As a youth, Michael Anthony Fleming was considered to possess a€?an agreeable person, engaging manners, an aptitude for learning, and a mild disposition,a€? traits not always ascribed to him in his more mature years. Following his ordination, Fleming was assigned to the friary at Carrick on Suir, where his uncle was superior. At the invitation of Scallan, now vicar apostolic of Newfoundland, Fleming went to the island in the autumn of 1823. Indeed, one of the most intriguing features of Fleminga€™s career was his relationship with Scallan, given the broad differences between them in temperament and outlook. One of his priorities, and a constant preoccupation throughout his episcopate, was the recruitment of clergy for his mission. From his Irish visit of 1833, Fleming also brought back a community of Presentation nuns from Galway, the colonya€™s first religious sisters [see Miss Kirwan*, named Sister Mary Bernard]. In the ensuing election Fleming supported for the St Johna€™s seats William Thomas, a respected merchant, and the a€?radicala€? candidates John Kent* and William Carson (as he later wrote, a€?an Englishman, an Irishman, and Scotchman, a Catholic, Protestant, and Presbyteriana€?).
In reprisal for the Public Ledgera€™s support of Hogan and its criticism of the clergy, a Catholic mob surrounded Wintona€™s house on Christmas night.
Cochrane was further outraged by a series of pseudonymous letters in the Newfoundland Patriot early in 1834 accusing him of bigotry, and instructed Attorney General James Simms* to proceed against their author for libel.
Cochranea€™s departure from Newfoundland had had little effect in dissipating sectarian tensions.
Meanwhile in March 1835 Governor Prescott had received a formal protest from Michael McLean Little, a Catholic shopkeeper. Then, in February, Glenelg received word of resistance at St Marya€™s to constables sent to arrest those accused along with Father Duffy (who had already been apprehended) of wilful destruction of property.
The British agent in Rome warned the Vatican that a€?extraordinary measuresa€? might be taken were something not done about Fleming.
It is paradoxical that during this period Fleming was seeking land for a cathedral in St Johna€™s from the British government. Prescott was told to say that consideration of the request would have to be a€?postponed,a€? and to add that any further request should go through the governor. No doubt Fleminga€™s presence in England in 1836 prompted consideration of the matter by the Board of Ordnance that August.
The difficulties stemmed largely from the authorities in Newfoundland, who now advocated that this same site be used for a court-house and a jail. Fleming became aware of difficulties about the land only when he met with Prescott in September 1837.
Remarkably, Fleming made little effort to diminish the opposition to himself in government circles; convinced that Newfoundland Roman Catholics were systematically excluded from official influence and appointments, he was not about to cease his protests.
However lax he may have been in defending himself in London, Fleming took considerable pains to protect his standing in Rome.
This interlude lasted until 1840, when Fleming and the St Johna€™s clergy made a successful effort to procure the election of Laurence Oa€™Brien*, a Roman Catholic, over James Douglas*, a staunch liberal but a Presbyterian. Serious though they were, these troubles were only distractions from Fleminga€™s great preoccupation and chief work, the building of a cathedral that would command attention and respect. A serious set-back occurred in 1840, with the failure of the bank in London which held the funds of the Newfoundland vicariate. His dedication to the cathedral was closely paralleled by his attention to the education of the young. In 1836 the local legislature had passed the colonya€™s first Education Act, which provided funding for the existing religious schools and for the establishment of non-denominational elementary schools to be administered by public school boards. Both politically and ecclesiastically Fleming gave the Roman Catholic Church in the colony a clear Irish orientation. Fleming was occasionally spoken of as a bigot who exploited religious divisions for political power. Bishop Fleming was a pivotal figure in Newfoundland history, in his own way perhaps more responsible than any other individual for its transition to a colony with institutions akin to those of Europe and the rest of British North America. The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage. Nous reconnaissons la€™appui du gouvernement du Canada par la€™entremise du ministA?re du Patrimoine canadien.
French colonial activity brought more substantial Roman Catholic institutions to Newfoundland.
1948-9 debates over confederation with Canada, supported a return to responsible government. He was encouraged by his uncle Martin Fleming, a Franciscan priest, to enter religious life, and in 1808 was accepted by Thomas Scallan* as a Franciscan novice in the Wexford convent. He was associated with the removal of the dilapidated chapel there and its replacement by a fine new church, which was still unfinished when he left for Newfoundland.
