1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ireland, John (American)

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IRELAND, JOHN (1838-), American Roman Catholic prelate, was born at Burnchurch, County Kilkenny, Ireland, on the 11th of September 1838. In 1849 he was taken to the United States by his parents, who settled at St Paul, Minnesota Territory. After being educated in France for the priesthood, he returned to the United States in 1861; he was ordained at St Paul and in the following year he accompanied the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry south as chaplain. Subsequently he became rector of the cathedral at St Paul, and in 1870-1871 represented Bishop Thomas Langdon Grace (1814-1897) at the Vatican council at Rome. In 1875 he was appointed bishop of Nebraska, but at the urgent request of Bishop Grace the appointment was changed so that he might remain at St Paul as bishop-coadjutor with the right of succession; at the same time he was made titular bishop of Maronea. In 1884 he succeeded to the bishopric, and in 1888 he became the first archbishop of the see. His liberal views gave him a wide influence and reputation both within and without the church, and he came to be looked upon as a leader of the “American” as distinguished from the “Roman” party in the clergy. His views were, however, opposed by several leading Catholics; and several of his administrative acts, notably his plan for the partial taking over of control of the parochial schools by the local authorities (known from the town in which it was first attempted, “the Faribault plan”), were strenuously attacked. He was prominently identified with the planting of Catholic communities or colonies in the North-West, with the establishment of the Catholic University at Washington, and with the Catholic total abstinence movement. The degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by Yale University in 1901. He published The Church and Modern Society (1896).