Troublesome Clerics

by
July 1983, no. 52

Daniel Mannix: Priest and Patriot by Michael Gilchrist

Dove Communications, $29.95, 278 pp

Troublesome Clerics

by
July 1983, no. 52

What major figure in Australian history, apart from Ned Kelly, has had more biographies than Archbishop Daniel Mannix? Librarians can give a decisive answer to this far from rhetorical question. Certainly, Mannix looms large in serious Australian historiography. There are personal studies by Captain Bryan (1919), E.J. Brady (1934), Frank Murphy (1948 and 1972), Niall Brennan (1964), and Walter Ebsworth (1977), and B.A. Santamaria’s short, weighty lecture of 1977. As well, the Mannix shelf is crammed with books like Michael McKernan’s Australian Churches at War, Gerard Henderson’s Mr. Santamaria and the Bishops, Patrick O’Farrell’s The Catholic Church and Community in Australia, and B.A. Santamaria’s Against the Tide – in all of which Mannix is a dominating force. There is no lack of information about the archbishop.

What we need is interpretation. What was the meaning of Mannix? Why did he loom so large? Why all those books? Years ago, when Macmillans were starting their series In Search Of, I suggested they ask Vincent Buckley to write In Search of Daniel Mannix. Nothing, however, came of this and we are poorer for it. Then I heard that Mr Santamaria was turning his hand to a full-length work. In the hope that this book might be conjured forth by academic necromancy, I put it on a reading list for students. To date, alas, there has been no sign of it.

Edmund Campion reviews 'Daniel Mannix: Priest and Patriot' by Michael Gilchrist, 'The Demon of Discord' by Margaret M. Pawsey, and 'St. Bede’s College and its McCristal Origins 1896–1982' by Leo Gamble

Daniel Mannix: Priest and Patriot

by Michael Gilchrist

Dove Communications, $29.95, 278 pp

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