Fleming subsequently described Scallan as a€?the most zealous prelate that ever sat, or perhaps ever will sit, in the episcopal chair of Newfoundland.a€? As early as 1824 the bishop had looked to Fleming as a possible successor.
The new bishop was consecrated in St Johna€™s on 28 October, Thomas Anthony Ewer* and Nicholas Devereux assisting Scallan in place of co-consecrating bishops. Although he was later prone to claim that there had been only seven priests in Newfoundland upon his accession, in his report to Rome at that time he gave the number as nine (plus himself), distributed among five extensive parishes which had a total Catholic population variously estimated at 30,000a€“80,000. He first went there before the end of 1830, obtaining four new priests, including Edward Troy*, Charles Dalton*, and Pelagius Nowlan, who had arrived by mid 1831, and two clerical students, Michael Berney and Edward Murphy, who were ordained in Newfoundland later that year. The bishop was concerned about girls and boys being educated together, as he was about the lack of religious instruction in the Orphan Asylum Schools, and these sisters were to educate girls from poorer families.
In 1834, for example, he made an extensive visitation from Conception Bay to Fogo Island, covering 46 settlements and confirming more than 3,000 people.
Significantly, he did not endorse Patrick Kough*, a government contractor and member of that group of Catholic laity with whom he had earlier had disagreements.
He was astonished when Father Troy admitted responsibility, for he felt that the priest dared not have written such letters without Fleminga€™s approval.
He judged it inopportune to involve the pope, but he wrote a personal letter to Fleming in November, sending it through London for approval. Although the assailants are unknown, the crime was commonly attributed to the a€?religious fanaticisma€? created by the Public Ledgera€™s attacks on the Catholic clergy. Because he had supported Hogan and was a Public Ledger subscriber, said Little, he had been denounced as an enemy of Catholicism, and his business had suffered. Bramston wrote to his colleague as requested, but Fleminga€™s reply, in January 1836, argued the impossibility of defending himself without seeing any charges, which Prescott had refused to show him.
He was informed that Cardinal Fransoni, the prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda, would write to Fleming.
Very soon after receiving Fransonia€™s letter, he left for England to defend himself, and to press his request anew. No conclusion was reached, however, and it was not until June 1837 that the bishop, now back in St Johna€™s, received notification of the British governmenta€™s decision to grant him a€?so much of the land in question as may be necessarya€? for his intended buildings. At first Fleming thought that the governor agreed with him on the unsuitability of other sites, but he was recalled the next day and told that then and there he would have to select one of these properties and commit himself to building upon it. Prescott judged Fleminga€™s intervention to have come from a€?a pure love of dissensiona€? and he again pressed the colonial secretary, now Lord John Russell, for a more moderate bishop.
To Rome he wrote of his efforts for the cathedral and designs against him by one of his priests, Father Timothy Browne*.
Prompted by reports of denominational strife, in May 1841 the government permitted a select committee of the House of Commons to examine the whole situation. Upon acquiring the land in 1838, he immediately obtained a design from John Philpott Jones of Clonmel (Republic of Ireland), and detailed plans from an architect named Schmidt in Hamburg (Federal Republic of Germany), and on his return home that autumn the bishop went personally to Kellys Island to supervise the cutting of the stone.
Ill and exhausted by his labours, the bishop celebrated mass; it was his only service in the new church. Under his care the Presentation school flourished; by 1846 there were eight sisters, a new convent, and a school accommodating 2,000, to which girls came from almost every part of the island.
The foundations of denominational education in the colony were now laid, and a system of Roman Catholic elementary instruction was ensured throughout the island. Although the Orphan Asylum Schools still had only Roman Catholic pupils and received annually a portion of the Catholic educational grant, they had retained non-denominational status. He was a consistent supporter of Daniel Oa€™Connell, and on several occasions enlisted the Irish patriota€™s help in dealing with the British government. Fleming objected to this provision on the grounds of the difficulty of access to the mainland.
Earlier that year he had applied to Rome for a coadjutor bishop, recommending John Thomas Mullock*, guardian of the Franciscan house in Dublin, who had been a friend and adviser for many years. The social status of the episcopate meant nothing to him; he was more at home a€?living weeks together at Kellya€™s Island assisting the labourers quarrying building stonea€? than he was at dinner in Government House. Indirectly too he probably did more than any other to challenge the mercantile domination of the colony and to assure its eventual replacement by a form of government responsible to the whole community.
