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Fleming, Thomas


Franciscan archbishop of Dublin (162355); b. 1593; d. 1655. The son of William Fleming, baron of Olane (Slane), Fleming was educated at Douai and in St. Anthony's Franciscan college at Louvain. He taught philosophy and theology there until, on Oct. 23, 1623, he was appointed to the See of Dublin; he was consecrated in St. Anthony's on Dec. 30, 1623. He went to Dublin, where the ministry of the Church, although exercised in private with a precarious toleration from the government, was threatened by the violent action of firebrands such as Paul Harris and Patrick Cahill, diocesan priests, and diehard opponents of the regulars. Fleming's tact, zeal, and vigilance were conspicuous in his bringing into being the Pastoral College in Louvain, in his interest in those of Douai and Antwerp, in his holding of a provincial Synod near Portarlington, County Kildare (1640) to implement the decrees of Trent and strengthen diocesan discipline, and in his patronage of the mission to Scotland. A friend of Luke wadding, the Irish historian, he conspicuously encouraged at home and abroad Irish hagiographical and historical writing. In the crises of the Confederation of Kilkenny he adopted a middle-of-the-road policy.

Bibliography: b. h. blacker, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (London 18851900) 7:288. c. giblin in Father Luke Wadding: A Commemorative Volume (Dublin 1957) 529533 and passim. p. f. moran, History of the Catholic Archbishops of Dublin (Dublin 1864) 294411. j. t. gilbert, ed., History of the Irish Confederation, 7 v. (Dublin 188291). m. j. hynes, The Mission of Rinuccini (Dublin 1932).

[j. j. meagher]

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