MOLLOY, JAMES, 1923-1984.
MANUSCRIPT NUMBER 034
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CITATION: James Molloy Papers, MSS 034, Archives and Manuscripts Dept.,
Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
James Molloy (1923-1984) was born in Ireland on June 19, 1923. His father, Michael Molloy, immigrated to London in the 1920's to find work. His mother, Mary Ellen Fitzgerald Kennedy, remained behind in Ireland with the children and continued to operate a small dressmaking business. In 1932, however, the inability or unwillingness of her customers to pay their debts forced the small business to close. Mary Ellen and her children followed Michael to London. Nine year old James remained there for the rest of his life.
In England, James Molloy attended a Catholic grammar school run by the Salesians of Don Bosco. Upon graduation he decided on the priesthood and spent a year with the Salesians as a novitiate. At the end of that year a medical examination revealed a heart problem. Asked to leave, Molloy turned his attention instead to the secular priesthood in his area diocese of Westminster.
Molloy spent six years at St. Edmunds College in Ware before he was ordained at the age of 24. He was then sent by the Cardinal to the English College in Rome where he read philosophy at the Gregorian University. The result of his four years of study was a Baccalaureate, Licentiate in Philosophy and a doctorate thesis on the Epistemology of G.E. Moore.
In 1951 Molloy left Rome but returned a year later to lecture. He also assumed several other responsibilities such as arranging religious ceremonies, ordinations and pontifical masses in addition to instructing students on how to function as deacons and priests. He was assigned the position of Chaplain at a local convent while in Rome and later took charge of the old college archive and library. This added to the experience he had received at St. Edmunds where he was asked by the Cardinal to rebuild the College library.
In 1959, Molloy suffered a coronary thrombosis and gastrointestinal hemorrhage. After six years of illness and no apparent improvement in his condition he received dispensations from Pope Paul VI and was allowed to return to the lay state. In the meantime Molloy had been hired by Virtue to help produce a Catholic Encyclopedia. His work continued with Virtue after he left the priesthood in 1966 in addition to selling and collecting works on English Catholicism. In 1967, Molloy married Grace Morris and together they had two sons, John and Timothy.
In 1984, through the mediation of a book dealer, Molloy sold his collection of English Catholic books to the Pitts Theology Library. Among the books was a small collection of Molloy's personal research for a book never written on George Errington's role in the restoration of the English hierarchy. Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman asked Errington, a friend from childhood and from an ancient English Catholic family to be the Coadjutor of Westminster with rights of succession. A disagreement between the two led to Errington's forced removal from the position and the ultimate succession of Henry Edward Cardinal Manning to the Archbishopric. The eventual ramifications for the Catholic Church in England were enormous. Molloy concentrated on copying letters relating to the incident from manuscript sources. The letters were microfilmed and many were transcribed into typescript. A roll of microfilm is included in the collection.
Molloy was asked, by the Pitts Theology Library, to provide autobiographical information. A seven page letter, from which this sketch is drawn, was received by the library a month before his death on December 3, 1984 and accompanies the collection.
The personal papers of James Molloy (1860-1984) consists of five series, Autobiography, Correspondence, Research Notes, Printed Material and Photographic Material.
Series one, Autobiography, contains the letter written to the archivist of the Pitts Theology Library in 1984 as a response to a request for biographical information. The second series, Correspondence, contains letters received from institutions holding Errington material in 1959 including one from Father Chapeau, overseer of the Manning letters.
In series three are Molloy's Research Notes. This series consists of several copies of correspondence and addresses such as a biography of Errington (n.d.); copies of material pertaining to Errington's removal (1854-1869); miscellaneous notes concerning the Oblates and St. Edmond's College (n.d.); excerpts from other authors (n.d.); and a copy of an account of Errington's funeral in the Tablet in 1866 (n.d.). The fourth series, Printed Material, also contains papers pertaining to Errington including S. Commissione Speciale deputata a Sanctissimo (1860) and a translation of the report, (n.d.).
The final series, Photographic Materials, contains a photo of Archbishop Errington's Portrait and of his tombstone (n.d.) and the Errington papers on microfilm.
The strength of the collection clearly lies in Molloy's research notes on Errington and his removal as coadjutor to Cardinal Wiseman. Through it the researcher will be able to gain insight into the politics within the Catholic Church at the time and into the various attitudes of English Catholic clergy toward Roman influence. Molloy made copies of correspondence found in several locations throughout England. The authors of these letters were the major characters in the political drama.
1/1 Letter; October 1984. Molloy to the Pitts Theology Library.
Letters; 1959. Letters by and to Molloy regarding the use of
various institutions for research.
III. Research Notes
Biography of Errington; n.d.. Eight pages probably by Molloy, two pages
discussing Errington's second memorial to the Special Commission; typescript.
1/4 Copy of Errington's First Pastoral Letter of 1851; n.d.. Typescript.
Copy of Errington's account of his difficulties at Westminster in 1860/ n.d.
Copy of Errington's Address to Cardinals of the Special Commission in 1860;
Copy of Errington's account of his removal from the Coadjutorship of
Westminster in 1860; n.d. Typescript.
Copies of letters from 1854-1869 relating to Errington; n.d. Typescript,
authors included are Talbot, Grant, Manning, Wiseman, Clifford et. al.
1/9 Copies of letter written in 1860 and relating to Errington; dated photocopies.
1/10 Miscellaneous notes relating to Errington by Molloy; ca. 1959.
1/11 Notes concerning the Oblates and St. Edmond's College in 1858. Typescript.
1/12 Excerpts from other authors: McClelland. Typescript.
1/13 Excerpts from other authors: Ward. Typescript.
Excerpts from other authors: Miscellaneous. Included are Butler, Powell,
Roche, Rymer, et. al., typescript.
1/15 Account of Errington's funeral in the Tablet in 1886; n.d. Typescript.
IV. Printed Material
1/16 S. Commissione Speciale deputata a Sanctissimo; 1860. Bound and printed.
Translation of S. Commissione Speciale deputata a Sanctissimo; n.d.
V. Photographic Material
1/18 Photo of Archbishop Errington's Portrait and of his Tombstone; n.d..
VI. Miscellaneous Material
Microfilm, in 712 frames, of the entire Errington file, obtained by Dr. J.
from the Clifton Archives in February, 1966 by permission of the then Bishop
Molloy's copy of The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
newly translated from the Latin Vulgate and authorized by the
archbishops and bishops of England and Wales. Translated by Knox,
Ronald Arbuthnott, 1888-1957. London : Burns, Oates and Washbourne,
1948. Includes Molloy's handwritten notes inserted among the pages.