The See of Québec comprised all the French possessions in North America and in 1689 the Bishop, Jean St.
O'Donel arrived in 1784 with Father Patrick Phelan, who was to serve the parish at Harbour Grace.
Irish migration to Newfoundland peaked around 1815, and the activity of priests throughout the island brought new converts to the Church.


He was the first Bishop of Newfoundland from the creation of the Newfoundland Diocese in 1847, until his death on July 14th, 1850. There were to be insinuations later that Fleming had misused funds collected for the building and that the ensuing scandal forced him to leave Ireland. Through Scallana€™s entreaties alone did the Franciscan authorities agree to his remaining longer. Yet Fleming was to note in 1835 their a€?repeated differences,a€? which in the main had revolved around a party of lay Catholics in St Johna€™s termed a€?liberalsa€? by Fleming. The clergy already on the island Fleming felt were both qualitatively and quantitatively unequal to its demands.
The sisters were enthusiastically received, and they opened the islanda€™s first officially Roman Catholic school in St Johna€™s in October 1833.
A great compensation for the considerable hardship of the journey was the warm reception received from local settlers, Protestant and Catholic alike.
By 1830 two attempts to introduce marriage legislation prejudicial to Catholic interests, the absence of public funding for the Orphan Asylum Schools, the controversy about seating the Roman Catholic military commander on the Council, and above all the failure to apply Catholic emancipation to Newfoundland had already angered the Catholic population.
Fleming called for obedience to the law, but he protested what he thought was undue force to Governor Cochrane, and then publicly declared that the governor had not authorized use of the military. These proceedings were quashed only after Cochranea€™s removal in November 1834, by his successor Henry Prescott* in an attempt to diminish tension. He told Fleming that the accusations against him would certainly incur the popea€™s disapproval, and asked him to prevent activities a€?which debase the sacerdotal character.a€? Fleming was outraged by the complaints, which he thought to have come from Chief Justice Henry John Boulton*a€™s wife, a new member of the anti-Fleming Catholic faction, whom the bishop considered lax in her religious practice. By June 1835 protests against the chief justice were being presented in the House of Commons by Daniel Oa€™Connell, undoubtedly with Fleminga€™s concurrence.
Little quoted Troy as saying that a€?untill McLean Little becomes a beggar he cannot become a good Catholic.a€? Without a public apology, he faced ostracism and ruin. The bishop had first sought this land in November 1834, when he petitioned the king for a parcel of six or seven acres of Ordnance land called a€?the Barrens,a€? no longer needed since the garrison was moving.
Careful perusal of the documentation might have persuaded Fleming that there was real doubt as to just what was a€?in questiona€?: no specific reference was made to the land for which he had applied. Troy had been named administrator of the vicariate, with limited powers, until Fleminga€™s return. Although there were no new substantive charges against Fleming himself, during his absence in 1836a€“37 Troy had certainly harassed Roman Catholic opponents, in one or two cases even denying baptism and Catholic burial. Indeed, he attributed something of the attention accorded him to the attacks of his enemies. A Newfoundland delegation made up of Carson, Patrick Morris, and John Valentine Nugent* had, with Fleminga€™s help, secured Boultona€™s dismissal. In turn, it was intimated to Rome by the Foreign Office that unless Fleming were removed all grants to Catholic clergy in the colonies would cease.
The British governmenta€™s failure to admit a bishop to Corfu had great impact in Rome, and so, without committing itself definitely to removal, the Vatican informed Metternich that Fleming would be called to Rome.
Although the committee received only incomplete evidence and made no report, much of the testimony that was entered concerned divisions within the Catholic Church. In the spring he toured the nearby outharbours, enlisting the aid of shipowners, Catholic and Protestant alike, in getting the stone to St Johna€™s. Fleming was irate that he received no assistance from a fire relief fund started in Britain and administered by the government.
Where Roman Catholics predominated, religious instruction could be ensured through a board by-law providing for the withdrawal of students for this purpose. Oddly enough, the bishop found himself in the position of opposing separate Protestant and Roman Catholic secondary schools in 1843a€“44. Fleming had never challenged this arrangement, but he was delighted when the Benevolent Irish Society, the schoolsa€™ sponsors, approached him about their future direction.
He permitted the collection at the church doors of funds for Oa€™Connella€™s campaign to repeal the legislative union between Britain and Ireland, and was a generous personal subscriber. Despite reservations, in that the nomination had not come from the new ecclesiastical province of Quebec, and that the episcopacy of Newfoundland should not simply be passed on within the Franciscan order, Rome approved the request and Mullock was appointed later that year.
