William Conway (bishop) bigraphy, stories - Catholic cardinal

William Conway (bishop) : biography

22 January 1913 - 17 April 1977

William John Conway (22 January 1913 – 17 April 1977) was an Irish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1963 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1965. He was head of the Catholic Church in Ireland during the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Episcopal career

Conway was appointed Titular Bishop of Neve and Auxiliary of Armagh on 31 May 1958, consecrated on 27 July 1958 in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh where he served under Cardinal John D'Alton. He was made Administrator of St. Mary's Church in Dundalk and at forty-five was the youngest Bishop in Ireland at the time. After D'Alton's death Conway was appointed Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland on 9 September 1963 by Pope Paul VI.

Conway was the leading Irish participant in the Second Vatican Council, at which his peritus was future Archbishop of Armagh Cahal Daly.

On 22 February 1965 he was raised by Pope Paul VI to the Cardinalate at the same consistory as his friend John Carmel Heenan of Westminster. Cardinal Conway was created and proclaimed Cardinal-Priest of San Patrizio.

Death and succession

For much of his time in Armagh, Conway did not have an auxiliary bishop to assist him in his many duties as bishop of a large diocese, head of the Irish Episcopal Conference and a senior advisor to Pope Paul VI. Only in 1974 was a former secretary, Fr. Francis Lenny, appointed as auxiliary bishop and Bishop of Rotdon and received Episcopal Ordination from Conway on 16 June 1974. Illness prevented the Cardinal from attending the canonisation of St. Oliver Plunkett in Rome in October 1975, a highly unusual absence given than he was a successor to Plunkett and that this was the first new canonization of an Irish saint for almost seven hundred years. The strain of overwork took its toll on Cardinal Conway, who contracted cancer late in 1976. He died after a short illness on 17 April 1977.

The Requiem Mass was celebrated by the senior suffragan of the Armagh province, Bishop William Philbin assisted by the late Cardinal's two brothers. He is buried in the grounds of St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh.

In a debate in Seanad Éireann after his death tributes were paid to him by members of all parties. One Senator said of him: "His selection as Cardinal was a source of pride, joy and satisfaction to the whole country. As Cardinal and Primate of All Ireland he displayed the qualities of the truly great. Holding his high office at a time of undoubted difficulty, he gave courageous and faithful leadership without losing his inherent patience and gentleness. He will be remembered as a great churchman, a strong and fearless leader, a talented teacher and a devoted and patient pastor."

Brian Lenihan, on behalf of the Fianna Fáil party said: "During his period of primacy, in charge of the major church in this island, he had to cope with a period of very profound change within the Church itself. He coped with it successfully by combining a degree of realism and humanity in his administration of the Church during its period of change. Unfortunately during most of that time of primacy one had a period of almost revolutionary political developments causing great sorrow to all of us and he, in particular, must have suffered very intensely during that time which, unhappily, is still with us. At all stages during that development he showed leadership and courage and maintained a sense of dignity, showing at all times his abhorrence of all things violent and at the same time emphasising the basic virtues of peace, tolerance and charity which alone can bring all of us on this island out of the sorrow of the past ten years.

After a relatively short interregnum he was succeeded as Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, and later as cardinal, by Maynooth College academic and native priest of the Armagh Archdiocese Tomás Ó Fiaich.

Cardinal Conway and the Troubles

Conway presided over the Irish Church at the outbreak of the Troubles and, as a native of Belfast and a priest of the diocese of Down and Connor was well-placed to respond to the demands of the era. On 12 September 1971, after the introduction of internment, he and his fellow Northern bishops issued a statement in which they both criticised internment and denounced the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) as "the small group of people who are trying to secure a united Ireland by the use of force". In a much-quoted phrase of the Cardinal's the statement went on to pose the question, "Who in their sane senses wants to bomb a million Protestants into a united Ireland?"

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine