THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Letter writer laments state of affairs in Diocese of Clogher

From the News Letter, March 5, 1872

Friday, 5th March 2021, 6:00 am
Belle Isle Castle in Co Fermanagh. Picture: Northern Ireland Tourist Board
Belle Isle Castle in Co Fermanagh. Picture: Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Mr J G V Porter of Belle Isle, Lisbellaw in Co Fermanagh wrote to the News Letter this week in 1872 on the matter of whether or not the Church of Ireland a new bishop for the diocese of Clogher would be appointed.

Mr Porter warned that failure to do so would only leave the diocese in a “disorganised state”.

He wrote that after 12 months of discussions that the decision to appoint a new bishop or “whether ecclesiastical affairs will be allowed to continue in their present disorganised state” would depend on forthcoming Synod of Dublin.

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The reason for the delay, according to Mr Porter, was a rule passed by the bishops during a meeting in the Shelbourne Hotel that “no new bishop should be made in Ireland without an endowment in hand of £1,000 a year”.

He added that had taken advice from “the best opinions” and was of the view that the law had been agreed during a private meeting and that the Church should not be bound by the agreement.

He wrote: “Neither our Canons nor Parliament has given our bishops any right to bind our Church by rules passed at their own private meetings.”

He concluded his letter: “I thus trust that I may be allowed to hope that my father, now 84 years of age, will live to see his wish fulfilled and a bishop appointed for this diocese, and, next, that the best clergymen will be chosen.”