The young and the poor always had his special attention, and he remembered them generously in his will. What he was, rather, was a combination of Roman Catholic theological rigorist and determined opponent of Protestant (Anglican) ascendancy. The main criticism of Fleminga€™s episcopate is usually the clergya€™s treatment of those who did not. Admittedly his episcopate left Newfoundland a legacy of division; it certainly contributed also to the coming of age of a people.
O'Donel helped to found new parishes in Placentia and Ferryland and his authority and energy encouraged the Vatican to elevate the Prefecture of Newfoundland to a Vicariate Apostolic in 1796.
Although the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1829, restrictions on Catholics in public life persisted in Newfoundland even after the introduction of representative government in 1832. Since this region was part of the French Treaty Shore and was subject to restrictive treaties, Catholic priests often served as important representatives of local interests and needs. He believed that the colony urgently required more priests, and that the financial resources were there to support them.
The capacity enrolment of 450 encouraged the bishop, who within a year had organized the construction of a new schoolhouse for 1,200.
Fleming himself wrote quietly to London regarding Catholic emancipation in 1831, as did Governor Thomas John Cochrane*, and although the justice of the Roman Catholic position was readily admitted, no immediate action was forthcoming. When the bishop answered by construing that the editora€™s remarks reflected upon clerical participation in politics, Winton directly attacked Fleming in the Ledger as having forfeited all claim to consideration from Protestants and a€?respectablea€? Catholics alike.
To Cochrane this was a deliberate misrepresentation of some conciliatory remarks, and he presented the affair to London as but another sign of Fleminga€™s determination to achieve Roman Catholic political ascendancy.
In two letters to Capaccini in June 1835 Fleming documented his efforts, including 1,200 conversions to Catholicism, and defended his actions. Fleming was obviously well regarded in Rome, and Fransoni simply informed him that the Propaganda had been made aware of the divisions provoked by clerical involvement in politics, and reminded him of Capaccinia€™s earlier letter. He suggested that while Newfoundland Protestants had received many favours from government, which he did not begrudge, the claims of the Catholic majority, who had received none, were equally legitimate.
This approach was wise, for meanwhile Prescott had proposed that any land vacated by the military should revert to the Newfoundland government.
Already in 1836 he had procured publication in Rome of his account of his mission, Stato della religione cattolica. Fransoni wrote from the Vatican that Fleming had acted as he thought best and that the Holy See had not altered its good opinion of him. On 24 November Fransoni wrote to tell Fleming of the popea€™s express wish that he come immediately, through London, if possible, where there might be an opportunity to settle the contention. The fencing of the land, the cutting of timber for the scaffolding, and the hauling of stone onto the site involved multitudes of volunteers. The only other ecclesiastical building destroyed in the fire was the old Anglican church which had been intended for early replacement. They opened their school in St Johna€™s in May 1843 and, although there was some initial difficulty in sustaining their community, the school was maintained for some 30 paying pupils with good results. Most areas with Protestant majorities, however, passed by-laws enshrining the King James version of the Bible as a school text, although it would be read without comment after hours to those whose parents desired it. He felt that the Roman Catholic character of the latter was not ensured by the legislation, nor was the superintendence of the bishop recognized. He had hoped, he said, to introduce religious brothers for the education of boys but did not wish to interfere with an established institution.
Mullock arrived in St Johna€™s in May 1848, and proceeded to take much of the responsibility for diocesan affairs.
He refused payment of burial and marriage fees which supported the Church of England, but he freely petitioned the legislature that Methodists should enjoy equal privileges with Anglicans and Roman Catholics in solemnizing marriages.
Injustices and excesses undeniably occurred, but the extent of Fleminga€™s personal responsibility remains unclear, and there are indications that he did not automatically support Troya€™s conduct.
O'Donel, who was consecrated bishop in September 1796, was thus the first Roman Catholic bishop in North America outside Québec. The cathedral was not finished until 1855, under Fleming's successor Bishop John Thomas Mullock. An able and energetic assistant, he took considerable responsibility for parish affairs, especially as Scallana€™s health worsened.
One, probably in 1829, had concerned whether he or a lay building committee should control funds collected for the enlargement of the church. By this time he had arranged for the construction of a small schooner, the Madonna, for his travels. Newfoundland Catholics reacted in outrage, supporting their bishop in a series of public meetings. Prescott was advised that legal action against Fleming was useless, but so, in his opinion, was any attempt by Rome to curtail the bishopa€™s political activities.
