Cardinal Edward Clancy's life as a priest spanned 64 years of unimaginable change in the Church he loved. The leaders of the nation gathered for the funeral of this former Archbishop of Sydney - the 'people's pastor'.
Edward Bede Clancy OA AC, Cardinal and former Archbishop of Sydney.
Born 1923; Died 2014
- The Sydney Morning Herald
Cardinal Clancy served 18 years as Archbishop of Sydney. In his decades as a priest, he witnessed the transformation of Australian Catholicism to the point that it would have been scarcely recognisable to the faithful who attended mass alongside him as a boy in the small town of Grenfell.
Irish influence declined across Australia, though the link between the ALP and Catholics lingered longer in Sydney, thanks to that city's Church hierarchy fighting off the largely Victorian-based Movement inspired by BA Santamaria which led to the creation of the Democratic Labor Party. No ALP party split occurred in NSW. In Clancy's lifetime also, the surfacing of allegations of sexual abuse by clergymen shattered many.
When he died, Cardinal Clancy was remembered by some as 'a people's pastor' and as the man who oversaw the long-awaited completion of St Mary's Cathedral, especially the addition of the two graceful spires.
But running one of Australian Catholicism's most influential dioceses was a highly political and difficult post. As he told The Catholic Weekly in 1998, huge changes had been foisted on him 'because of the restlessness in the Church and the great variety of outlooks.'
As Archbishop, he also made the controversial decision in 1986 to split the Archdiocese into three (Sydney, Parramatta and Broken Bay), pushed for the establishment of the Australian Catholic University, and played a pivotal role in the eventual canonisation of Australia's first saint, Mary MacKillop.
Edward Bede Clancy was born in Lithgow on December 13, 1923, the third of five children to John Clancy and his wife, Ellen (nee Edwards), a convert to Catholicism. Ellen died young and John moved repeatedly, thanks to his jobas a state school teacher, but made sure his children attended Sunday Mass and said the rosary every night.
In 1949, he was ordained by the man who was to become his great champion, Cardinal Sir Norman Gilroy, and took up an assistant priest posting at Belmore.
In 1974, he was made an auxiliary bishop of Sydney and parish priest of Blacktown. Four years later, he became archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn and in 1983, the seventh archbishop of Sydney. In 1988, Clancy became the fourth Archbishop of Sydney to be elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals.
Read full article: Cardinal Edward Clancy: 'People's pastor' oversaw big changes in the church (SMH)
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Australian Cardinal Edward Bede Clancy, passes away (Rome Reports/YouTube)