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MOLLOY, JAMES, 1923-1984.
James Molloy papers, 1660-1984

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/f7f4t

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Molloy, James, 1923-1984.
Title: James Molloy papers, 1660-1984
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 034
Extent: 1 cubic ft. (2 boxes)
Abstract:Contains correspondence, research material related to George Errington, and an autobiographical letter written by Molloy to the Pitts Theology Library.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Pitts Theology Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Purchased from James Molloy, 1984.


[after identification of item(s)], James Molloy Papers, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Anita K. Delaries, Nancy H. Watkins, and Jennifer Gerth, 1985-1998.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

James Molloy 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 their 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 and he was asked to leave. Molloy instead turned his attention to joining the secular, or diocesan, priesthood in his area diocese of Westminster.

Molloy spent six years at St. Edmunds College in Ware, England before he was ordained at the age of 24. He was then sent by Cardinal Griffin, Archbishop of Westminster, to the English College in Rome. In Rome 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 including arranging religious ceremonies, ordinations, and pontifical masses and 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's library.

In 1959 Molloy suffered a coronary thrombosis and gastrointestinal hemorrhage. After six years of illness, during which he was unable to lecture, say Mass, and perform other priestly duties, he decided that he wanted to return to the lay state. He later received the necessary dispensations to return to the lay state from Pope Paul VI. In the meantime Molloy had been hired by Virtue, a publishing company, to help produce a Catholic encyclopedia. His work continued with Virtue after he left the priesthood in 1966 and included selling and collecting works on English Catholicism. In 1967 Molloy married Grace Morris with whom he 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. This manuscript concerns Errington's role in the restoration of the English Roman Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy in the mid-nineteenth century. Errington was a member of an ancient English Catholic family that never converted to the Church of England. Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman asked Errington, a friend from childhood, to be the Coadjutor (or Assistant bishop) of Westminster with rights of succession as the next Archbishop. A disagreement between the two men 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. 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.

Scope and Content Note

The personal papers of James Molloy (1860-1984) consist of four series, Autobiography, Correspondence, Errington Materials, and Miscellaneous.

Series one, Autobiography, contains Molloy's autobiographical letter. The second series, Correspondence, contains letters Molloy received in 1959 from institutions holding Errington material including one from Father Chapeau, overseer of the Manning letters.

In series three are Molloy's Errington Materials. Subseries A contains research notes and copies of original sources including a biography of Errington (n.d.); copies of material concerning Errington's removal (1854-1869); miscellaneous notes concerning the Oblates and St. Edmond's College (1858, 1990); excerpts from other authors (1868, n.d.); and a copy of an account of Errington's funeral in the Tablet (1886). Subseries B contains Errington=s printed material and translation notes including S. Commissione Speciale deputata a Sanctissimo (1860) and a translation of the report, (n.d.). Subseries C, Errington nonprint material contains a photo of Errington's portrait and tombstone (n.d.) and the Errington papers on microfilm.

The fourth and final series, Miscellaneous material, contains Molloy's copy of the New Testament with his handwritten notes, notes removed from books in his personal library, and newspaper clippings relating to Great Britain and Catholicism. This series also includes materials relating to the Archdiocese of Westminster but not to the Errington case, including correspondence to and from Herbert Cardinal Vaughan.

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 can 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.

The researcher should be aware that this collection contained many double-sided newspaper clippings. These clippings were not marked as to which side contained relevant information. Therefore, both sides of the clipping were photocopied and the researcher is advised to use his or her judgement in determining which side contains relevant information. The researcher should also be aware that dates given for photocopied or typescript materials refer to the content or original creation dates, not the date in which the material was copied. Original materials, such as Molloy=s correspondence, are identified with the date or dates of creation.

Arrangement Note

Organized into 4 series: (1) Autobiographical material, (2) Correspondence, (3) Errington research material, and (4) Miscellaneous.

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