Avoiding political entanglement, advised the cardinal, could only contribute to the peace of Fleminga€™s mission and to greater attention to pastoral duties. In his correspondence about the land he repeatedly emphasized the wretched condition of the existing church, a€?little better than a stable badly built,a€? and proposed to construct instead a a€?handsome building of stone,a€? with a residence, and a school for 1,500a€“1,600 pupils. Indeed their support probably helped secure the overwhelming return of a€?radicala€? candidates.


If the government could not see fit to grant the land, he would be willing to purchase it at full value. Metternich was told that this matter would be attended to if Rome would see to the Newfoundland bishop. Thus in May 1839 thousands of men, women, and children turned out for two days to excavate over 79,000 cubic feet of earth for the foundations, the women dragging away the clay in their aprons.
Nevertheless A?14,000, or half the amount collected, was devoted to construction of a Church of England cathedral, and Fleming was left entirely to his own resources.
In the face of this opposition a non-denominational institution was established in 1844, which lasted until 1850.
With the societya€™s consent, four Irish Franciscan brothers arrived in St Johna€™s in September, and henceforth the character of the schools was not in question.
Unlike his predecessors, he did not maintain contact with the church on the North American mainland, although he did have occasional correspondence with Bishop William Walsh* in Nova Scotia, also an Irishman, and had some influence on Romea€™s decision in 1844 to divide the Nova Scotia diocese into two. In the spring of 1850 an ailing Fleming, in semi-retirement, moved from the episcopal residence to Belvedere, the Franciscan house.
He had a single-mindedness that refused to be compromised or to be deflected by less important matters.
Even in their politics, Fleming and his clergy supported Protestant liberals and opposed Roman Catholics close to the establishment. Nor were the issues only those of party politics; Catholics who differed from Fleming on how to vote were likely also to be at odds with him on ecclesiastical matters. Denys, and a lay brother, Claude Pelletier, served in Newfoundland for several years ensuring the growth and consolidation of the newly-formed parish.
The second had been over the refusal of the authorities of the Orphan Asylum Schools, where both teachers and students were Roman Catholics, to allow religious instruction by Fleming even after hours, a€?lest their Protestant neighbours should be displeased.a€? When Fleming on his own prepared over 500 of these children for communion, the bishop permitted only a private ceremony. Most were secular priests and ordained specifically for Newfoundland, a change which brought stability to the mission. One of his principal reasons for this voyage was to visit the Micmacs at Conne River but through a misunderstanding the majority of the inhabitants had left the settlement. The inconclusive results of the election itself (won by Kent, Thomas, and Kough) were not nearly so important as the fact that the sectarian tone injected into it consolidated Irish Catholic disaffection into an anti-establishment party interest.
He said that politically he had supported those whose election would be a€?advantageous to the Country,a€? and that the press had given a€?burlesque versionsa€? of anything said from the altar.
In May the governor told London that he saw the speedy removal of both Fleming and Boulton as the only remedy for Newfoundlanda€™s troubles. Glenelg wrote to Prescott that he hoped Fransonia€™s letter would have a a€?salutary effecta€? upon Fleming, and that if Fleming were to desist from his behaviour, the past would be forgotten.
The land he wanted, he wrote to Oa€™Connell, though a€?bleak,a€? was a superb site overlooking the town, and a church built on it would be a commanding symbol of the Roman Catholic presence in the colony.
A month later Grey sent a terse reply that the British government had directed Prescott, a€?if no insuperable objection should exist,a€? to put Fleming in immediate possession of the site.
In it he spoke of being persecuted and calumniated by a small group of rich and a€?indifferenta€? Catholics supported by a€?two or threea€? priests, mentioned that the government had accused him of improprieties but had refused to provide him with specific charges, and gave an impressive account of his travels and work in Newfoundland.
Fleming had repeatedly asked, in vain, to be allowed to examine the charges against him, since he was put in the untenable position of preparing a defence without knowing of what he stood accused. Still, he was aware of reports current in St Johna€™s, probably of government origin, that he had been recalled by the Holy See.
Rome no longer appeared to be insisting on Fleminga€™s appearance and although Brownea€™s representations took longer to counteract, by 1843 Fleming seems to have exonerated himself.
