Brady, William Maziere

views updated


Irish ecclesiastical historian; b. Dublin, Ireland, Jan. 8, 1825; d. Rome, March 19, 1894. Brady, who came from a distinguished Protestant-Irish family, entered Trinity College, Dublin (1842), and received there an M.A. (1853) and a D.D. (1863). After taking orders in the Church of Ireland (1848), he served as curate in Maynooth and then as rector and vicar in the Dioceses of Dublin, Limerick, Cloyne, and Meath. He also served as chaplain to liberal lords lieutenant of Ireland, such as Clarendon, St. Germans, Carlisle, and Spencer. In 1851 he married a widow, Frances (Walker) O'Reilly. Brady published Clerical and Parochial Records of Cork, Cloyne and Ross (3 v. 186364), the preparation of which convinced him of the unhistorical nature of the Church of Ireland's claim to continuity from Celtic times. Later works, notably The Alleged Conversion of the Irish Bishops at the Succession of Queen Elizabeth (1866) and State Papers Concerning the Irish Church (1868), received a hostile reception from his coreligionists. His argument for the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, which appeared in books and in articles in Fraser's Magazine and The Contemporary, contained massive factual information that materially assisted William Ewart gladstone in carrying disestablishment through Parliament (186971). Brady pursued his researches on the Irish Church in the Vatican Archives in Rome, where he and his wife were received into the Catholic Church (1873). Subsequent publications included Episcopal Succession in England, Scotland and Ireland (3 v. 186777), a work impressive in its day, but lacking in meticulousness by present standards. Brady's studies and publications altered substantially the accepted English identification of the Church of Ireland with the early Irish Church and strengthened the links between Irish national tradition and the Roman Church. But his later works, notably Rome and Fenianism (1883) and Anglo-Roman Papers (1890), were uncritical in sifting sources. Pius IX and Leo XIII honored Brady by making him a private chamberlain.

[r. d. edwards]