THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Schism among Roman Catholics of Belfast

From the News Letter, November 28, 1845

“It appears that ‘a very pretty quarrel’ has arisen between Dr [Cornelius] Denvir and a large portion of the Roman Catholic laity, in reference to the attempted sale of seats in the new Roman Catholic chapel at St Malachy, by the Bishop and his advisers,” reported the News Letter on this day in 1845. Picture: Google
“It appears that ‘a very pretty quarrel’ has arisen between Dr [Cornelius] Denvir and a large portion of the Roman Catholic laity, in reference to the attempted sale of seats in the new Roman Catholic chapel at St Malachy, by the Bishop and his advisers,” reported the News Letter on this day in 1845. Picture: Google

“It appears that ‘a very pretty quarrel’ has arisen between Dr [Cornelius] Denvir and a large portion of the Roman Catholic laity, in reference to the attempted sale of seats in the new Roman Catholic chapel at St Malachy, by the Bishop and his advisers,” reported the News Letter on this day in 1845.

The new chapel had been constructed by means of public subscription and private bequests on the understanding that seats were to be free.

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The sales of seat arose, noted the paper, “under the pretext of paying of a small debt, and erecting parochial schools”.

The opposition to the sale of seats in the new chapel had found an “able and intelligent” leader in Mr Hugh McLorinan, who had been the principal speaker at a meeting held early that week.

At the meeting resolutions were unanimously carried which protested against the sale of seats as “an infringement of the rights of the subscribers” it added that no one, not even Bishop Denvir had a right to sell seats without consulting the subscribers to the scheme.

But it was reported that the meeting had given great offence to Dr Denvir who, in a letter from Dublin, wrote of McLorinan as an “infatuated man” and accused him of “evil doings” in his attempt to prevent the sale of seats in the chapel, a plot that the Bishop referred to as “a fiendish scheme”.