Yet popular enthusiasm was undiminished and within weeks of the fire parishioners pledged support for the cathedral.
Conversely, Protestants in general could not accept exclusion of the Bible, and boards in Protestant areas refused to allocate funds for the new schools. By the bishopa€™s death Catholic education had become a generally established principle in Newfoundland. It was Walsh who had alerted him in 1843 to a proposal to unite the dioceses of British North America under an archbishopric in Montreal. His writings abound in errors and inconsistencies in dates, numbers, and amounts; these were of no particular concern. It genuinely angered him that not one Roman Catholic was appointed to the Council from 1825 until 1840, and that Catholics had nowhere near their rightful share of public appointments. By the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 the French colonies in Newfoundland were transferred to British control. Unlike many earlier priests who had studied at colleges on the European continent, the majority had been educated in Ireland, largely in the diocesan colleges of the southeast. Upon his return to St Johna€™s in September, Fleming found that a smallpox epidemic had broken out. Matters worsened in 1833 with a by-election to fill the vacancy created by Thomasa€™s appointment to the Council. Capaccini acknowledged Fleminga€™s defence by stating that he meant no reproof, but was simply conveying a warning; he was pleased that the charges were misrepresentations.
The colonial secretary warned, however, that if the bishop persisted, measures would have to be taken to restore tranquillity on the island.
Simultaneously, the judicial handling of Duffya€™s and other cases was causing growing Catholic opposition to Boulton.
He described his recent trials in obtaining the land for the cathedral and his future plans.
He kept up his defence in letters to Rome telling of progress on the cathedral and refuting Brownea€™s allegations. Construction had effectively stopped in 1841, with expenses even then of more than A?21,000. Fleming returned to Europe in April 1847 to procure materials for its interior and for rebuilding the convent. The judgement of the Public Ledger that the new system a€?would utterly faila€? was amply borne out.
Fleming forestalled this proposal by protesting to Rome, but without giving the real reason for his opposition, the dependence of the Canadian bishops for so much of their revenues on a€?British Protestant bounty.a€? For similar reasons, Fleming in 1847 successfully opposed Walsha€™s plan for the establishment, with government assistance, of a seminary in one of the anglophone colonies. Thousands turned out to pay their last respects as his body was interred in the cathedral he had struggled so hard to build.
Fleming was prepared to accept a politically divided colony before he would endure a flagrant injustice. Many of the French Newfoundlanders emigrated to Cape Breton and elsewhere in North America where French authority persisted.
They were of a generation who could practise their religion openly, and they had seen the success of Daniel Oa€™Connella€™s movement for Catholic emancipation, a campaign in which the clergy had taken a significant part. When the disease appeared in the nearby community of Petty Harbour that November, the bishop, convinced of the ineffectiveness of the civil authorities, went there himself and spent the winter of 1835a€“36 ministering to the people, as well as building a new church and clearing a cemetery. Carson, a reformer detested by the local establishment, was now pitted against Timothy Hogan, another of the lay Catholic a€?liberalsa€? supported by mercantile interests.
Prescott himself remained intent on Fleminga€™s removal and had assembled a dossier of accusations against him.
It was Fleminga€™s plan to amass sufficient materials on site to ensure completion of the exterior in one season. Considering its often heated nature, Fleminga€™s correspondence is relatively free of personal rancour.
Gentlemen-bishops and faction fighters: the letters of bishops O Donel, Lambert, Scallan, and other Irish missionaries, ed.
They could be expected to take a more militant stance than their predecessors in asserting Roman Catholic rights and aspirations. Fleming gave Carson his full support, and when Hogan alleged improper clerical influence and withdrew, his business was boycotted and he was obliged to make a public apology.
When he returned home in September 1845 the building was ready to be roofed and was finished within weeks. He dealt in causes, not personalities, and before his death had sought reconciliation even with his great adversary Winton. It is notable that Fleming abandoned the practice of the earlier bishops, such as Patrick Lambert*, who had sent candidates for the priesthood to Lower Canadian seminaries.
Sometimes characterized as ignorant, Fleming was in reality a good organizer and an adept communicator. Even more significantly, fearing too close ties to the local community, he refused to accept native Newfoundlanders as candidates for the priesthood. He had built a convent adjacent to it for the Sisters of Mercy immediately after their arrival in 1842, and a large new residence for the Presentation nuns was completed in 1845. This policy obviously gave the local church a strong Irish cast, and was changed only after Fleminga€™s death.



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