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Corrigan, Michael Augustine (1839-1902)



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Third Catholic archbishop of New York; Bishop of Newark.

ALS – Autograph Letter Signed, two pages, 1892, on Archbishop’s House letterhead.  Gracious letter to a gentleman who has donated $2,500 in memory of his father.  In excellent condition.  Accompanied by a small color reprint portrait.  Choice!

Corrigan’s episcopate proved controversial on a number of levels.  He aligned himself closely with his former mentor, Bernard McQuaid and has been considered one of the leaders of the “conservative” movement within the American Catholic hierarchy.  He was a strong supporter of national parishes and parochial schools, a vocal opponent of Archbishop John Ireland, Cardinal Gibbons and other bishops who advocated “Americanization” within the Catholic Church. Within the American hierarchy, Corrigan was the closest supporter of Pope Leo XIII. He also was unpopular with many bishops for his involvement in backstage intrigue at the Vatican.

Within the Archdiocese of New York his most serious controversy involved a conflict with Father Edward McGlynn.  During the 1886 mayoral campaign in New York, the outspoken McGlynn supported Henry George, the candidate of the United Labor Party who proved popular with labor organizers, radicals, socialists, and Irish nationalists. Corrigan himself had been very close to Tammany Hall and ordered McGlynn to refrain from politics. McGlynn refused, continued to clash with the bishop and, ultimately, was removed as pastor of St. Stephen’s Church in New York.  McGlynn was summoned to Rome but refused on the grounds of ill health and was excommunicated in 1887.  The censure was eventually lifted in 1892.  This highly public scandal took its toll on Corrigan and contributed to his poor relationships with an influential group of New York intellectual priests. His greatest accomplishment probably involved the building of a new seminary, St. Joseph’s in Dunwoodie.

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