saint Jean, dans la province canadienne de Terre Neuve et Labrador, a été érigé canoniquement le 8 février 1904 par le pape saint Pie X. Son évêque est Monseigneur Brendan O Brien. Il siège à la basilique cathédrale Saint Jean… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Évêque de Saint-Jean — Archidiocèse de Saint Jean L archidiocèse de Saint Jean, dans la province canadienne de Terre Neuve et Labrador, a été érigé canoniquement le 8 février 1904 par le pape saint Pie X. Son évêque est Monseigneur Brendan O Brien. Il siège à la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Archidiocèse de Saint-Jean (Terre-Neuve) — L archidiocèse métropolitain de Saint Jean, dans la province canadienne de Terre Neuve et Labrador, a été érigé canoniquement le 8 février 1904 par le pape saint Pie X. Son évêque est Monseigneur Martin Currie. Il siège à la basilique cathédrale… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Архиепархия Сент-Джонса — Archidioecesis Sancti Ioannis Terrae Novae …   Википедия

  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John's, Newfoundland — Infobox Roman Catholic diocese Roman Catholic Diocese of=Archdiocese of St. John s, Newfoundland Latin name of diocese=Archidioecesis Santi Ioannis Terrae Novae location=St. John s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada territory=Province of… …   Wikipedia