Griffiths, Thomas

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Vicar apostolic of the London District; b. London, June 2, 1791; d. London, Aug. 12, 1847. Griffiths was baptized a Protestant, but became a Catholic while a boy. He was educated at St. Edmund's College, Ware, and lived there (180533). Ordained in July 1814, he became president of St. Edmund's at the age of 26. His careful administration saved the college from complete collapse, and he was consecrated there as titular bishop of Olens and coadjutor with right of succession to Bp. James Yorke Bramston of the London District (Oct. 28, 1833). Succeeding Bramston (July 11, 1836), he was the first modern bishop educated wholly in England and the first to introduce ecclesiastical dress for the clergy in place of lay clothes. Griffiths' views tended to be conservative. He did not believe in the possibility of large-scale conversions and distrusted converts from the oxford movement. He represented the outlook of a Catholic Church that had long suffered under restrictive penal legislation. This outlook was soon dated by the restoration of the English hierarchy (1850). Griffiths was pious, humble, industrious, and capable as an administrator.

Bibliography: b. n. ward, The Sequel to Catholic Emancipation, 2 v. (New York 1915); The History of St. Edmund's College, Old Hall (London 1893). t. cooper, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (London 18851900) 8:690.

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