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.

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.”