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The Church of Ireland

The Church Of Ireland
Press Release


11 December 1998

The death took place on Thursday, 10th December, 1998 at St. Vincent's Hospital of the Most Revd Dr. Henry Robert McAdoo, Archbishop of Dublin, Bishop of Glendalough and Primate of Ireland from 1977 until 1985.

A noted ecumenist he was co-chairman of the first Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission appointed in 1969, which produced Agreed Statements on the Eucharist (Windsor 1971), Ministry (Malta 1973) and Authority in the Church (Venice 1976).

Dr. McAdoo, the son of Mr. And Mrs. J.A. McAdoo, was born at Ballintemple, Cork in January 1916 and educated at Cork Grammar School and Mountjoy School, Dublin. He had a distinguished career as a student in Trinity College, Dublin, where he won many prizes, including the Bedell, Kyle, White and Downes Composition prizes. He was elected a Foundation Scholar in 1936.

Two years later he graduated with a first-class Moderatorship in Modern Languages and was a Gold Medallist. His fluency in Irish, French and German assisted him in his studies and in public life later on.

In 1940 he was conferred with a Doctorate in Philosophy by Dublin University. This was followed by the conferring of a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1948 and a Doctorate in Divinity the following year.

An outstanding preacher and teacher he frequently lectured in Canada and the United States in the 1960s and was Select Preacher to the University of Oxford in 1969 and to the University of Dublin in 1963 and 1969. In 1962 he was awarded an honorary degree by Seabury-Western Theological College.

Most of his parochial ministry was spent in the South of the country; following his ordination as a deacon in 1939 (he was ordained a priest in 1940) he served as curate of Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford, for four years. Subsequently he served as Rector of Castleventry for five years and then as Rector of Kilmocomogue (Bantry) for four years before being appointed Dean of St. Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork, in 1952. His other appointments included Canon of Cork and Cloyne 1949-52 and Canon of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, from 1959-62.

In 1962 he was elected Bishop of Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin. Fifteen years later he was elected Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland. His time as archbishop was cut short by ill-health and he resigned in 1985.

During retirement he and his wife, Lesley, (nee Weir), whom he married in 1940, lived in Dalkey. Released from the strains of office his health recovered and he published some much acclaimed books including a number of works on Caroline Moral Theology.

Throughout his life Dr. McAdoo wrote and contributed articles to learned journals, including Theology, The Furrow, and New Divinity. Dr. McAdoo's published works include: No New Church, (Dublin, 1946); The Structure of Caroline Moral Theology (London, 1949); John Bramhall and Anglicanism (Dublin, 1964); The Spirit of Anglicanism (London and New York, 1965); Where do Anglicans stand? (Dublin 1970); Marriage and the community: the inter-church marriage, (Dublin: 1974); Modern Eucharistic Agreement, (London, 1973); The identity of the Church of Ireland, (Dublin, 1980); The Eucharistic Theology of Jeremy Taylor today (Norwich 1988); Anglican Heritage Theology and Spirituality (Norwich 1991); Anglicans and Tradition and the Ordination of Women, (Norwich 1977); The first of its kind: Jeremy Taylor's life of Christ, (Norwich 1994) and Jeremy Taylor Anglican Theologian, (Omagh 1997).

Dr. McAdoo is survived by his wife, Lesley, and three children, a son, Martin Andrew, and two daughters, Anne and Gabrielle. His younger daughter, Gabrielle Warnock is a well-known fiction writer.


The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland,
the Most Reverend Dr. Robin Eames
has paid tribute to the late Archbishop McAdoo:

"Archbishop McAdoo was one of the most outstanding Anglican scholars and leaders of this century. Far beyond his episcopal contributions to the life of the Church of Ireland he played a vital and significant role in Anglican-Roman Catholic relations across the world through his co-chairmanship of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). He was widely respected for his careful and visionary chairmanship in the production of the Commission's report which will continue to influence ecumenical dialogue for generations.

As Bishop of Ossify and later Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough he presided over the affairs of his dioceses with great wisdom and pastoral care.

Dr. McAdoo was known far beyond his native shores through his numerous books and articles on theology and Anglican doctrine. In particular his studies of the Caroline tradition have been widely acclaimed.

Within the Irish House of Bishops his episcopal colleagues always found him to be the source of great wisdom, learning and pastoral concern. His strong advocacy of Anglican principles allied to a deeply and disciplined spiritual life-style which he maintained even throughout failing health of late contributed to a man of God who was greatly respected.

Dr. McAdoo was to those who knew him most intimately a man of immense compassion and pastoral strength who made a unique contribution to the life of the Church of Ireland and to the understanding of Anglicanism and the ecumenical movement."

 + Robert Armagh.

Further information from:

Church of Ireland House
61-67 Donegall Street
Belfast BT1 2QH



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